With online jobs taking over and remote work becoming normalized, hanging out at home and making money simultaneously is quite the option for many of us. You get to earn income in comfort, and enjoy more time with your family. The best part? You get to choose when to work and how much work you can manage (however, there can be some downsides).
One job that you may not be so familiar with is a transcriptionist. Transcription jobs are plenty out there; you just have to look for them in the right place. Even if you had no significant education, you can land a pretty good job.
While the earnings are not that high, transcribing from home can be a good side-hustle. If you’re like me, every source of income is appreciated.
So, what’s transcribing from home like? How can I get started working from home? How much can I make?, and what is required!? Let’s find out!
Grow your Side Hustle As a Transcriptionist
- What does the job entail?
- Do I need an education?
- How much can I earn?
- What tools do I need?
- Companies hiring that don’t need experience
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What is Freelance Transcribing?
As a freelance transcriptionist, your job is to convert audio/video content into text. You usually get an audio or video file of a conversation and you’ll have to type it into a program, which then presents it as a text file.
While it might seem easy if you’ve never done it, transcribing can be difficult at times, especially when it is hard to decipher what’s being said in the audio.
However, this type of work comes with many advantages, namely the flexibility of your schedule. You get to work whenever it’s most convenient to you. You also get a fair bit of variety in the type of audio you need to convert. You’ll be dealing with legal proceedings, corporate meetings, peoples thoughts, and many other kinds of conversations.
Do I Need Some Kind of Education to Become a Transcriptionist?
While some transcription jobs require education, not all of them do.
Jobs that require special education are mostly related to professional legal transcription and professional medical transcription (cue Medical Transcription for Dummies). High-paying jobs in the legal and medical fields require a certificate to be eligible.
But regular transcription jobs rarely require anything other than a good command of the English language (or the language required in the job).
As a transcriptionist, you will need to have a good understanding of the language that you are converting, and also be detail-oriented. Good grammar is also a must.
All of the your audio conversions are checked, and programs usually provide a score of how good your conversions are. If you start making a lot of mistakes, then your score will go down, and work will eventually run out.
You can also become a transcriptionist without experience quite easily. Some platforms offer opportunities and education for people who have no experience. More about those companies down below.
How Much Can I Earn as a Transcriptionist?
According to sources like Payscale, a transcriptionist makes something around $15,22 to $30 per hour. If you work as a transcriptionist for 3 hours each day for 24 days, you can make up to $1,500 per month. That makes transcription a really good side-hustle if you need some extra cash to get by.
A professional transcriptionist with educational background can make more than what a freelance transcriptionist does. A legal transcriptionist can make up to $60,000 per year; the same goes for a professional medical transcriptionist.
How long does it Take to Transcribe Audio?
According to many sources in the world of freelance transcription jobs, it takes 4 hours to transcribe every 1 hour of audio if you want to do a good job. However, this is dependent on many factors, including:
- the quality of the audio
- noise in the background
- if any additional work is required.
So, if you have an audio of 15 minutes, it will take you about an hour to convert the thing.
What Tools Do I Need to Become a Transcriptionist?
For a beginner, the most important thing is to have a computer that works efficiently. Having a computer that runs programs without any issues is the most important tool.
A dictionary is also a must-have. You can replace a dictionary by using Google or some kind of search engine.
You’ll need some software to work other than a functioning computer. The most basic software you need is a word processor such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs (or there are other free open source alternatives).
If you are looking at paid software, Express Scribe is one of the leading products in this space (made specifically to work with a foot pedal).
There are also some transcribing services that you might want to use; the list includes Trint and Transcribe by Wreally.
Transcription can be extremely difficult when your trying to hear someone that is too far from the speaker, or has a think accent. So, a good pair of noise cancelling headphones are a must have for any work that you need to carefully listen to audio. Some great options include:
- Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones – The #1 best seller in over-ear headphones on Amazon. Hybrid active noise cancellation can detect and remove a wide range of low and mid-frequency noises. Extended high frequencies for more clarity and detail. 40 hours of playtime in noise cancelling mode (based on 60% volume).
- Spectra FLX-10 Transcription Headset – A popular inner ear option for using with various dictation software. Includes a volume control with a stero/mono switch on the 10 foot cord.
Seeing as the job will require you to do a lot of writing, you will need to make sure that you have a good ergonomic keyboard. This will reduce strain on your wrists, and allow you to type for longer. There are a few great options here including:
- Microsoft’s Ergonomic Keyboard – A wired, comfortable, ergonomic keyboard with cushioned wrist and palm support. Wired keyboards can provide a bit more speed and accuracy, and you don’t need to worry about replacing any batteries.
- Logitech ERGO K860 Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard – The Logitech keyboard is the one I’m actually using right now (replacing my pervious Microsoft keyboard). This is a wireless keyboard that runs on 2 AAA batteries. The keyboard has customisable keys to help you with all of your shortcuts. The other cool thing with this keyboard is that its made up with some certified post consumer recycled plastic.
Some professional transcriptionists prefer to keep their hands focused on the keyboard by using a foot pedal with some functions like rewind and pause. You can easily program the pedal to do whatever you want.
If you are deep into your audio conversion work, then a foot pedal is something that is a must have. You have a few options here including:
- Philips ACC2320 3-Pedal Foot Control for Professional Dictation – A great ergonomic option that works with a lot of the various software like express scribe. 3-pedal design with Rewind, Fast Forward and Playback
- Infinity IN-USB-3 USB transcription foot Pedal – A high quality, durable foot pedal with a big surface area for ergonomics.
However, if you just want to start fresh, then you could look at getting something like the Express Scribe Transcription Foot Pedal Bundle which includes the Infinity IN-USB-3 USB transcription foot Pedal, Spectra FLX-10 Transcription Headset & Express Scribe Professional Transcription Software all in the one neat package!
Other “nice to have” products
Not critical, but if you are going to be spending a lot of time working on the computer, you should consider some additional ergonomic products such as:
- a computer monitor with eyecare protection (flicker free, low blue light technology)
- an ergonomic desk chair that allows you to sit for long periods of time. Here you want something that provides good lumbar support, and allows you to easily change the chairs height and angles.
- a height adjustable standing desk (or desk converter), which allows you to find the balance between sitting and standing positions throughout your day.
- the Logitech MX Master 3, which is an ergonomic mouse that pairs nicely with your Logitech ergonomic keyboard. The mouse fits the hand perfectly, and buttons on the side can be programmed for various tasks (i.e. speed up, rewind audio).
Companies that Hire Transcriptionists with No Experience
Many companies that receive huge amounts of transcription tasks often have open doors for new transcriptionists with no experience. You can start with one of these companies with no prior experience or training. The company will give you the training you need to start working with them ASAP.
Rev is a U.S.-based company that has provided speech-to-text services ever since 2010. Rev is one of the top companies with opportunities for transcriptionists without any experience.
You can check out their page on Transcribing Freelance Opportunities for more information.
TranscribeMe offer opportunities for people who want to take up a transcribing career from home. The platform claims to have the industries highest rates, with earnings starting at $15 per audio hour.
GMR Transcription is one highest-paying companies out there, with up to $3,000 per month payments.
Daily Transcription is another company offering high-paying jobs, with weekly payments of up to $950.
Freelancing websites (Upwork)
If you don’t like the idea of working for the above platforms, you can also work more independently by by offering your services on Fiverr, Upwork or any other freelancing website.
You can check out the profiles of some of the top transcriptionists on Upwork to get an idea about the situation with the transcribing business there and be inspired by some of them.
Nowadays, it’s really important to have some online presence as a professional on the top freelancing websites like Upwork and Fiverr. The opportunities there are many.
Being a transcriptionist is one of those jobs that you can always turn to for some cash. As you become more acquainted with the job, you’ll be able to manage the amount of work you do and the time you spend doing it for the best monetary results.
Working to convert audio to text is a great side hustle that doesn’t require any special kind of education. You can do it from the comfort of your lounge room, and can easily make a few extra dollars. So, why not become a transcriptionist now?!
This was just one of many other ideas about starting a side hustle, and or making money online without experience. If you want to discover more opportunities, check out our list of additional ways to earn money.