Interested in finding legitimate online transcription jobs? Our guide includes 23 sites and 5 recommended courses to help you earn what you deserve!
Online Transcription Jobs
Becoming a transcriptionist is an increasingly popular job for those looking to work from home. This allows for a lot more freedom in your work life, as you (mostly) get to set your own hours. Additionally, in many cases, you'll also be allowed to decide how much or how little work you do each week.
There are a lot of different platforms you can use to find online transcription jobs. However, you should also be aware that there are plenty of scams too.
To help you find legitimate opportunities, we've listed 23 platforms for you to use.
Online Transcription Jobs for Beginners
Online transcription jobs are typically split into 3 categories: general, medical, and legal.
Medical and legal transcriptions always require prior experience, in the relevant field and/or as a transcriptionist. The same is sometimes true for general transcription jobs, but it is still the category most open to beginners.
Here are 13 online transcription jobs available for novices – even those without any prior experience at all!
- 3Play Media
3Play Media starts off our list with a pay rate of $10 to $30 per audio hour. Your earnings will depend on a number of factors – most importantly your accuracy and speed.
Using the industry standard of 4 hours transcription per 1 hour audio, this works out to between $2.5 and $7.5 an hour. These are definitely beginner rates. Once you've gained some experience, you'll want to move to a company with higher rates.
While CastingWords has a sliding pay rate that technically puts them into the range of intermediate to expert transcription jobs, their starting rate is so low that we've placed them in the beginner's section.
You'll likely start off earning as little as $4.80 per audio hour. It can take a very long time to rise up to $60 per audio hour.
CastingWords posts transcription tasks through Amazon's Mechanical Turk as well as the CastingWords Workshop. Workload varies and is not guaranteed.
Crowdsurf is a more attractive beginner's platform for transcriptionists, as they pay between $12 and $14.40 per audio hour.
Similar to CastingWords, you'll be viewing and applying for transcription jobs through Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform, so workload does vary. While Crowdsurf doesn't appear to have any minimum requirements of their own, Mechanical Turk does. These, however, are not published on Amazon's site – you'll have to apply and hope you're accepted.
Focus Forward requires you to download an instruction manual and transcription test kit. Within 48 hours of completing the test, the company will let you know whether or not you've been accepted as a transcriptionist.
If you have been, you'll start off at $24 per audio hour. Although this still only works out to about $6 per hour (based on the industry standard of 4 hours transcription per 1 hour audio), this is a relatively decent rate for beginners.
Get Transcribed allows for some career growth, as you can apply to supplement your transcription income by becoming a reviewer if the company is satisfied with your performance.
However, at $13.80 per audio hour ($7.20 per audio hour reviewed), it remains firmly within the beginner's sphere.
In order to have your earnings paid via PayPal, you need a minimum of $100. As a transcriptionist, that translates to about 7 hours and 15 minutes of audio, or at least 30 hours of work.
GoTranscript is great for beginners, as they don't require you to have any experience whatsoever – and they don't have a minimum typing speed either.
Pay varies depending on performance (including accuracy and speed), but it's not clear what their starting rate is. GoTranscript does pay up to $36 per audio hour though, which at 4 hours transcription per audio hour translates to a maximum of $9 per hour.
You can choose your own hours and projects, which is another rare bonus.
As long as you're able to pass their mandatory skills test, Quicktate is happy to hire novices with no prior experience as a transcriptionist.
The company takes a different approach to payment calculations, paying per transcribed word rather than per audio hour. You'll earn $0.0025 per word, which works out to $9/hour if you're able to type at 60 words-per-minute.
However, you won't be working with audio files longer than 5 minutes, as Quicktate mostly works with voicemail messages.
Rev is one of the best-paying online transcription jobs sites available, as their rates work out to an average of $24 to $39 per audio hour. This translates to $6 to $9.75 per hour if you're able to complete an audio hour's transcription in 4 hours (industry standard).
While you'll also be free to work as much or as little as you like, Rev does require applicants to pass an online skills test. Clients will receive payment weekly regardless of earnings.
In order to start working on transcriptions for podcasts, interviews, and videos (among other files) through Scribie, you'll need to apply via their website. If your application is accepted, they'll send you an invitation to take their test, which also needs to be passed.
Scribie pays a relatively low rate of $10 per audio hour. However, if you're able to transcribe 3+ hours of audio a month, you'll earn a $10 bonus as well.
Tigerfish doesn't make their pay rates available on their website (or anywhere else, for that matter). However, the company does make it known that US-based beginners are welcome to apply.
The application process is a little lengthy. You'll need to download and study their required style guide, complete a few test transcriptions, and upload these into the web-based application form. There are also a few other details you'll need to provide in the application form.
On the plus side, it's Tigerfish's corporate policy that as an independent transcriptionist, you'll be allowed to set your own hours.
TranscribeMe also has a skills test as part of their application process, but this is reportedly a very short one. That definitely makes sense, as the audio files you'll be working on if accepted are also going to be very short – typically no longer than 10 seconds each.
As a major perk, there aren't any deadlines set, so you can not only set your own hours, but work at your own pace. However, you'll still want to complete as many transcriptions as possible: TranscribeMe pays $20 per hour, but payments are made weekly. PayPal charges transfer fees that can cut huge chunks of your pay if you haven't completed enough files to make it worthwhile.
Transcriptions ‘n' Translations
Similar to Tigerfish, Transcriptions ‘n' Translations hasn't published its pay rates anywhere online.
However, the company offers potentially interesting work, as they target entertainment and media audio and video files. The work is a little more intensive than many other beginner-friendly platforms, as you may be asked to do closed captions and/or subtitles for some of the files.
In Transcriptions ‘n' Translation's favor, they offer a work-from-home opportunity to international transcriptionists in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Ubiqus is particularly beginner-friendly, as they don't require you to have any prior experience, provided you're a native English speaker.
If you're hoping to upgrade to intermediate or experienced online transcription jobs in the medical and/or legal industries, Ubiqus will be particularly attractive to you. Despite requiring no experience when joining, they offer opportunities to work on both medical and legal audio files, as well as foreign language and government (GSA) transcriptions.
However, you will need to have a minimum typing speed of 70 words-per-minute, and Ubiqus only pays $21.17 to $25.02 per audio hour (on a per line basis).
Intermediate to Experienced Transcription Jobs
Experienced transcriptionists, whether medical and/or legal or even general, typically consider pay rates below $50 per audio hour to be too low.
As such, we've created this second section with a focus on those companies and platforms that make the cut. However, we've also included those with a rising pay scale that may begin with lower rates. These are ideal for intermediate transcriptionists who are gaining more experience and expect to be paid accordingly.
Opening our list of online transcription jobs for intermediate to experienced transcriptionists is 1-888-TYPE-IT-UP.
With a starting pay rate of $30 per audio hour, which can increase up to a truly impressive $180 per audio hour, 1-888-TYPE-IT-UP is certainly an attractive company to those with some experience.
However, they have strict requirements: you need to be a trained transcriptionist to be considered. 1-888-TYPE-IT-UP also charges a non-refundable entrance exam fee of $35, which the company states was put in place to limit applications to transcriptionists who meet their requirements.
Bam! offers the potential to work on some very interesting projects. Being a Hollywood-based company, many of the transcription tasks they assign are in the entertainment industry. However, they also serve academic, financial, legal, and real estate firms.
As such, Bam! is only interested in hiring experienced transcriptionists with proven track records. Unfortunately, they have not made their pay rates available online.
Accutran Global takes a rather different approach to pay rates than most of its competitors. Rather than pay per audio hour, Accutran Global pays per word.
With a starting rate of $0.005 per transcribed word, based on the industry standard of 60 words-per-minute, this translates to $18 an hour. This makes AccuTran Global a company that pays expert rates. You'll need to pass an application test to be hired.
Similar to Accutran Global, Appenscribe pays per word rather than per audio hour. Their rates are a set $0.005 per word as well, which works out to $18 per hour. Bear in mind that this is calculated at 60 words-per-minute.
Depending on the talking speed of the audio, this can be a relatively high pay rate.
Birch Creek Communications
Birch Creek Communications, similar to 1-888-TYPE-IT-UP, has a sliding pay scale that begins with a lower rate than most experienced transcriptionists consider fair pay. Beginning at $24 per audio hour, Birch Creek Communications increases their rates up to $75 per audio hour as more experience is gained.
The company does also hire beginners with little to no experience, making it an ideal platform for novices as well.
However, you should bear in mind that pay is based on transcription type and file length.
GMR Transcription is actually beginner-friendly, but we've placed them in this section because they do still require some measure of experience. They also pay intermediate to experienced rates, starting at $42 per audio hour and capping at around $75 per audio hour.
These rates are calculated for a typing speed of 70 words-per-minute. GMR Transcription actually pays per minute ($0.70 to $1.25), depending on whether you work on general, legal, or medical audio files. They also have an online transcriptions test, which is sent after initial applications are graded.
GMR Transcription hires English and Spanish transcriptionists.
Neal R. Gross
Neal R. Gross, based in Washington D.C., has been in the professional transcription services industry for more than 40 years running. In that time, the company has become one of the most highly respected providers for legal and court-related audio transcriptions.
As such, Neal R. Gross only hires highly experienced transcriptionists. While not explicitly stated, it's implied that you'll not only need transcription experience, but to have worked in the legal industry to some capacity as well. Unfortunately, the company has not made its pay rates available online, but they come highly recommended for qualified freelancers.
Based in Australia, but hiring from all over the world, Pacific Transcription only accepts applicants with a high level of experience. The company works with legal and court transcriptions, medical transcriptions, finance and media, and research audio/video files.
Freelancers are generally allowed to choose their own hours. Pacific Transcription has not made their pay rates available, as it is determined on an individual basis. The audio quality, number of speakers, and difficulty of the subject matter are among the long list of factors that go into this calculation.
Transcriptionists who consistently provide a high level of work quality are eligible for an undisclosed bonus.
A leading company in the online transcriptions industry since they were founded in 2004, Terescription holds their transcriptionists to a high standard of 70 WPM minimum typing speed.
However, compared to some competitors, the pay rate doesn't fully reflect this skill. Terescription pays $48 to $60 per audio hour for business, education, entertainment, legal, and professional transcriptions. This does still make them an attractive option for intermediate transcriptionists.
Verbal Ink pays $40 to $48 per audio hour, which puts them just shy of the $50 mark for experienced transcriptionist rates. However, we've included them in this section as they do require applicants to have some experience, making them ideal for intermediate transcriptionists who haven't been able to get those higher-paying jobs yet.
In order to apply, you'll need to be a US citizen and send a cover letter and resume to [email protected] Verbal Ink will then send you an invitation to take their skills test.
Online Transcription FAQ
Online transcription jobs are clearly an attractive, potentially lucrative work-from-home opportunity, provided you have the necessary skill level to qualify for the higher-paying positions.
But you may still have a few questions you want – or even need – to have answered before you try your hand at the job.
It's most certainly good to have questions, rather than blindly throwing yourself into an industry that you may not be well-suited or prepared for. This is why we're closing with answers to these frequently asked questions:
What Skills Are Necessary for Online Transcription Jobs?
While individual companies and platforms may have different lists of specific skills required to apply for an online transcription job, there are a few universal skills that all transcriptionists should have.
Good transcriptionists (and certainly the best) need to:
- Be attentive listeners
- Have a typing speed of 60 to 70 words-per-minute (test yours here for free)
- Have excellent language skills (especially punctuation)
- Have a comprehensive understanding of spelling and grammar intricacies (especially when working with legal and medical terminologies)
- Be patient
- Be responsible and able to meet strict deadlines
- Be able to think critically
- Verbal Ink
- Pacific Transcription
- Neal R. Gross
- GMR Transcription
- Birch Creek Communications
- Accutran Global
- Transcriptions ‘n' Translations
- Get Transcribed
- Focus Forward
If you don't consider yourself proficient in all of these skills, don't worry! As you've seen, some transcription companies provide training to help you develop.
What Courses Are Available Online for Transcriptionists?
There are hosts of fantastic courses available online to help you develop the necessary skills to become an experienced transcriptionist. If you don't want to rely solely on the training provided by some of the companies we've listed for you, take a look at these courses:
- The Transcription Certification Institute's course – $699 or 3 payments of $249
- Transcribe Anywhere's General Transcription: Theory & Practice course – $597
- The U.S. Career Institute's Medical Transcription Certificate course – $1,239
- How to Become a Transcriptionist (Udemy course) – $49.99 plus Udemy fees
- The Penn Foster Career School's Online Legal Transcription Course – $1,239
While the prices may seem steep (especially for the medical and legal transcription courses), they will more than pay for themselves once you start landing those high-paying transcription jobs.
How Much Can You Really Make from Transcription Jobs?
As you'll have noticed in the above sections, the pay rate varies by quite a large margin depending on your skill level, experience, and the company you work for.
Some will only pay $2.5 per audio hour, which is very low and should only be accepted if you're an absolute beginner looking to gain some experience on the side. $20 per audio hour is typically considered a decent beginner's pay, but once you become an expert with a few years' experience (or the right certification), $50 per audio hour becomes the norm.
Assuming you work for 8 hours (two audio hours) a day, 261 days a year, the companies we've listed range between $1,305 (3Play Media) to $93,960 (1-888-TYPE-IT-UP) a year. The average transcriptionist earns roughly $35,000/year.
Avoid Online Transcription Scams
Unfortunately, scams can sneak their way into any online, work-from-home industry. Online transcription jobs are no exception.
To protect yourself, bear these tips in mind:
- Any site or individual asking you to purchase their software and/or work for free while they train you is a scam – they'll never deem you good enough to start earning money
- Legitimate sites will always provide contact details (that work)
- Scammers will ask for unrelated information such as banking details without first letting you know that you've been accepted or for what type of transcription work
- Legitimate employers don't use geo-targeting language such as “for New York citizens only” (limiting applications to a specific country is perfectly legitimate, however)
- Scam sites claim they only have X-amount of spots available
- Legitimate companies don't imply or state that they are desperate for transcriptionists
- Scam sites contain fake testimonials
- Legitimate sites won't have many “trust” badges – at most, they'll have 2 or 3, but not more than 5
- If you have been scammed, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, and Google.
Are you excited to pursue a part-time or full-time work-from-home career as an online transcriptionist? Using the resources and information provided in this article, we're sure you'll make a success of your venture!
Always bear in mind that there are scammers out there looking to steal your hard-earned money. While there are many legitimate companies and opportunities available that we haven't listed, your safest bet is to stick to these as much as possible. If you do feel the need to pursue other opportunities, keep the tips listed in the previous section in mind to avoid being scammed.