Can You Make a Living Transcribing? We Explore

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Even as the pandemic restrictions ease and life as we know it slowly return to normal, flexible/remote job roles are still sought after despite organizations urging workers to return to the office. Working professionals are reluctant to return to the way things were, especially now that remote working is the new norm. This is evidenced by research finding that employers who offer remote or hybrid working models attract seven times more applicants than rigid, in-person roles.

Many flexible-job options are currently saturating the employment market, from data scientists and photographers to virtual assistants and transcribers. Despite the formerly mentioned roles being well-known, transcription jobs are attracting more and more candidates since they enable applicants to work from the comfort of their own homes and in their own time.

However, since transcribing is considered a unique career path, those seeking a remote position often overlook it since they don’t know much about the role. Therefore, we’ve created this article, exploring some of the most frequently asked questions about transcription jobs, covering everything from what the role entails, the salary you could expect to make, and if you could comfortably make a living doing the part. Find out more below:

What Does The Role Of A Transcriber Entail?

Before we go on to explore whether you can earn a comfortable living from transcribing or not, it is essential that you understand what the role of a transcriber entails. In short, the part of a transcriber involves listening to recorded audio (or video) and noting what you hear word-for-word.

Although you work from home, all days are different in this role. One day you could be transcribing a video for a podcaster who wants to connect with a broader audience by converting their episodes into written text, and the next, you could be transcribing an audio file for a legal firm that needs a file converted into a written document for a conference call, meeting, court proceeding, etc.

Like most job roles, there are various transcription jobs available; general, medical transcription, legal transcription, and market transcription. Depending on which area you go into, you’ll need a degree of experience or training – which we will address later.

Can You Make A Living Transcribing?

Now onto the multi-million-dollar question, the thing we pretend that we don’t care about but we do care about: money. Talking realistically, you will not become an overnight millionaire as a transcriber (sorry!). However, so long as you put the minutes in, you can expect to earn a comfortable living while transcribing without ever having to leave the safety of your living room.

Typically, transcribers get paid per minute, unlike many traditional jobs where you get paid hourly, so be sure to work out those fingers before starting your shift! Roughly, the average pay per minute starts at seventy-five cents and can go up to $1.50 per audio minute, but this differs depending on what your transcribing, how many speakers, how technical the terminology is, and if the formatting is more complex.

So, to answer the question, yes, it is possible to make a living transcribing. However, when you first start, be warned that you might not be making megabucks, but as you gain more experience, this will increase, and your overall wage will become much more favourable.

How Can I Find Transcriber Jobs?

If you would like to get into transcribing, there are generally two ways of going about it: working on behalf of a transcription company or going freelance. However, depending on which area of transcribing you would like to go into, you may find that some transcription jobs have higher entry requirements than others.

For instance, you’ll probably find that applying for medical transcription jobs is more competitive than applying for general transcription jobs since these areas often require experienced transcribers. Therefore, it’s usually advised that you start from an entry-level work-from-home job position, such as a general transcriptionist, gain some experience, and then apply for a higher-level transcription role.

Generally, your best bet for finding work as a transcriber is using job-opening platforms like Adzuna, which enables applicants to zero in on their desired role faster. Translation firms and agencies offer in-house and remote positions through job search platforms that help applicants find the right part for their worth through unique tools and salary stats.

How Can You Transcribe Audio Files/Videos?

Now that you should have a sound understanding of the role, duties, and expected salary of a transcriptionist, your next question might revolve around how you would go about completing your daily duties. The truth is that there are many ways to transcribe audio files and videos; however, the most effective method is a person typing out what they hear word-for-word.

Another way that audio files or videos can be transcribed is using an electronic transcriber; however, these are often considered a waste of time since they misinterpret many words resulting in an inaccurate transcription. Instead, using a word possessor or similar application with built-in tools to help transcribers work more efficiently is the best way to complete daily tasks.

You can also purchase additional accessories to help transcribe audio files and videos faster, like a foot peddle, which you can use to control the audio as you type. This eliminates having to stop typing to flick between tabs so that you can listen to the next chunk of audio, and then go back to your word document to type up the next piece of the transcript.

Having a high-quality pair of headphones can also help make the audio crystal clear so that you are more likely to type the correct transcription the first time. As you can imagine, these accessories can make the job of a transcriptionist much more straightforward and helps them deliver quality content more time-effectively.

What Skills Do You Need As A Transcriber?

Don’t assume that just because you work from home as a transcriptionist, you don’t require a specific skill set to succeed. Being armed with a pair of good-quality headphones, foot pedals, and an electronic transcriber will only get you so far in the role, and only a specific set of skills can help you take your transcription skills to the next level. Some of the basic skills a transcriptionist requires are as follows:

  • Good listening skills.
  • Quick and precise typing skills.
  • Strong familiarity with Microsoft programs or similar applications.
  • Ability to multitask.
  • Sound time-management skills.
  • Editing skills.
  • Strong written vernacular.
  • Proofreading skills.
  • Task completion skills, and many more.

If you only possess a few of these skills or don’t consider the skills you already have to be of a sound level, there are various ways that you can improve them to better your chances of securing transcription jobs. Providing that you work on behalf of a transcription agency, if your existing skills aren’t up to par, you will most likely receive some training. Yet, if you decide to go freelance, you won’t receive this training and will have to develop them through trial and error or short courses, so you need to think about how you want your personal development to progress when considering a freelance role.

Keep all of these tips in mind when you look for ways to make a living from transcribing.