General Transcription - Work From Home. Free job listings. Real Companies.
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What is General Transcription?
General transcription is anything that is not medical transcription, such as conference calls, seminars, podcasts, reports, sermons, focus groups, statements, radio and television shows, interviews, lectures, etc.
A person once told me, "Transcription doesn't take any skill." Wrong! Transcription isn't rocket science, but it's not so easy that a monkey could do it either. In fact, transcription takes a unique set of skills and high level of intelligence. Contrary to popular belief, transcription is not something that just anyone can do. It sounds like simple work and easy money, but it is not. Transcription is very challenging work and the field is competitive. You must have excellent spelling and grammar, a broad vocabulary, strong attention to detail, the ability to effectively research unfamiliar terminology, general knowledge of a wide variety of subjects, technological expertise, and the appropriate software and equipment.
In addition, you must be willing and able to work independently with no distractions. You must be focused, disciplined, patient, and not easily frustrated. You must be professional in work habits, attitude, and demeanor. You MUST meet deadlines! Treat your clients with respect. If you commit to a job, do it. Don't flake out, make excuses, or disappear. "Working for yourself" is somewhat of a misnomer. In actuality, you work for the client.
Let's examine some key transcription requirements in more detail.
People talk at rates ranging from about 120 to well over 200 words per minute, so unless you're using a steno machine, you will not be able to type as fast as a person can talk. A steno machine is what court reporters use in a courtroom or deposition proceeding. The faster your typing speed the better, but a minimum of 60 wpm is sufficient for transcription. Ideally you should be able to type at least 15 minutes of audio in one hour. You will also have to proofread the transcript, research unfamiliar terminology, and re-listen to parts of the audio that you didn't get the first time around.
Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary
Excellent spelling, grammar, and vocabulary are essential to transcription. Do you know the difference between "compliment" and "complement"? What about "ordinance" and "ordnance"? "Discreet" and "discrete"? "Prescribe" and "proscribe"? Some words are pronounced the same way, or similarly, but spelled differently, so you have to use context to determine the spelling. Are you able to do that? Is it one word, two words, or hyphenated? Sometimes it will depend on how the word is used; i.e., verb, noun, adverb, adjective.
As far as resources to utilize, sometimes the AP Stylebook is recommended, but I don't see the point since you are not going to write anything. You are going to transcribe verbatim speech. As such, I highly recommend utilizing court reporter resources such as Punctuation for Court Reporters by Nathaniel Weiss and Morson's English Guide for Court Reporters by Lillian I. Morson for tips and tricks on how to make the spoken word “make sense” when put into written form. People don’t always speak in grammatically correct sentences, and sometimes they use words that don’t even exist!
There are two types of transcription: Strict verbatim and clean verbatim. Strict verbatim means you have to type every "uh," "ah," etc. Clean verbatim means some minor tweaking is allowed, such as eliminating false starts and excessive stuttering.
Some online resources:
Test Yourself!view quiz statistics
Hearing vs. Listening
Transcription means listening for meaning. You type with your brain, and your hands are simply tools to get the information from your brain to the transcript. It is very important to listen intuitively and with common sense as opposed to just "spacing out" and typing what you hear or think you hear. It's important to be well-read and aware of what's going on in the world around you. You are not a machine just typing words. You need to be able to comprehend the material in order to use context to transcribe it accurately.
Reseach and Proofreading
Always proofread your work. If the audio is especially challenging, you should proof to audio as well. Never assume spellings. Do the research. For example, is it Kmart or K-Mart? Nitpicky, yes, but accuracy is very important. Sometimes you can type in a word phonetically and it will pop up, or you can type in the context of a word and find what you're looking for. Sometimes you will have to do some digging. Don't just automatically put "inaudible" for things you don't understand. Do the research. Search engines are useful tools, but you can't find everything, so it's important to utilize other resources as well.
General Transcription Software and Equipment
You must have:
- Reliable and fast computer with the latest operating system.
- Reliable high-speed Internet connection.
- Microsoft Word.
- Transcription software, headset, and foot pedal.
Express Scribe is the most popular software for transcription. You can download a free trial version, but after the free trial is over, you will be asked to upgrade to the Pro version which costs about $30. You will also have to pay for upgrades to the software. Of course, you don't have to upgrade, but it is highly recommended. Only the Pro version allows transcription of video files.
Transcription is primarily done over the Internet via digital audio/video files, but if working with tapes, then purchasing transcribing machines for standard size and/or microcassette tapes will be necessary as well. If working with DVDs, then consider the Start-Stop DVD/Video transcription system.
Other transcription software programs (free to try):
- F4 Audio and Video
- FTR Player (scroll down to "Player" and click to go to the download page)
- FTW Transcriber
- VLC Media Player
- ViewScribe (plug-in for Windows Media Player)
General Transcription Jobs
Here is a list of general transcription companies that hire home-based workers. These are legitimate companies. They do not charge fees. You should never pay anyone a fee to work for them. Any company that asks for money is a scam. They should be paying you to work for them, not the other way around!
Legitimate companies will ask you to fill out a W-9 form. At the end of the year, if you have made over $600 with any one company, that company will issue a 1099-MISC form for you to file with your tax return. You will have to sign an IC (independent contractor) agreement. You may be required to sign confidentiality and/or non-compete agreements as well.
Every company is different regarding how it pays its independent contractors. You may be paid via direct deposit, PayPal, or check. If you opt for direct deposit, you will fill out a direct deposit authorization form. Some companies pay weekly, some pay every two weeks, some pay once per month.
Many of these companies require experience. If you don't have experience, I recommend Transcribe Anywhere for a free online general transcription mini-course to learn more.
Please read the job descriptions very carefully and only apply if you have the skills required. Knowing how to type fast is not enough. Don't send resumes or applications with spelling and punctuation errors.
This list is subject to change, so bookmark this page and keep checking for updates.
- 1888TypeItUp (WARNING: They charge a $35 non-refundable "entrance exam fee." Also, see their reviews here. Apply with caution).
- A&P Transcription
- AccuTran Global
- Administrative Plus Support Services
- Alice Darling Secretarial Services
- Allegis Transcription
- ALM Transcription
- AlphaDog Transcriptions
- ANP Transcription
- ASC Services (formerly Morningside Partners)
- At Home Typing
- AudioFile Solutions
- Birch Creek Communications
- Cambridge Transcriptions
- Caption Labs
- Caption Sync by Automatic Sync Technologies
- CAS Associates
- Casting Words
- Daily Transcription
- Dictate Express
- Done it Now
- eTranscription Solutions
- eWord Solutions
- Focus Forward
- GMR Transcription
- Hollywood Transcriptions
- Kendall Creek Communications
- Landmark Associates
- Moving On Productions
- Multilingual Connections (must have multi-language skills)
- National Capitol Contracting
- Net Captioning
- Net Transcripts
- On the Record Reporting & Transcription (must live in the Austin, TX, area)
- Pactera Remote
- Pioneer Transcription Services
- Preferred Transcriptions
- Production Transcripts
- Quality Transcription Solutions
- Quality Transcription Specialists
- Rev.com (transcription)
- Rev.com (captions)
- RNK Productions, LLC | 1st Choice Transcription
- Same Day Transcriptions
- Say it Back
- Take Note Typing
- Take1 Transcription
- Talking Type Captions
- Task Transcription Services
- Transcript Divas
- Transcription Etc.
- Transcription Experts
- Transcription Express (Arizona only)
- Transcription For Everyone
- Transcription Hub
- Transcription Outsourcing
- Transcriptions 'N Translations
- TTE Transcripts Worldwide
- Vanan Transcription
- Verbal Ink
- VerbIT (foot pedal not required)
- VIA Captions (foot pedal not required)
- VITAC Captions
- Way With Words
- Word Wizards
- Written Communications
Do you work from home doing transcription?
General Transcription Pay Rates
Pay for general transcription usually ranges from $10 to $60 per audio hour. The average transcriptionist takes about four hours to transcribe one hour of audio, which breaks down to about $2.50 to $15 per hour.
How to Get Started in General Transcription
No experience? Transcribe Anywhere offers a free online course in general transcription (and legal transcription). Check them out.
You can also try freelance sites such as Guru and Upwork where you bid on jobs that match your skills and qualifications. If you do win a project, do not back out of it or abandon the project. Do the best job you can and proofread your work before submission. This will ensure that you get positive feedback which will help you get more projects and make more money. Remember, you work for the client, not for yourself, so be sure to do exactly what the client asks when the client asks you to do it.
You can apply with one or more of the companies I've listed in this article. You will have to take and pass one or more tests to prove you have the skills and experience necessary for the job.
General transcription is not for everyone, but it is a good opportunity for stay-at-home moms, retirees, and disabled individuals to make extra money. It is a lot tougher than most people think. It is not an "easy money" job. It's not simple typing. It's not brainless work. You must have skills, talent, intelligence, and professionalism. Just because it's a work-from-home job doesn't mean it's not a real job. It is a real job that requires real skills and real discipline.
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