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General Transcription Jobs. Free information. Work from home.

Updated on September 12, 2017
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General transcriptionist for over 10 years. I love providing top-notch service to clients while working from the comfort of home.

This article is copyrighted. Do not copy and reprint this article in whole or in part and claim it as your own. If you have a work-at-home website, blog, or newsletter, you must ask for my permission before using any of my content. Infringements will be tracked and resolved. This article is authored by me and was originally on Squidoo before the site folded. Since that time I've noticed portions of my article copied and sent out in work-at-home newsletters. Someone even copied this article into an ebook and is selling it on Amazon. I have never charged for this information and never will. It is absolutely free of charge here. Thanks.

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 skill and talent beyond simple typing ability. You must have excellent spelling and grammar, a broad vocabulary, strong attention to detail, the ability to effectively research unfamiliar terminology, 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.

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, so only the best will succeed. Just because it's an "extra money" job doesn't mean it should not be taken seriously.

Let's examine some key transcription requirements in more detail.

Typing Speed

People talk at rates ranging from about 140 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. Now, that's just the typing part. You will also have to proofread the transcript, research names, terminology, etc., and re-listen to parts of the audio that you didn't get the first time around.

Test Yourself!


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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! As a transcriptionist, you are not allowed to edit verbatim speech. Sometimes minor tweaking is allowed and you may able to eliminate false starts and/or excessive stuttering (clean verbatim), but that's it. By and large, you cannot add to or subtract from the transcription. If the client requires "strict verbatim," then every single stutter, false start, uh, ah, etc., has to be typed.

Some online resources:

Hearing vs. Listening

Having a strong vocabulary and general knowledge of a wide variety of subjects will help you greatly in being able 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 need to have a general understanding of topics such as technology, business, finance, religion, academics, marketing, society, law, medicine, etc. You are not 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. Always look up spellings of names and unfamiliar words. Don't guess or assume. For example, is it Kmart or K-Mart? Nitpicky, yes, but it's very important to be as accurate as possible. You need to be detailed and resourceful. Sometimes you can type in a word phonetically and it will pop right 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 can't get. Do the research. Although search engines are useful tools, they are not the be-all and end-all. Most things can be looked up by doing an Internet search, but you can't find everything, so it's important to utilize other resources as well.

General Transcription Software and Equipment

You will need:

In addition to the above, you must be computer literate and technologically savvy in order to download/upload files and troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise.

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. This is a one-time fee, but 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. You cannot transcribe videos in the free trial version.

Transcription is largely 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.

Purchasing transcription software is well worth the investment if you're serious about doing transcription work.

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. However, if you don't already own a headset, foot pedal, and software, you will need to purchase these, but you should not 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, and 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. In most cases, you will be required to sign confidentiality agreements as well.

Most of these companies require experience. If you don't have experience, I suggest you take a look at Transcribe Anywhere.


  1. 1888TypeItUp
  2. 3PlayMedia
  3. AccuTran Global
  4. Administrative Plus Support Services
  5. Allegis Transcription
  6. ALM Transcription
  7. ANP Transcription
  8. ASC Services (formerly Morningside Partners)
  9. AudioFile Solutions
  10. AudioTranscription.org
  11. Automatic Sync Technologies
  12. Babbletype
  13. Birch Creek Communications
  14. Cambridge Transcriptions
  15. CaptionSync/AST
  16. Casting Words
  17. Daily Transcription
  18. Done it Now
  19. eTranscriptionJob
  20. Focus Forward
  21. Get Transcribed
  22. GMR Transcription
  23. GoTranscript
  24. Hollywood Transcriptions
  25. InteleANTS
  26. iScribed
  27. Landmark Associates
  28. Moving On Productions
  29. Neil R. Gross & Co., Inc. (legal)
  30. Net Captioning
  31. Net Transcripts
  32. NoteVault
  33. Pioneer Transcription Services
  34. Production Transcripts
  35. Quality Transcription Solutions
  36. Quality Transcription Specialists
  37. QuickTate
  38. Quick Transcription Service
  39. Rev.com (transcription)
  40. Rev.com (captions)
  41. RNK Productions, LLC | 1st Choice Transcription
  42. Scribie
  43. ScriptoSphere (India only)
  44. SpeakWrite
  45. Speechpad
  46. Talking Type Captions
  47. Terescription
  48. Tigerfish
  49. Transcribe.com
  50. TranscribeMe!
  51. Transcribe Team
  52. Transcript Divas
  53. Transcription Express (Arizona only)
  54. Transcription Hub
  55. Transcriptions 'N Translations
  56. Transcription Vendors
  57. TruTranscripts
  58. TSI Transcripts
  59. TTE Transcripts Worldwide
  60. Ubiqus
  61. U.S. Captioning Company
  62. Vanan Transcription
  63. Verbal Ink
  64. VerbIT (foot pedal not required)
  65. VIA Captions (foot pedal not required)
  66. VITAC Captions
  67. Way With Words
  68. WeScribeIt

These three companies appear to be the same:

  1. HourTrans
  2. ScriptAProject
  3. Transcription Force

As I mentioned previously, Express Scribe is the most popular transcription software available. I've listed some others here. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as free transcription software, but these programs do have free trials so that you can try before you buy.

Also try:

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General Transcription Pay Rates

Pay for general transcription usually ranges from $10 to $60 per audio hour. As mentioned previously, the average transcriptionist types a minimum of 15 minutes of audio per hour, so on average it takes about four hours to transcribe one hour of audio plus proofing, research, editing, and re-listening to difficult parts of the audio. You won't get rich doing transcription, but if you are smart, talented, focused, disciplined, detail-oriented, love learning new things, and don't mind typing for hours on end, you can make good extra money doing transcription from home.

How to Get Started in General Transcription

One way you can get started is by applying to the companies listed above. The majority of these companies require experience. If you have little to no experience, you may want to get your feet wet by accepting assignments on Guru or Upwork. Be honest about your capabilities and only bid on projects that fit with your skills and knowledge. Do not state in your profile that you have skills and experience that you do not possess. If you accept a project, do not back out of it. Do the best job you can and proofread your work before submission. This will ensure that you get a good rating 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.

Summary

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. However, as previously discussed, 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, and professionalism. Just because it's a work-from-home job doesn't mean it's not a job. It is a real job that requires real skills.

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