General transcription is something you can do to earn money from home that you do not always have to have experience or an education in, although learning to do the work fast and efficiently will likely take some time because it’s not as easy as most people think it will be at first. In case you’re not familiar with it, transcription basically involves listening to an audio file and typing out what you hear. Here are a handful of companies I know about that will hire people with no previous experience to do general transcription:
Quicktate is one of the most popular newbie transcription sites. Pay ranges from 1/4 to 1/2 cent per word transcribed and pay is via Paypal twice a month. You have to take a test when you sign up and if you do well you should hear back eventually. I took the test earlier this year and only heard back about a month ago. I do not know if this is because they didn’t need anyone at the time I applied or what. Regardless, just keep in mind it might take them a little while to get back in touch with you on your application. The great thing about Quicktate is you can log on and off and work whenever it’s convenient for you. Work is not always consistent — sometimes they have it and sometimes they don’t, so definitely don’t depend on it to pay all your bills.
Scribie, which used to be known by the name of Call Graph, is another good site for new transcriptionists. Pay is $10 per audio hour and this should not be confused with pay per hour. It could take you a while to get one hour of audio transcribed — especially if you’re new to transcription. But the more practiced you get, the more speed you can build up, so you may want to give it some time before just giving up immediately on it. When you apply, you’ll have to take a transcription test before you’re “in.” Scribie pays via Paypal and you only need $1 in your account to cash out, which makes me think this is a good go-to site when you need some extra cash in a pinch.
This is a newer site that seems very promising so far. They pay $30 an audio hour and signing up is easy. Take a short exam that gets graded automatically (the exam is easy) and if you pass with good enough accuracy, you are in the system and can start transcribing. You only do very short eight to ten second audio files, and they pay every Thursday with Paypal.
Appenscribe is based out of Australia, but they do hire Americans and people worldwide to do transcription work for them. Pay is a few cents for each line transcribed, and pay is through Paypal every few weeks. You will need to take a test when you register. Appenscribe asks for at least 10 hours of work from you per week, although from what I understand they do not always have work available to do. From the research I’ve done and the comments I’ve gotten on the post I wrote a few months ago on Appenscribe, most people have pretty good things to say about this place.
Go here to apply to Appenscribe. Please keep in mind this link won’t open up unless you’re using Firefox.
AccuTran Global is a legit transcription company that will hire beginners, although you do have to take a skills test first. You work based on a schedule that they provide for you after you tell them when you’re available on a weekly basis. Most of the work involves transcribing financial conference calls. They pay $0.005/word for beginning transcribers on basic audio and up to $0.0066/word for difficult or foreign audio done by senior transcribers. Pay is monthly via check or wire transfer.
Tigerfish is another well-known transcription company that will also hire beginners, and they have been around for a long time. They pay 3 to 4 cents per line transcribed and you do have to download and transcribe some audio files for them before you can be considered, which will involve downloading the Express Scribe software (free).
You can go here to apply at Tigerfish.
A few other places worthy of mention for finding transcription work for newbies are Amazon mTurk, Odesk, and Elance. Please keep in mind that finding transcription work on these sites is not a guarantee and the rate you’ll be working for will vary depending on the client.
Don’t feel ready to apply to one of these companies yet? Amazon MTurk offers a great way to “practice” transcription without having to actually apply to a specific company. If you have an account, you can try some easy transcription HITs on there just to get a feel for how it works. SpeechInk, Redwood, Casting Words, and Claritrans are three requesters on MTurk that often put transcription HITs up. Keep in mind that some of these requesters will ask that you either take a short, easy test before attempting their work or will ask that you request a qualification from them.
Interested in more companies that hire beginners for transcription? I have several other listings in my directory.