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Online Transcription Jobs

Do you know how to make money online with online transcription jobs? What are online transcription jobs? Are all online transcription jobs scams? How much money can you make with online transcription jobs? Read on for all the answers.

Quick links

Online transcription jobs quick facts

Work where?
Pay by
Joining fee?
Minimum age
0.5¢/word, $10/audio hour
PayPal, check, direct deposit
Independent contractor
Some companies require experience
Some companies require qualifications

What are online transcription jobs?

Online transcription jobs involve:

  1. listening to voice recordings; and
  2. typing into a computer what you hear.

Here are various types of recorded speech that gets transcribed:

Transcription skills required

Online transcription jobs typically require the following skills:

Transcription experience required

Some online transcription companies may also require:

Technical requirements

Online transcription jobs require some or all of the following equipment:

Other requirements

Some online transcription companies may also require:

How long does transcription take?

The transcription industry standard is one hour to transcribe 15 minutes of clearly recorded speech. You also need to allow some time for proof reading.

Here's a reference table of audio length and roughly how long it should take to transcribe.

5 mins
10 mins
15 mins
20 mins
30 mins
45 mins
1 hour
15-20 mins
30-40 mins
45-60 mins
60-80 mins
90-120 mins
135-180 mins
3-4 hours

Other notes

Are all online online transcription jobs scams?

I did a lot of research on this topic. And here's the conclusion I came to...

Online transcription jobs are a legitimate way to make money online. In fact if you specialize in say Medical Transcription for example, which requires training, you can turn it into a career.

There are lots of full and part-time jobs. Experienced transcriptionists will find opportunities for promotion to Quality Control and Manager.

Companies offering online transcription jobs don't charge for applications. If you come across online transcription jobs that require payment for applying or more information, run the other way! :-)

If you have any opinions or experiences with online transcription jobs, please post your comments at the bottom of this page.

How much money can you make with online transcription jobs?

If you have good typing skills and can turn around jobs quickly and efficiently, online transcription companies claim you can typically earn $10 to $15+ an hour.

There are two ways online transcription jobs pay:

  1. Pay per word: for example, 0.5¢ to 0.66¢ per word.
  2. Pay per audio hour: for example, $10 per audio hour. You're paid for the length of the audio file, not the amount of time it takes you to transcribe.

What's an "audio hour"

Many online transcription jobs quote a pay rate in terms of "per audio hour".

An audio hour is one hour of audio recording. The industry standard is one hour to transcribe 15 minutes of audio. Hence, four hours to transcribe one hour of audio.

So if a job pays "$20 per audio hour", it means you'll earn $20 for FOUR hours of work. That's $5 per hour of work.

So don't confuse "$20 per audio hour" with "$20 per hour". ;-)

3 worldwide online transcription jobs

Here are three online transcription jobs that are available worldwide.

  1. Way With Words: is a registered company in the United Kingdom and South Africa serving over 2,500 clients globally since 2001.

    Online transcription jobs include transcribing TV shows, radio shows, legal records, medical records, focus groups, police interviews, board meetings, disciplinary hearings, and conferences.


    • New independent contractors earn US$30 during a probationary period, going up to US$45 per audio hour.
    • You can earn as much as US$67 per audio hour, depending on your availability, ability, performance, and length of contractor service.


    • Minimum of 50 words per minutes.
    • Commit at least 20 hours of work per week.
    • Take a two part entrance test.
  2. SpeechInk: offers online transcription jobs via the Amazon Mechanical Turk website.

    Mechanical Turk is Amazon.com's online platform where companies can post small jobs and independent contractors can pick and choose jobs they like to do.

    At the time of writing Mechanical Turk returned 425 SpeechInk results or jobs. Jobs ranged from a 1 minute 6 second audio file that pays $0.17, to a 1 hour, 23 minute, 35 seconds audio file that pays $33.85.

    I did some calculations and worked out that SpeechInk pay between $9 and $24 per audio hour. I wrote to SpeechInk and they confirmed those figures.

    Many of SpeechInks' transcription jobs are insurance company interviews that require following precise transcription rules. SpeechInk offer a SpeechInk Quick Start Guide for Transcribing Recorded Insurance Interviews to help you.


    • Pays between $9 and $24 per audio hour.
    • Bonus program: each job that gets a rating above 90 receives a bonus, up to a maximum of 50% of the job's reward.


    • Amazon Mechanical Turk account.
    • Good understanding of insurance formatting guidelines.
  3. Scribie: has a very flexible work arrangement. You can choose the files you want to work on and check the quality beforehand. Work as little or as much as you like.


    • Pays $10 per audio hour.
    • Short files: 6 minutes or less.
    • No obligations, no monthly commitments and cash withdrawal limits.
    • Bonus of $10 per month for every 3 audio hours of transcription and reviews completed per month.
    • Promotion to Reviewer if performance is good.


    • Fast typing speed.
    • Verified PayPal account.
    • Pass the Scribie certification test.
    • Scribie prefer transcribers with at least a year's experience. However they do accept new and inexperienced transcribers.

    According to the Scribie website they pay $10 per audio hour.

    At first I thought the pay was unbelievably low. The industry standard is one hour to transcribe 15 minutes of audio, or four hours to transcribe one hour of audio.

    At $10 per audio hour, you'll earn just $2.50 for each hour you work.

    I thought this might be a mistake, so I wrote to Rajiv Poddar, Scribie's founder, to get his take on this.

    Rajiv explained that Scribie:

    • doesn't ask people to transcribe 1 hour at a time; the maximum is a 6 minute file which might take around 15 to 20 minutes.
    • allow people to self review their own work, which effectively doubles the pay rate. Interesting!
    • pay monthly bonuses of $10 for each 3 hours completed.

      That sounds good in principle. But according to Scribie's Top 25 transcribers by hours completed in last 30 days, only seven transcribers completed three hours or more of work in the last 30 days.

      Scribie also offer a number of Top 25 lists showing the top performers by hours completed, ratings and certifications.

    Ultimately, Rajiv said if you do the transcription and review together, you should earn $2 for maybe 20 minutes of your time.

    If you add the monthly bonus (assuming you qualify) then it works out to about $2.30 for 20 minutes of effort. Of course this will vary depending on the skill of the transcriber, audio quality, etc.

    Effectively, it means you should earn about $6 to $6.90 an hour transcribing for Scribie. That's straight from the horse's mouth! :-)

    I think that rate is below the minimum wage in most Western countries. The rate might be more appealing if you live in developing country.

    The low pay is off-set by the flexibility which gives online transcriptionists just starting out the opportunity to gain valuable experience and get paid for it.

Other worldwide online transcription jobs

I wrote to the following online transcription companies requesting more information about their online transcription jobs.

I am still waiting for a reply after ten days of waiting. So I can only assume they might be out of business. Or that's an indication of their customer service. Either way, not good.

5 USA online transcription jobs

Here are five online transcription jobs that are available in the United States.

  1. Daily Transcription: provide academic, corporate, closed caption, legal, post production, and translation transcription services.

    Some of their biggest clients come from the entertainment industry, including ABC, HBO and MTV.


    • $0.60-1.00 per minute.
    • No minimum typing speed.
    • Full/part-time positions available.


    • You're based in the United States.
    • Must pass a transcription test.
  2. Transcript Divas: is a New York based online transcription company providing transcription services to academic and media organizations, such as Columbia University, ESPN and Martha Stewart.

    Transcript Divas also have online transcribers in the UK, Canada, and Australia. But they're currently only hiring transcribers in the United States.


    • $11.90-16.67 per hour.


    • You live in the United States.
    • At least 12 months experience in transcribing one to one interviews, focus group discussions and telephone interviews.
    • Available to work weekdays, 9am to 5pm.
    • You're a native English speaker.
  3. SpeakWrite: have been providing transcription services for twelve years, with over 35,000 clients nationwide.

    SpeakWrite is actively hiring legal transcriptionists with law office skills and experience throughout the United States and Canada as independent contractors working from homes.

    SpeakWrite also contract with general (non-legal) transcriptionists, although they're not hiring at the time of writing. Check their website to see if they're hiring general transcriptionists again.


    • $0.05 per word. SpeakWrite say good transcriptionists generally earn $12 to $15+ per hour.
    • You can decide the total hours you'd like to work, as well as your schedule week to week.

    General requirements:

    • Minimum typing speed of 65 words per minute.
    • Background (excluding credit) check after you've passed all the tests and been accepted as a SpeakWrite independent contractor. SpeakWrite pays for the background check.

    Legal transcriptionist requirements:

    • At least 24 months of legal work in a law firm within the last five years.
    • Have experience and a good working knowledge of the set up of legal pleadings, agreements, court headings, interrogatories, deposition summaries, formal correspondence, etc.
    • Have a good working knowledge of the proper format of legal citations.

    General transcriptionist requirements:

    • At least 24 months of word processing or transcription experience within the last five years. General office, data entry, and accounting experience isn't sufficient.
    • Have experience and good working knowledge of the set up of formal correspondence, reports, etc.
  4. Production Transcripts: offer one-to-one and multi-person interviews, focus groups, reality TV and movie transcription services by U.S. based transcribers.

    I wrote to Production Transcripts for details about their pay structure and job requirements. Here's their reply and I quote:

    "We higher only experienced transcribers with multiple years of transcription experience. We don't base it upon speed, but rather quality and we do not discuss any pay rates or ranges except with transcribers we've solicited to work for us. We hire only very selectively and competition for jobs is highly competitive when we do so."

  5. E-Typist: provide online legal transcription services, including reports, interviews , investigations, court proceedings and pleadings.

    I ask E-Typist about their pay structure and their response was and I quote:

    "Compensation varies depending on factors such as skillset and experience, and scope of work, and is therefore proprietary and confidential."


    • Minimum of 3 years legal transcription experience.
    • Minimum 60 words per minute.

Other USA online transcription jobs

I wrote to the following U.S. online transcription companies requesting more information about their online transcription jobs.

I am still waiting for a reply after ten days of waiting. So I can only assume they might be out of business. Or that's an indication of their customer service. Either way, not good.

These two companies weren't very helpful.

The inside scoop on online transcription work pay and process

I received the following email from an Ali Smith in Auburn, California, USA.

I think anyone who is thinking about doing online transcription work will find Ali's insights invaluable. I have republished her email with her permission. Thank you Ali! :-)

I have been doing transcription for about six months now for Net Transcripts which I noticed is on your list of non-respondants. So if you want the inside scoop as far as pay and process, I will be happy to share with you.

It is not a ratio of 1:4 of audio hours to transcription hours, I can tell you that for certain. Unless you are all-knowing of terminology for all industries that ever existed. Seriously. It is grueling work.

Here are the facts:

Why the 4:1 ratio is bogus: Transcriptionists are required to decipher the different voices in the conference using listening skills and context clues (okay that person just addressed the other person as Bill).

Transcriptionists are also required to do online research to figure out industry lingo, business name references, names of people in conference, facts, figures ... you name it.

Together with possibly poor audio quality (the usual), pay usually lands you in the range of $5 per hour of work.

The good news is that sometimes you can get superb quality, great speakers, few people and simple content. That happens about one out of every five times.

Net Transcripts does all different kinds of transcription services, including legal, medical and law enforcement - including inmate conversations and police interrogations, which sound kinda interesting right? Like totally Law & Order.

My advice: If you are really serious about transcription, make the investment of becoming specialized at one particular type and check to see which companies provide basic cheat sheets. Then you know the terminology, names and other relevant information that could save you hours - I mean hours - of work. Your base pay will be much higher to begin with. People make a decent living doing it. What I do is not enough to sustain life. And it's exhausting.

Note: Net Transcripts does not pay dismally. It seems to be the industry standard. Heck, I think they pay great compared to other stuff I have seen posted on oDesk. $10 for a 60 minute transcription. Seriously?

Online transcription jobs forum

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Medical transcription jobs

Medical transcription jobs are a special type of online transcription job. Medical transcriptionists must have a good understanding of medical terminology.

You either need to take a medical transcription course, or have acute care experience, such as experience working in an emergency department.

Medical transcription courses can take many months to a year or more to complete. So medical transcription isn't something you can start making money with tomorrow.

Medical transcriptionists typically work from home, although many work in hospitals and medical clinics.

Medical transcription jobs pay more

Medical transcription jobs typically pay more than general online transcription jobs. And there seems to be a greater demand for medical transcriptionists.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 median pay for medical transcriptionists was $32,900 or $15.82 an hour. Medical transcriptionists have reported salaries as high as $47,000 a year according to Glassdoor.com.

Click this button to learn more about medical transcription jobs.

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