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General Transcription Jobs. Work from Home.

Freelance general transcriptionist for companies and individuals for over 20 years.

Copyright © 2014 by website owner. All Rights Reserved. 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. I originally posted this blog on Squidoo before it was acquired by HubPages.

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! 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 challenging and the field is competitive. It requires a number of skills, intelligence and awareness. It is an art form.

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.

You must be objective and operate with the highest level of professionalism. For example, if you transcribe a reality police show, you might have to transcribe profanity. If you transcribe a newscast with the U.S. President speaking, you have to transcribe what he (or perhaps “she” someday) says accurately whether you “like” or “agree” with him/her or not.

Many general transcription jobs are for closed captioning companies which provide a very important service for the deaf and hard of hearing. The job is not about your own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and opinions. You must put aside any biases you have, and you cannot allow yourself to be offended by the subject matter. If you cannot or will not do this, then you are not a good fit for transcription.

You must be willing and able to work independently and 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.

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

Typing Speed

People speak at rates ranging from about 120 to well over 200 words per minute, so unless you are 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 you type the better because you want to have a reserve speed for those fast talkers, but 60 to 80 wpm is sufficient for transcription. Ideally you should be able to type at least 15 minutes of audio in one hour. You will also proofread the transcript, research unfamiliar terminology, and re-listen to parts of the audio that you didn’t comprehend the first time around.

Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary

Do you know the difference between “compliment” and “complement”? “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. Is it one word, two words, or hyphenated? Sometimes it will depend on how the word is used; i.e., verb, noun, adverb, adjective.

If you excelled in grammar, spelling, and vocabulary in high school, that is sufficient for transcription. There are various style guides to which to refer, including the AP Stylebook, the APA Style, The Chicago Manual of Style, and the MLA Handbook. However, since you are going to transcribe verbatim speech as opposed to writing, 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 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.

Now, bear in mind that every company has its own little rules and regulations about punctuation. The way you learned it might not be the way a particular company wants it done. Take interruptions, for example. A company might require two short dashes, one long dash, spaces around the dash, no spaces around the dash, etc.

In addition to that, there is a difference between closed captioning transcription, sermon transcription, and other types of transcription, so the rules and regulations of a company regarding punctuation, formatting, and even grammar and sentence structure will vary among these different types of transcription companies. Some companies accept a conjunction at the beginning of a sentence and some companies do not. Some companies require that you edit out conjunctions at the beginning of a sentence, and some companies require a comma before the conjunction. So different companies have different ways of doing things that might or might not be the way you learned them or even considered correct by common standards.

Test Yourself!

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Which of the following spellings is preferred in American English?
    • acknowledgment
    • acknowledgement
    • acknowlegment
    • acknowlegement
    • Don't know
  2. Which of the following spellings is preferred in American English?
    • judgement
    • judgment
    • judgemant
    • judgmant
    • Don't know
  3. Which of the following spellings is correct for a page at the beginning of a book?
    • foreward
    • forword
    • forworde
    • foreword
    • Don't know
  4. Which of the following spellings is correct?
    • arguement
    • argument
    • arguemant
    • arguemint
    • Don't know
  5. Which sentence is written correctly?
    • The field name was "Employee".
    • The field name was "Employee."
  6. Which of the following is correct?
    • The jury is at odds over the verdict.
    • The jury are at odds over the verdict.
  7. Which sentence is correct?
    • Printing will have to move its label to the top of the box.
    • Printing will have to move it's label to the top of the box.
  8. We could not _________ the explanation.
    • except
    • accept
  9. The plaintiff found herself _______ several hostile women.
    • between
    • among
  10. We did not want to continue the case, mostly because of _______.
    • principal
    • principle
  11. The owners added a scaffold to ______ that workers were safe.
    • ensure
    • assure
  12. The incidents occurred in three _______ periods.
    • discrete
    • discreet
  13. Choose the sentence with the correct comma placement.
    • She finished her work, and then took a long lunch.
    • She finished her work, and then, took a long lunch.
    • She finished her work and then took a long lunch.
    • She finished her work and then, took a long lunch.
    • Don't know
  14. Choose the sentence with the correct comma placement.
    • She left Albany, New York, on January 18 of that year.
    • She left Albany, New York on January 18, of that year.
    • She left Albany New York, on January 18 of that year.
    • She left, Albany New York, on January 18 of that year.
    • Don't know
  15. Choose the sentence with the correct comma placement.
    • I need, sugar, butter, and eggs from the grocery store.
    • I need sugar, butter, and eggs, from the grocery store.
    • I need sugar, butter and eggs, from the grocery store.
    • I need sugar, butter, and eggs from the grocery store.
    • Don't know

Answer Key

  1. acknowledgment
  2. judgment
  3. foreword
  4. argument
  5. The field name was "Employee."
  6. The jury is at odds over the verdict.
  7. Printing will have to move its label to the top of the box.
  8. accept
  9. among
  10. principle
  11. ensure
  12. discrete
  13. She finished her work and then took a long lunch.
  14. She left Albany, New York, on January 18 of that year.
  15. I need sugar, butter, and eggs from the grocery store.

Hearing vs. Listening

Transcription means listening for meaning. You type with your brain. Your hands are simply the tools your brain uses to get the information you’re processing into written form. 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

You must proofread your work with and without the audio. Never assume spellings. For example, is it Kmart or K-Mart? It might seem trivial, but it’s not. Accuracy is very important. Sometimes you can type a word phonetically into a search engine and the correct spelling will pop up, or you can type in the context of a word to find what you’re looking for. Sometimes you have to do some digging. Don’t just put “inaudible” for things you don’t understand. Do the research. Search engines are useful tools, but it is not always possible to find everything, so it’s important to utilize other resources as well.


General Transcription Software and Equipment

You must have a reliable and fast computer with the the latest operating system, a reliable high-speed internet connection, Microsoft Word, transcription software, foot pedal, and headset.

Express Scribe Pro is the most popular transcription software program. It costs about $30. The software allows transcription of audio and video files. It also allows you to slow down a fast talker or speed up a slow talker. There is a fee for updating the software when updates are available. You don’t have to upgrade, but it is recommended. You can download a free trial version of the software before you buy it, but when the free trial expires, you will be prompted to upgrade.

Transcription is primarily done over the internet, 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 are available and they are free to try:

Also try:

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 might be required to sign confidentiality and/or non-compete agreements as well.

You could be paid via direct deposit, PayPal, or check. If you opt for direct deposit, you will need to fill out a direct deposit authorization form. Some companies pay weekly, some pay every two weeks, some pay once per month.

Please read job descriptions very carefully and only apply if you have the skills required. Knowing how to type fast is not enough. Sending resumes or applications with spelling and/or punctuation errors will result in automatic rejection.

This list is subject to change, so bookmark this page and keep checking for updates. Sometimes companies go out of business due to an ability to attract or retain clients, inability to hire quality transcriptionists, or other reasons. Conversely, new companies pop up all the time. Maybe they’ll be around forever, maybe not. Transcription is a tough job that not everyone can do even though they think they can.

Be wary of working for individuals as opposed to companies. In my experience, individual “owners” are extremely difficult to work for and go out of business in a relatively short time. Life happens — medical emergency, pregnancy, death in the family, etc. — and they may choose to close their business, or worse, just disappear without a trace. Too many people think just because they can type fast means they can throw up a website and call themselves a transcriptionist or a transcription company.

Now the jobs. Apply to one or more. Most require experience. Most people who apply will not pass the tests. If you do, be prepared to memorize about 50 to 100 pages of "rules and regs" overnight. Perfection is demanded. Good luck!

  1. 1888TypeItUp (WARNING: They charge a $39 non-refundable “entrance exam fee.” You are also required to have Microsoft Office, which you can purchase outright or pay the company $20 per month for the subscription).
  2. 3PlayMedia
  3. A&P Transcription
  4. Aberdeen
  5. AccuTran Global
  6. Administrative Plus Support Services
  7. Alice Darling Secretarial Services
  8. Allegis Transcription
  9. ALM Transcription
  10. AlphaDog Transcriptions
  11. AmberScript
  12. ANP Transcription
  13. ASC Services (formerly Morningside Partners)
  14. AudioTranscription.org
  15. Babbletype
  16. Cambridge Transcriptions
  17. Capital Typing
  18. Caption Labs
  19. Caption Sync by Automatic Sync Technologies
  20. CAS Associates
  21. Casting Words
  22. CyberDictate
  23. Daily Transcription
  24. Dictate Express
  25. Done it Now
  26. eTranscriptionJob
  27. eTranscription Solutions
  28. E-Typist
  29. eWord Solutions
  30. Focus Forward
  31. GMR Transcription
  32. GoTranscript
  33. Hess Transcriptions
  34. Hollywood Transcriptions
  35. iScribed
  36. Kendall Creek Communications
  37. Landmark Associates
  38. Moving On Productions
  39. Multilingual Connections (must have multi-language skills)
  40. National Capitol Contracting
  41. Net Captioning
  42. Net Transcripts
  43. Opal Transcription Services
  44. Pactera Remote
  45. Pioneer Transcription Services
  46. Preferred Transcriptions
  47. Production Transcripts
  48. Quality Transcription Solutions
  49. Quality Transcription Specialists
  50. QuickTate
  51. Rev.com (transcription)
  52. Rev.com (captions)
  53. RNK Productions, LLC | 1st Choice Transcription
  54. Same Day Transcriptions
  55. Say it Back
  56. Scribie
  57. SpeakWrite
  58. Speechpad
  59. Take Note (U.K. only)
  60. Take1 Transcription
  61. Task Transcription Services
  62. Terescription
  63. Tigerfish
  64. TranscribeMe
  65. Transcript Divas
  66. Transcription Etc.
  67. Transcription Experts
  68. Transcription Express (Arizona only)
  69. Transcription For Everyone
  70. Transcription Hub
  71. Transcriptions ‘N Translations
  72. Transcription Outsourcing
  73. Transcription Panda
  74. Transcription Wave
  75. Transcription Wing
  76. TruTranscripts
  77. TypeWell — Job training and placement. Application and skills assessments are free, but the course is $800. They do real-time transcription only, meaning live as the person is speaking, not receiving an audio or video file to type up.
  78. Ubiqus
  79. Vanan Transcription
  80. Verbal Ink
  81. VerbIT (foot pedal not required)
  82. ViaVid
  83. VIQ Solutions
  84. VITAC Captions
  85. Voxtab
  86. Way With Words
  87. WeScribeIt
  88. Word Wizards
  89. Written Communications


General Transcription Pay Rates

Pay for general transcription typically ranges from $10 to $60 per audio hour. On average, an experienced transcriptionist is able to type at least 15 minutes of audio per hour. It could be more or it could be less. If you were able to type one hour of audio in four hours, this would amount to approximately $2.50 to $15 per hour.

How to Get Started in General Transcription

You may 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.

Those with no experience can try freelance sites such as Guru and Upwork where you bid on jobs that match your skills and qualifications. Do not fabricate or exaggerate your qualifications. If you do win a project, do not back out of it or abandon the project. Do your best 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.


General transcription is not for everyone, but it is a good opportunity for stay-at-home moms, retirees, and some disabled individuals to make extra money. It is a lot tougher than most people think. It is not an “easy money” job. It is not a “get rich quick” job. It is not simple typing. It is not brainless work. It is not typing “see Spot run” over and over again. Your brain is doing the work and your hands are the tools. 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 skill, discipline, intelligence, and talent.

Become a Volunteer Transcriptionist

The Smithsonian needs volunteer transcribers, or “volunpeers." Visit the Smithsonian Transcription Center for more details.

For Animal Lovers

In memory of my beloved fur kids:

  • Cookie (1992-2007)
  • Cleo (?-2013)
  • Toby (2005-2021)

Grieving the loss of a beloved pet friend? Maybe petloss.com can help.

Do animals go to heaven? Check out Eternal Animals to find out.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 transcriptionjobs


Steven Kenneth on April 26, 2019:

That's a very elaborate article. And a good one too, no wonder people are trying to copy notes from here. There are other blogs which explain GT. But none like this. Great article!

Robert from West Texas on December 26, 2018:

Thanks for the English test.

Cecil Kenmill from Osaka, Japan on October 20, 2018:

Good info and clever quiz. I missed only 1 question!

transcriptionjobs (author) on October 15, 2018:

Thanks for the info. This company appears to be based in London, but their FAQs indicate that they hire from outside the UK as well, so I've included the link in the list of companies that hire transcribers.

Thomas Carter from London, UK on September 21, 2018:

Have you tried https://takenotetyping.com/ ? They are an online transcription service that host a test so you can apply for a job.

Not as easy to get a job for as Rev.com or Gotranscript.com but the rates are much better.

The application test is harder, so its best to experienced transcribers

Veronica Lewis from Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania on March 05, 2018:

Thank you for your hub! Lots of useful information. I will sign up with one of the companies listed.

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