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General Transcription - Work From Home. Free job listings. Real Companies.

General transcriptionist for over 10 years. I provide 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 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.

You must be objective and operate with the highest level of professionalism. For example, if you transcribe a reality cop 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 may 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.

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 reality, you work for the client.

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'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 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 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.

If you excelled in grammar, spelling, and vocabulary in high school, that is sufficient for transcription. You might also want to become familiar with the AP Stylebook; 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 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!

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

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 into a search engine and it will pop up, or you can type in the context of a word to 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.

generaltranscriptionjobs

General Transcription Software and Equipment

You must have:

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):

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.

Every company is different regarding how it pays its independent contractors. You might 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.

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. 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.

  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. Accuscribes
  6. AccuTran Global
  7. Administrative Plus Support Services
  8. Alice Darling Secretarial Services
  9. Allegis Transcription
  10. ALM Transcription
  11. AlphaDog Transcriptions
  12. AlphaSights
  13. ANP Transcription
  14. ASC Services (formerly Morningside Partners)
  15. AudioFile Solutions
  16. AudioTranscription.org
  17. Babbletype
  18. Cambridge Transcriptions
  19. Capital Typing
  20. Caption Labs
  21. Caption Sync by Automatic Sync Technologies
  22. CAS Associates
  23. Casting Words
  24. CyberDictate
  25. Daily Transcription
  26. Dictate Express
  27. Done it Now
  28. eTranscriptionJob
  29. eTranscription Solutions
  30. E-Typist
  31. eWord Solutions
  32. Focus Forward
  33. GMR Transcription
  34. GoTranscript
  35. Hollywood Transcriptions
  36. iScribed
  37. Kendall Creek Communications
  38. Landmark Associates
  39. Moving On Productions
  40. Multilingual Connections (must have multi-language skills)
  41. National Capitol Contracting
  42. Net Captioning
  43. Net Transcripts
  44. On the Record Reporting & Transcription (must live in the Austin, TX, area)
  45. Pactera Remote
  46. Pioneer Transcription Services
  47. Preferred Transcriptions
  48. Production Transcripts
  49. Quality Transcription Solutions
  50. Quality Transcription Specialists
  51. QuickTate
  52. Rev.com (transcription)
  53. Rev.com (captions)
  54. RNK Productions, LLC | 1st Choice Transcription
  55. Same Day Transcriptions
  56. Say it Back
  57. Scribie
  58. SpeakWrite
  59. Speechpad
  60. Take Note Typing
  61. Take1 Transcription
  62. Talking Type Captions
  63. Task Transcription Services
  64. Terescription
  65. Tigerfish
  66. Transcribe.com
  67. TranscribeMe
  68. Transcript Divas
  69. Transcription Etc.
  70. Transcription Experts
  71. Transcription Express (Arizona only)
  72. Transcription For Everyone
  73. Transcription Hub
  74. Transcription Outsourcing
  75. Transcriptions 'N Translations
  76. TruTranscripts
  77. TTE Transcripts Worldwide
  78. TypeWell
  79. Ubiqus
  80. Vanan Transcription
  81. Verbal Ink
  82. VerbIT (foot pedal not required)
  83. VITAC Captions
  84. Voxtab
  85. Way With Words
  86. WeScribeIt
  87. Word Wizards
  88. Written Communications

Poll

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 audio hour, so this equates to about $2.50 to $15 per hour. An experienced transcriptionist can type at least 15 minutes of audio 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.

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. 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. It's not typing "See spot run" over and over again. Your brain is doing the work and your hands are just 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 real skills and real discipline.

Did You Know . . .

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

Just for Fun

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

© 2014 transcriptionjobs

Comments

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.