Transcription involves the written representation of an audio recording. You can transcribe anything from interviews, lectures, sermons, speeches, notes, and more.
Transcription is popular because of how easy it is to start and how you can make a living from it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that high-earning medical transcriptionists can make over $48,190 a year.
Can you make good money as a transcriptionist?
Yes, you can make good money working as a transcriptionist, provided you put in the work. No prior experience is required beyond fast typing speeds, great grammar, and excellent listening skills.
If you put in the work, you can quickly scale your income to earn up to $60,000 a year. Furthermore, you can start your own agency and hire transcriptions to work under you.
Additional Reading: How to Become a Transcriptionist: Ultimate Guide For Beginners
How much can you make doing transcription?
How much money you make as a transcriptionist depends on several factors, including years of experience, your field of work, location, speed, skills, and audio quality.
Years of experience
A beginner transcriptionist will not earn the same as someone who’s been in the industry for many years. This is because a beginner is still learning the ropes, may have a lower speed, and may make a few mistakes here and there.
Also, the more experience you have as a transcriptionist, the higher the rates you can command. On average, a beginner transcriptionist can make between $5 and $15 an hour. A more experienced transcriptionist can earn between $30 and $50 per hour.
Field of work
The field of work you choose in transcription does affect your pay. Legal and medical transcriptionists earn more than general transcriptionists.
To succeed in the medical and legal field, you must have experience working in either industry. This is because you may come across legal jargon and medical terminology.
Being able to specialize in a field gives you the chance to command higher rates as you establish yourself as an expert in the field.
Statistics show that a legal transcriptionist in America makes an average of $34,409 yearly. Top legal transcriptionists can make $44,000 a year.
Where you live does have a small impact on how much you make as a transcriptionist.
For example, if you live in a metropolitan area, you can expect to earn higher because the cost of living is also high. You might make slightly less if you lived in a rural area with a lower cost of living.
However, this factor may not affect those who work remotely. Companies in the US often hire remote transcriptionists from all over the world.
Additional reading: 30 Best Online Transcription Jobs From Home
How much can a beginner transcriptionist make?
A beginner can make anywhere between $300 to $1500 a month. ZipRecruiter reports that beginners can make $25,000 a year on average, translating to slightly over $2,000 a month.
It is difficult to determine how much a beginner transcriptionist can make because of several factors that come into play.
A beginner with excellent grammar skills and a knack for picking out accents in an audio file may perform better than a beginner who needs to polish their proofreading and listening skills.
The same can be said for typing speed. Some beginners already have a high typing speed, which gives them an edge over how fast they can finish an audio file. Compared to one whose typing speed is slow, the potential earnings of the faster transcription will be higher.
Also, how much you make as a beginner depends on whether you transcribe full-time or part-time. If you choose to work on one audio hour every day for five days at a pay of $15 per hour, that’s $75 per week and $300 per month.
To earn more, you would have to either work more audio hours a day or find a client who pays more than the average $15 per hour.
Free Transcription Mini-Course
If you’re not sure whether transcription is a smart choice for you, be sure to enroll in this FREE mini-course on transcription foundations. It will help you see why transcription is an invaluable skill in today’s digital world and help you get started on the right foot.
Is doing online transcription worth it?
Yes, doing online transcription can be worth it. Besides the money, transcriptionists get to enjoy other perks of the job, including the freedom to choose their working hours and the ability to work remotely.
Additionally, transcription has a low barrier to entry. This means you can start working and earning after just a bit of training.
Research suggests that the US transcription market was valued at $19 billion as of 2019. The market is expected to expand by 6.7% by the year 2027. This shows that there is still a current and future demand for transcription. It is currently, and still will be, worth it to work as a transcriptionist.
How to make good money as a transcriptionist?
Because the money you make as a transcriptionist is directly dependent on how fast and accurately you transcribe, the goal is to keep getting better at it. The faster you grow your skills, the more accurate you become, and the quicker you transcribe.
The faster you transcribe, the more money you make per hour. So the goal is to get better to earn more. Below are a few tips that can help increase your income as a transcriptionist:
Additional Reading: 30 Online Medical Transcription Jobs From Home
1. Educate yourself
Contrary to what most people think, transcribing goes beyond just having a high typing speed. You still need to have a good command of the English language. You’ll also need excellent grammar, punctuation, and spelling; dot your “I’s” and cross your “T’s.”
Also, if you want to pursue legal or medical transcription and have no experience in the field, you must educate yourself on the necessary terms or jargon. Various online courses are available to help teach you the fundamentals of transcription.
2. Never guess
If you’re unsure about what you’re hearing, ask. Never make a guess. Guessing can lead to severe repercussions for a client, especially in the medical field.
For example, you’re transcribing some medical files and come across a word you can’t quite make out. The words afferent and efferent sound the same but mean two different things.
Afferent means towards the center, while efferent means outward from a center. Now imagine the audio file is unclear. You tell yourself it sounds like afferent, and you type that instead of efferent. That can lead to a serious misdiagnosis.
If unsure, ask. And if you cannot ask, leave a blank and let the client know why you’ve left it blank. Chances are, they’ll know the missing word and fill it in themselves.
3. Edit and proofread
Attention to detail is crucial in transcription. Clients often need you to provide a speech-to-text service because they may not be that great with punctuation, grammar, and spelling. So, it’s up to you to be on top of things.
Also, a client needs to present a polished image to any kind of document attached to their name. So, the client relies on you to
Make search engines your friend if you come across words you aren’t sure how to spell. Also, find out whether a client is American or British, as some words are spelled differently.
5. Pay attention to feedback
Transcription companies have editors review your submitted work, after which they provide feedback. Pay attention to any corrections made. This will polish up your work and help earn you top transcriptionist status.
6. Be flexible
If you are an expert in medical transcription, consider also doing general or legal transcription. This increases your scope and expertise. Adapt to changes in the industry.
For instance, speech-to-text technology is in high demand. You can use such technology to increase your transcription accuracy and output.
Additional Reading: 15 Companies & Websites Like Rev To Find Transcription Jobs
Transcription is one of the most popular ways to make money online because of how easy it is to get started. You only need working internet, high-quality headphones, and a keen ear. If you transcribe full-time and depending on your skills and speeds, you can earn an average of $35,250.