Transcription work from home – where to find it, how to get it, payment rates, skills and technical requirements.
Some of the first types of work many people consider when they’re thinking of home based opportunities are typing and data entry. Top of the list, especially if you’ve got good audio and copy typing skills may well be transcription work from home.
I’ve recently started compiling a list of transcription companies with work in the UK.
To go with it, here are some general pointers if you’re thinking of applying for freelance transcription work:
Transcription Pay rates:
- Payment is by the audio minute or by the project/batch, not per minute of your time. So hourly pay rates will work out better the more work you can get through within the time.
- Typically you can earn around 40p – 80p per audio minute. Depending on how fast and accurate you are that would equate to around £6 – £16 per hour of your time.
- Most people will find themselves towards the lower end of the pay rates, especially when you take into account breaks.
- Pay rates will be higher the more difficult the job, the more exacting the standards and the faster the work is required.
- The more difficult, higher paid work will be, for instance, recordings of group discussions, content with lots of tricky technical terms, projects requiring specialist knowledge (eg medical), files with very poor audio quality, or jobs with very tight deadlines.
- All in all, to get to the top pay rates you’d need to be very fast, very accurate, able to concentrate for long periods, and able to work on the most difficult jobs!
Applying for Transcription Work:
- If you want to work for a transcription agency, you will be employed on a freelance basis.
- Most agencies specify a minimum number of hours or shifts you must be available to work per week – typically 20 hours minimum.
- All agencies require you to take tests before you can start working with them. These will be tests of typing speed and accuracy, grammar and spelling. There may be further tests depending on the nature of the work.
- In addition you’ll need to submit either a CV or an application form detailing your experience.
- If you complete the tests successfully, you will then need to complete the company’s internal training processes within their specified time constraints. Training tends to include some paid sample work.
- Many also have a probationary or trial period when you’ll be on lower rates until they are satisfied with the standard of your work. You’ll be given support and training by their supervisors to help you achieve their requirements.
Skills and Technical Requirements:
- Of course you’ll need excellent English grammar and spelling standards
- You will also need fast accurate copy and audio typing skills. Touch typing will certainly help.
- You’ll need a good computer, a fast reliable broadband connection and some decent headphones or earphones (preferably noise cancelling).
- Some require particular software on your computer, such as MS Office, or good virus checkers.
- Most provide their own transcription software package for you to install.
Working for Transcription Agencies:
- In all cases it will take you a while to get going with the company. You’ll need to learn their systems and requirements and build up your track record to gain access to the best work.
- The work will be allocated to you online. Some companies allow you to pick your own from the work available.
- There will always be a strict deadline for completion.
- The quality standards for a job will be set out and must be adhered to. You will generally receive good training to be sure you understand the exact requirements of different clients.
- Your work will be checked and you will be paid only after successful completion of the work.
- Payments are often on a monthly basis and tend to be direct to your bank or to your Paypal account.
- Some companies require you to invoice them, others pay automatically for your completed work.
Where to get UK Transcription
My listing of UK Transcription Agencies with freelance work
Try out Transcription Work
- sample audio files – try audio typing with different accents and levels of difficulty
- Sample transcription guidelines – have a look at the sort of rules you’ll need to follow
- free transcription software – download some software and try it out
- practice audio typing test – one company’s recruitment test
- practice copy typing test – another recruitment test
- copy typing speed test – see how many wpm you can reach