How Much You Can Make As A Transcriptionist In 2021?

Transcription has become a go-to career for many people who enjoy the freedom and liberty of working from home. The number of online transcription companies has also really grown over the past 10 years, and that is proof that there is a market for this service. From beginners to intermediate, to experts and pros there is some work for everyone in transcription, which begs the question, “How much money can one make from transcription?”

One flat out answer I can give you is that there is money in the transcription career, though what I can’t answer flat out is how much money you can make working as a transcriber. This is because transcription payments really depend on a couple of factors which we will be looking at in this article.

There is this misconception that transcription is a simple job that pays loads of money. Depending on who you ask, transcription can be easy, somewhat easy, or extremely hard. This is also something that depends on a couple of factors which you will come across in this article.

So, if you are that person who’s been contemplating on whether to get into the transcription career, whether it pays well or whether you can live comfortably working as a transcriber, by the end of this article you will definitely be able to decide.

So how much does transcription pay?

This is not an answer that is cast in stone and cuts across all transcription companies. One thing you need to know is that different companies pay differently across the board. As a beginner transcriber, you can earn anywhere from $4 to $10 an hour. As a transcriber who has some sort of experience, you can earn from $18 an hour to over $20 an hour. The payment you get as a transcriber firstly depends on which company you work for and how much they pay for transcribing an audio minute.

With this you need to factor in how long it takes one to transcribe an audio minute and accurately at that. The same way different companies have different compensation plans for their employees, is the same way transcription companies will have different pay rates for transcribing an audio minute.

All companies pay a penny to a dollar on an audio minute and transcribing an audio minute doesn’t take a real-time minute. It can take up to 5 real-time minutes or more, to transcribe an audio minute in transcription.

A good example would be, if a company pays 20 cents per audio minute and you get a job that is 40 minutes, you will basically earn $8 for that particular job.

You might think, “Well I will finish the 40 minutes audio and get another one or even 3 more audios to work on in order to make money,” but that will be quite impossible because working on that 40 minutes audio might take you close to a whole day for you to finish. If you are great at typing and your speed and accuracy is exemplary and the quality of the audio is great, then it might take you less time.

By now I know you are wondering, what is this audio minute that keeps on popping up. We will get into that shortly.

What is an audio minute?

An audio minute is exactly how it sounds. It is a minute of recorded audio. When you get audio, if it has 10 minutes, then that audio is 10-minute audio. Feels like I confused you further. An audio minute is basically a minute of someone talking on audio. When rounded up to an hour, it becomes an hour of people talking in audio. Transcription companies pay you for each transcribed audio minute or audio hour.  And, to be brutally honest, it can take several minutes to work a one-minute audio file. This brings us to this…

What Is A Working Minute?

A working minute is one minute of actually listening to an audio file and transcribing it.  A working hour is an hour of doing that same work. There are several factors that determine the difference between an audio minute and a working minute, some are:

Factors That Distinguish An Audio Minute To A Working Minute

  1. The sound quality of the file– Sound quality can affect how long you take to work on an audio minute up to an audio hour. If the quality of the audio you are working on is bad, then it will take you longer trying to discern what exactly is being said in order for you to transcribe it. In such cases, the payment is usually higher.
  2. Accent and dialect of the speaker– You won’t always be lucky enough to work on audio files that have great accents and dialects. When you meet audio that has very deep accents, it will definitely take you longer to transcribe that audio, which is why such files usually have a slightly higher pay rate per audio minute. Not all the times though.
  3. Not understanding words– when you don’t understand the words used, or the jargon is somewhat very complicated, you will end up taking so much time working on audio minute than you would work on audio with words you actually understand.
  4. Not being able to play back the file– There are companies who have a terrible work platform whose interface does not work well. If you find it difficult to playback or forward the sound then, it will take you more time than necessary to work on an audio minute.
  5. Proofreading your transcription– There are people who prefer to work on their transcripts and then proofread after, and there are those who proofread as they go. The latter definitely takes more time than the former and might definitely affect how long you take to work on a file.

All these things influence the time you take to transcribe an audio file. So, it is important to preview the audio before you decide to work on it. This will save you a lot of time that you might waste if you come across these factors.

How long does it take to transcribe an hour audio file?

This really depends on which level of expertise you are at as a transcriber. It goes without saying that a beginner transcriber will take more time to transcribe an audio file compared to how long an expert transcriber will take. For an expert or what we like to call an experienced transcriber, it will take 4 to 5 hours to transcribe an audio file while for a beginner it can take up to 7 hours to transcribe the same file. You need to note that for experienced transcribers who have been doing transcription for a while, it can take:

  • 1 hour to complete 15 audio minutes
  • 2 hours for 30 audio minutes
  • 3 hours for 45 audio minutes
  • 4 hours for 1 audio hour

For inexperienced transcribers, it takes slightly more time to work on the same number of minutes on an audio. It can take:

  • 1.5 hour to complete 15 audio minutes
  • 3 hours for 30 audio minutes
  • 4.5 hours for 45 audio minutes
  • 6 hours for 1 audio hour.

With that said, we will finally look at how much transcribers make as beginners and experienced.

An experienced transcriber can expect to make $7.50 an hour to over $20.00 an hour, while a beginner transcriber would make $3.50 to $11 an hour depending on If you work for an online company that produces a lot of transcriptions or if you freelance, charging rates you think you’re worth. So, it really depends on what you charge as a freelance transcriber and how much the company you work for charges.

In order to cash in and cash in good money while working as a transcriber, these are the things you should do.

  • Work for a company that pays much over 50 cents an audio minute
  • Do independent transcription work for businesses and blogger’s

This way you can control the amount of money you make.

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