The 9-Step Process of Becoming an Online Transcriptionist




become a transcriptionist

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for transcriptionists was $35,390 in 2020, with a projected job growth rate of 3% from 2020 to 2030. In fact, the demand for online transcriptionists is rising, with projected growth at 25% by 2029 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Making money online is not a pipe dream anymore, and transcription is among the best ways of making money from home due to its potential earning and flexibility. But the question is, how can you become an online transcriptionist even if you don’t have any experience? This is exactly what we’ll be discussing here!

To become an online transcriptionist, there are some steps you need to follow, which include developing strong listening skills and attention to detail, grammar knowledge, and accuracy. Taking online courses and certifications from companies like Transcribe Anywhere will also help you build up your career and portfolio, explore job opportunities and land your dream job.

Although transcription as a business model is one of the most straightforward ways of making money online, becoming a transcriptionist can be a bit intimidating, especially if you have zero experience.

Therefore, in this article, we will be discussing together how you can make money online by transforming speech into text along with some crucial tips that can increase your odds of succeeding with this side gig.

So, if you’re considering starting a transcription business, this quick guide could be of great help to you.

Make sure to read this post all the way through as I have a special gift for you, and if you find it inspiring and useful, share it with your friends, please! (Virtual high fives and hugs to all my sharers out there!)

We at eComDimes are on a simple mission; help our readers provide well for their families by starting and growing online businesses. Some of the links in this post may be from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

What is Transcription and Who is a Transcriptionist?

Transcribing, or transcription is the process by which a person converts either live audio or a recording into a document or text format. A transcriptionist, on the other hand, is the person converting the audio file into text format.

Is Being A Transcriptionist Right For Me?

First, to get started as a transcriptionist, you need to make a decision as to whether a career in transcription is the right choice.

You’re the only one who can decide whether or not it’s the right business for you. We are just obliged to help you understand the pros and cons, along with sharing some other business models to help you determine the ultimate side hustle match.

With that being said, I’ve set some questions that can help you decide if it’s the right business for you:

  • Do you own a fast, reliable computer that can store and load large files?
  • Do you have a quiet place where you can work without distractions?
  • Do you accurately type at 45 words per minute (WPM) or more?
  • Is $15 to $35 per hour an acceptable income range for you?
  • Do you have experience using computers and the Internet?
  • Would you say you have a high level of self-discipline?
  • Would you consider yourself a good proofreader?
  • Do you have good grammar/punctuation skills?
  • Do you enjoy making your own work schedule?
  • Do you have experience using Microsoft Word?
  • Do you have a computer with internet access?
  • Are you able to follow written directions?
  • Are you able to meet strict deadlines?
  • Do you keep up with trends?
  • Are you a good listener?

If you check the box for most of them, you are probably a good transcription match.

Companies and businesses are always in need of transcriptionists to transform their focus groups, interviews, or even podcasts into a text format.

There are a lot of ways you can become a transcriptionist. However, it is highly recommended that you begin your career by subcontracting to well-paying transcription companies or even listing your gigs on freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork.

The Requirements To Become A Transcriptionist

Transcription is all about listening to video or audio files and typing what you hear. Companies hiring professional transcriptionists usually need a high-quality foot pedal to control audio playback along with transcription software.

However, a lot of companies hiring newbies require lesser equipment requirements, and therefore, you will only need to have a high-speed internet connection and a computer or a laptop.

Is Being A Transcriber Easy?

The job sounds very easy. However, just like other jobs, what is easy for one individual will not be as easy for another person.

For instance, at times, the files you listen to might be of poor quality, and it will make it hard to understand what is being said. At other times, you could find yourself trying to interpret a dialogue that is unclear, speaking with a thick accent or poor English, or both.

The work is also very repetitive. You will listen to the same audio a few times to ensure that everything has been transcribed perfectly. If you hate repetition, then transcribing might not be your line of work.

However, the work’s flexibility can make up for the fact that it can be repetitive and challenging. Also, managing your schedule translates to planning time off when need be.

Tips To Becoming A Transcriptionist

Here are 9 tips that if you follow, you will increase your odds of succeeding with transcription:

1. Invest in learning

If you are joining as a beginner, it is important to start by learning as much as you can about freelance transcription work. For example, you could be expecting to get a less-paced podcast session but end up finding one that is rushed.

The next step you would most likely take would be, finding if the podcaster was imaginative enough to create a text-only version of the podcast. This way, it would be possible to read the pages at your speed and convenience.

Joining a professional transcribers’ forum will help you to discover a wealth of helpful information and transcription hacks from professionals who earn through transcribing, and this in turn, helps you in building your skillset.

These mentors and forums will give you an online community in which you can vent the frustrations of your journey and celebrate achievements together. A community of real individuals who understand your issues perfectly.

As a newbie in the field of transcription, it would also be very helpful to take online courses. There are numerous online courses that will be helpful in understanding more about transcribing.

We have searched the internet for the best transcription resources and as a result of our research, we’ve found that Transcribe Anywhere is the best company that provides all-inclusive education and lifetime support, to help you build a career in transcription!

These courses will take you through the journey from being a newbie transcriptionist to a confident transcriber possessing the skills that are needed by transcription companies.

Want to learn more but can’t commit to a paid course? Transcribe Anywhere also offers free mini-courses in general transcription and legal transcription to see if either field is right for you.

2. Increase your typing speed

If you can type about 40 WPM (words per minute) on the keyboard, it is a good start. Ideally, about 60 WPM will help you in delivering transcripts quickly and therefore make your clients happy.

Happy clients will give great reviews and recommendations, and therefore getting more work that will help in catapulting your career as a transcriber.

If your typing speed is below 40 WPM, you will need to practice and increase your speed. A lot of audio and video files take between three to five hours to transcribe.

And the faster and more accurately you transcribe, the more income you will earn from your transcription career and it is, therefore, important to be fast.

3. Grammar matters

If you want to earn through transcribing, you need to check your grammar. It will come in handy when you want to distinguish similar-sounding expressions and words (homophones) that have varying meanings.

This is one of the most valuable pieces of advice a newbie can get, striving to polish your grammar and written communication skills.

Proofreading skills apply once you are done with your typing marathons. Expert transcribers learn the ins and outs of grammar and usage. For me, Grammarly is a great tool that I can’t imagine my life without! It’s literally a little superpower.

Grammarly is a technology company that develops a digital writing tool using artificial intelligence and natural language processing. You can download its Chrome extension for FREE, and delight yourself with such an amazing tool!

4. Listening skills are vital for transcription work

Your typing intent is fuelled by listening devotedly. You will need to practice keen listening to hear and understand what you are required to transcribe.

You will be transcribing different audios in your transcribing career, and they will range from one-speaker sermons, to focus group interviews where you will be required to differentiate who is who. You could also receive audio with a bit of background noise.

5. You might need the help of a transcription software

When you are getting started, you could want to use free transcribing software. You can choose whether to invest in paid software tools after being positive that a freelance transcription career is a job you would want to pursue long-term.

This software can help you in setting hotkeys on your keyboard, slow, speed, stop, pause, back-track, or forward the audio to your convenience.

6. Prep up for a wholesome venture

Being a transcriber will help you to get numerous exciting projects to collaborate on. You will get to team up with numerous great clients in different fields.

From religious and philosophic sermons and internet marketers to recorded interviews of great people, you will want to keep an open mind for what is awaiting you ahead.

Working as a transcriber is a richer career in regards to learning various subjects and perspectives of thinking every day. If you have a desire in the above, you will find transcription fulfilling, therefore, be open-minded.

7. Look for the kind of transcription needed by the client

There are various clients that will require the final transcripts that you will submit to be edited for filler words, including ‘mhs’ and ‘uhs’ and false starts, for instance. This is called clean verbatim transcription.

There are other clients that will request for the audio to be typed word for word – like job interviews where the interviewer would like to hear each word that the interviewee used and the expression of the interviewee unedited. This is called full verbatim transcription.

Therefore, make sure that you ask your client the kind of transcript they require before you start working on it.

8. Is it general, medical, or legal transcription?

There are other types of transcripts, although from a different perspective. General transcription, for example, is about typing out video or audio files covering all types of topics and industries, for example, entertainment, businesses, self-development, and others.

Medical and legal transcription, on the other hand, encompasses the process of converting audio and video files to written form, with the added knowledge of medical and legal terminology.

9. Where to get transcription work online

This is of course, without a doubt, the question of a person wishing to become a transcriptionist, the question about where you can get online transcription jobs.

After you have followed the above tips, it is now the time to relish the rewards. You will need a good clientele to make sure that you scale your potential earning.

There are various transcription freelancing sites where you can legitimate transcription careers, some of which include Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour.

There are also numerous clients that search for virtual assistants to help with transcription work, and therefore, you need to keep an eye out for virtual assistant jobs too.

The cool thing about Transcribe Anywhere is that it doesn’t only teach you the basics of transcription, but it helps you build up your career and land your dream job as quickly as possible.

How Much Does Transcription Pay?

The payment for transcription varies, with general transcription paying better than most work-at-home jobs. You can make up to $25 per hour or more, and the ones specializing in legal can earn even higher wages per hour.

Generally, the amount of money you will make as a transcriptionist per hour will depend on the company you are working for, the work available, and your skill and speed level.

If you are being paid $50 per audio hour, it means that you earn $50 for every hour of audio transcribed.


Transcribing is among the great ways of making money from home based on its pay and flexibility. Basically, the work of a transcriptionist is listening to audio files and recording (typing) what they hear.

Like anything in life, in order to master it, you need to learn it first, and here’s where the Transcribe Anywhere company comes in.

In this article, we’ve discussed exactly how you can become a transcriptionist and reap the rewards of being your own boss.

Transcription is a lucrative business opportunity that you can do anywhere and anytime and it will allow you to make up to $20 per hour. But, what if you could start a transcription business without transcribing or converting any audio files?

In a recent article I published, I discussed 6 different approaches for starting a transcription business. I highly recommend you check it out.

Looking To Start Your Online Business But Are Not Sure Where To Start?

Transcription is great and can allow you to drive extra money into your pocket, but what if you could join a multimillionaire’s 8-figure ecosystem, have him teach you everything step by step, and make money when he makes money?

Sounds crazy right? Click here to attend the free training and reserve your seat in the program for as low as $7. (These numbers you will never achieve with transcribing online)

Thanks for going this far and reading my article all the way through! If you found this post inspiring and useful, share it with your friends, please! (Virtual high fives and hugs to all my sharers out there!)

Odeh Ahwal

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So behind every great blog is usually someone who runs it all. That would be me, Odeh Ahwal. I’ve created the eComDimes blog with a mission to help people provide well for their families by starting online businesses, share my experience, and just introduce you to different ways of making money online! At eComDimes, we help you turn your dimes into dollars!

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