I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for ways to increase my savings. Sometimes that means cutting back on spending, but the easiest way to increase your savings is to bring in more money. Side gigs are all the rage right now, and did you know that one of your options is to get paid to type what you hear? That's right, transcription is incredibly important, and here are some ways you can get started.
How Does Transcription Work?
A transcriber listens to an audio recording and types out the words being said. Seems simple, right? Generally speaking, it is, though it still is quite a bit of work. You need to be able to type fast, and you'll likely have to pause, rewind, and re-listen to be sure you've gotten the words correct. You also need to have a good sense of grammar and punctuation to be able to create something that can be read by others. Though it might sound like the person is just speaking in a single run-on sentence, you'll need to be able to break that into reasonable pieces.
You'll also want to re-listen and read along to make sure that you've correctly transcribed the audio file. While it's not a complicated process, it can be time-consuming and does require a bit of skill. Here, though, as with many jobs, the more you do it, the better you'll get.
What Do You Need to Get Paid to Type What You Hear?
First off, you’ll need a computer. You can’t transcribe on typewriters anymore. You’ll want a good set of headphones, and a decent keyboard to type on, check out Kinetic Labs or a company that offers good quality products. You don’t need to have something super fancy, but you want something that’s going to make it easier for you to clearly hear the words spoken, and you want a keyboard that is strong enough to cope with you using it a lot. You will likely want some sort of transcription software. These let you play all sorts of files along with timestamps, which you may need in your transcription work. You may also want a foot pedal. These are little pedals that you connect to your computer that allow you to pause and play your audio with a tap of your foot. It’s much easier to use your foot to quickly pause than to move your hand to hit a key or use your mouse. It may seem unnecessary, but it will prevent you from having to rewind after missing words. Remember, people can speak fairly quickly.
Work Remotely for a Transcription Service
Traditional transcription jobs are one way you can get paid to type what you hear. These jobs have been around for years. I remember as a kid seeing advertisements for medical transcriber jobs. I didn't know what that meant, but these jobs are still around. Medical transcribers take the audio notes from doctors and other medical providers and type them out for the patient's records. Back in the day, providers had to use handheld tape recorders, but now these recordings can be easily made digitally - which makes it easier to get them into the transcriber's hands. The transcriber listens to the recording and types out what was said. They may also enter these into the proper format needed by the doctor's office. There are also legal transcriber jobs. Unlike a court reporter, who transcribes live during a trial, hearing, or other meetings, a legal transcriber may transcribe meeting notes and other dictated documents.
Both medical and legal transcriber jobs often require some special skills. You have to have an idea of what the person is talking about to be able to write down the words properly. Luckily, there are a number of online transcription courses and certifications that you can work towards, which will make you more employable. You can also use Kinetic Labs for keyboard tutorials.
Pick Up Occasional Transcription Jobs
One way to find out if you really enjoy transcribing and if it's worth it to you to get paid to type what you hear is to look at some of the gig-style transcription jobs out there.
A site I often see recommended is Amazon Mechanical Turk, or mTurk. These jobs start out fairly low paying, but it's an easy way to try out transcribing to see if it's something you enjoy. A lot of these jobs are also very short, so you can stack up a bit of cash pretty quickly. Other sites that are good for beginners are Scribie and TranscribeMe. With all of these sites, you have the ability to move up in the ranks with quality work, which may open you up to higher-paying jobs. Once you've got some skills under your belt, check out Rev, which is one of the more advanced services that pay better rates, but has much higher standards for its transcribers.
How Much Can You Make?
Transcription jobs often pay by the "audio hour," meaning that you're not getting paid for the time you work, but for the length of the audio. A job that pays $25 per audio hour might sound like a great gig, but that single hour could take you three or more hours to transcribe properly. The more experienced you are, the higher rate you will be able to charge, but it is definitely something to consider when you're looking into transcribing.
That said, if you're looking to make some additional cash, consider taking on occasional transcription jobs. You might find it's something you enjoy working on, and every little bit counts.