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Freelance Transcription | How to Get Started

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Interested in becoming one of the many people around the world earning money as freelance transcriptionists? Read on!

There is a lot of talk on the internet about the field of transcription, and with good reason. Transcription is an excellent freelance job and a great fit for a lot of people.

Many transcriptionists are freelancers, and many are employees of companies. Some transcriptionists work full time, either for a company or for themselves, while others do transcription work part time.

When spoken words need to be put into writing, it is usually because the words are very important. Not just anyone can be trusted to transform these important words into written text. This is why the field of professional transcription exists.

Here is some quick info to get you started as a freelance transcriptionist.

Get started with freelance transcription

Transcriptionist Meaning

Transcriptionists are freelancers or employees who listen to various types of audio or video recordings, usually through headphones, while simultaneously typing up the words spoken into text documents, either digital or print.

What exactly do freelance transcriptionists transcribe?

There are a few main types of transcription in the world.

General transcription – general transcription is the typing up of the spoken word into written documents on any subject except for legal and medical matters. General transcription includes academia, interviews, business, finance and much more.

Legal transcriptionlegal transcription is the typing up of words spoken by judges, lawyers, paralegals and other legal professionals into written documents. Legal transcription does not include typing up legal matters recorded by a court reporter on a steno machine.

Medical transcription – medical transcription is the typing up of words spoken by doctors, nurses and other medical professionals into written documents.

In the United States medical transcription is being outsourced to countries in the developing world now. If you live in the U.S. you probably will not be able to find medical transcription work.

How much do freelance transcriptionists make?

Transcriptionists are frequently paid by the audio hour. It can take up to four real hours to transcribe one hour of audio. Here are the average real hourly rates for transcriptionists in six different countries, according to PayScale.

The United States – 15.09 U.S. dollars per hour

Australia – 24.96 Australian dollars per hour

India – 198.32 Rupees per hour

The United Kingdom – 9.36 British pounds per hour

Canada – 18.35 Canadian dollars per hour

The Philippines – 250 Philippine pesos per hour

According to Transcribe Anywhere, “the average median annual income for a general transcriptionist is currently $45,000. Legal transcriptionists can earn around $60,000.”

What qualities should freelance transcriptionists possess?

Certain innate qualities are a big help when you work as a transcriptionist. In order to succeed as a transcriptionist, it is very good if you have:

  • native or completely fluent language skills in the language being transcribed
  • good hearing
  • patience
  • the ability to sit for long periods of time

What skills do successful freelance transcriptionists need?

No matter who you are, you can learn how to earn money as a transcriptionist. A successful transcriptionist will have good:

  • knowledge of how to produce transcripts
  • typing skills
  • punctuation skills
  • spelling skills

Transcriptionists also need:

Some transcriptionists also use:

  • a foot pedal
  • transcription software

How can I get transcription training?

There are many transcription courses on the internet. If you’re serious about earning money as a transcriptionist – either full time or as a side hustle – you should be serious about getting the right training first.

The right training can set you on the path to have as much transcription work as you want or need.

You can find transcription training videos on Udemy as well as SkillShare.

For in-depth, professional transcription training, the best and most popular course by far is Transcribe AnywhereWith Transcribe Anywhere you’ll get comprehensive transcription training in general transcription training and/or legal transcription training.

How can I find freelance transcriptionists jobs?

Working for private clients – whether they are corporations, small businesses or individuals – is usually higher paying than working for one of the many transcription services out there.

Transcription services include:

  • Go Transcript
  • Rev
  • Transcribe Me

If you take the Transcribe Anywhere transcription training course, you will receive lots of information about exactly how to find your own clients.

Another option is looking for private clients on job search sites such as:

  • Upwork
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • LinkedIn Jobs

You can also create a profile on these sites and let clients find you.

For more information:

Get the free ebook – The Truth about Transcription by Janet Shaughnessy, the creator of and instructor at Transcribe Anywhere here

Read about how you can become a transcriptionist with the Transcribe Anywhere transcriptionist training program.

Read important information about earning money as a legal transcriptionist


Sabina Lohr

Sabina Lohr is a lifelong freelancer turned entrepreneur who created World of Freelancers to help others discover how to work for themselves online and live the freelance lifestyle. She’s always really enjoyed the freedom that freelancing brings, including several years on and off of working online while traveling and living abroad.

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