Be to check our list of the best transcription jobs to see how this opportunity stacks up compared to the others.
Transcription work is a great option for those looking into remote work that can be tailored to fit in with your lifestyle and commitments. Whether you’re looking for a full-time career or a side-hustle to boost your earnings, transcription could provide this for you.
In this CastingWords Review, we will look specifically at this popular platform, a long-standing platform through which freelancers can connect with potential clients and earn money for their transcription services.
Although platforms like CastingWords do offer online transcription work, you can make significantly more money by working as a freelancer. Take the 7-lesson Free Mini-Course from Transcribe Anywhere to learn how to maximize your income.
CastingWords was founded in New Mexico by Rachel Pearson and Nathan McFarland in 2005. Pearson and McFarland founded the company with the intention of providing freelancers with the opportunity to connect with prospective clients or companies and earn money for their transcription services.
Since the inception of CastingWords, the company has experienced significant growth. They now employ freelancers from all over the globe, offering transcription services to clients in a multitude of languages. As well as this, they also provide proofreading and editing services.
With 15 years of experience in the industry, applicants can rest assured that CastingWords is a legitimate online platform through which remote workers can find jobs and earn money. With features in the New York Times, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal, CastingWords has established itself as a leader within the industry.
Working as a CastingWords transcriptionist, freelancers can set their own working schedule and take on the jobs that suit them. They are also free to work from anywhere in the world, making this a great option for those who travel a lot but still want to maintain a stream of income.
Transcriptionists earn badges based on the number of jobs they have completed successfully. Some jobs require higher badge levels, and these tend to be higher paid and more complex or difficult. Feedback is also provided on all jobs, which is fairly unique with this kind of work and means typists can learn from their experiences, making it easier to earn higher badges.
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Gaining higher badges will also mean there are a higher number of jobs available to you. It’s also important to note that failure to complete jobs successfully or on time will result in you sliding back down to a lower badge level, so it’s important to only take on jobs that you know you can complete.
The CastingWords Workshop acts as the freelancer’s dashboard. This is where any active or previous jobs will be listed along with your earnings and the jobs available to you.
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When applying for CastingWords, you will need to be at least 18 years of age. You can create an account on the CastingWords website and then complete a short transcription test. If you pass, you will be accepted as a CastingWords freelancer and can begin looking for suitable jobs.
Alternatively, CastingWords also hire freelancers via UpWork. So if you already have an UpWork profile, you could search the platform for CastingWords jobs and apply there. Previous experience is not listed as a requirement.
You will also need an active PayPal account, as this is how CastingWords pay their freelancers. If you don’t already have one, they’re quick and easy to set up using an email address and current bank account.
In terms of equipment, CastingWords don’t ask that you download any specific software or invest in any specialist equipment. You might want to look into buying a foot pedal and headset to aid the efficiency at which you can complete jobs, but these aren’t necessarily essential. You will need access to a computer and a good internet connection.
How Much Does CastingWords Pay?
The base rate of pay for transcription jobs with CastingWords is 8.5 cents per audio minute. Pay increases if the work is graded highly, this works as a kind of bonus system. For example, if the work is graded 5, you will receive the base amount, if it’s graded 6, you will get 1.5 times the base amount. Nine is the highest grade available and offers three times the base pay rate.
This means you could earn anywhere from 8.5 cents to a little over $1 per audio minute. This translates on average to between $1.70 and $20 per hour worked. This is obviously a pretty significant pay gap. Those on the base pay rate could be working at well below minimum wage.
The grading system makes it difficult to gauge exactly how much you will earn for a specific job, as you don’t know what grade you will achieve until after the job is completed. This can make the process a little frustrating and means that your level of earnings is never guaranteed.
However, the grade you earn isn’t the only factor that can increase your pay. It’s also dependent on the specific job and the badge level you have reached. So as long as you consistently complete jobs to a good standard, it’s unlikely that you will ever earn the base rate (although it’s not impossible).
It’s also worth noting that if a job is rejected by the client, you won’t be paid at all. Jobs can be rejected for various reasons such as low levels of accuracy, incorrect formatting, or missing a deadline.
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CastingWords Pros and Cons
Let’s consider the pros and cons of working as a transcriptionist for CastingWords.
1. Straightforward Application Process
The application process with CastingWords is easy and quick. Whether you choose to apply directly through the website or with UpWork, once you’ve signed up and successfully completed the quick skills test, you’re good to go.
2. Badge System Rewards Those With Proven Experience
If you’re an experienced typist, it should be fairly easy to move up the rankings and earn a high badge level. Once you reach the top levels, more jobs and better earnings will be available to you.
3. Potential to Earn a Decent Amount
The highest paying jobs offer excellent rates of pay. $20 per hour is well above minimum wage and is much higher than the rates offered by many competing online transcription platforms.
1. Pay is Not Guaranteed and Varies Greatly
On the other hand, rates of pay are not guaranteed with CastingWords. The grade awarded by the client determines the amount you will ultimately receive, so you don’t actually know exactly how much you will earn prior to completing the job. The base rate of pay is also extremely low.
2. Fewer Jobs Available to Beginners
The badge system means that this might not be the best choice for those just starting out with transcription. With lots of competition from fellow typists, it can be difficult to secure jobs at this level. Inexperience may also lead to mistakes or lack of efficiency, which can result in jobs being rejected and badges being lost, making it even harder to increase your ranking.
3. Jobs Can Be Rejected and Will Result in Loss of Earnings
Completing a job only to have it rejected is extremely disheartening and can result in significant time wasted. Many sites offer a basic rate of pay that is paid to freelancers regardless of the outcome of the job. This acts as a level of security for clients who require a high-quality service but leaves the freelancer in an even more precarious position given the number of reasons that a client might cite for rejecting the work.
CastingWords is a legitimate earning platform for freelance transcription specialists.
It offers the potential to earn a respectable amount, but also the risk of earning very little or even nothing if jobs are rejected or graded poorly. This provides little security for the freelancer and means that this platform probably isn’t the most suitable for those without any previous transcription experience.
As you’ve seen in this CastingWords review, the pay system and the site in general are a little over-complicated. Overall, there are definitely other sites available offering more comprehensive services with more security for the contractor.
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