Be to check our list of the best transcription jobs to see how this opportunity stacks up compared to the others.
Transcription jobs lend themselves extremely well to online, remote working. Many transcription specialists are opting to use online platforms to find work and benefit from the freedom that comes along with remote working. Even if you don’t have prior experience in transcription typing, you might be considering this line of work as a side hustle or a way out of your standard nine to five office job.
Although platforms like SpeakWrite 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.
SpeakWrite Review: About the Company
SpeakWrite is an online platform, connecting businesses or clients with skilled transcription specialists. As a Transcriptionist, you can use SpeakWrite to find jobs that work for you and fit around your lifestyle.
SpeakWrite is based in Texas and was founded in 1997 by Richard Jackson, a commercial litigator looking to alleviate the stress on his company’s workforce and outsource their transcription work to external contractors. SpeakWrite is one of the longest-serving platforms of this kind, and currently, they have over 60,000 partnered clients including the FBI, American Bar Association, and the California Police.
Before moving into all the details and the pros and cons of working as a transcriptionist through SpeakWrite, it’s clear that this is a legitimate company offering legitimate money-making opportunities. SpeakWrite’s openness with regards to their location, client base, and other basic information shows them to be a real company and not a scam – which should be a primary concern when it comes to any online earning opportunities.
However, whether or not SpeakWrite offers the best rates of pay, earning opportunities and support is up for debate.
To gauge whether SpeakWrite is a good option when it comes to online freelance transcription work, let’s consider the ins and outs of the site as a whole.
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Opportunities Available Through SpeakWrite
Transcription specialists working through SpeakWrite can choose from three different types of transcription jobs: legal transcription, general transcription, and bilingual transcription.
Legal transcription jobs can cover court documents, police reports and other sensitive information or materials. Because of this, the requirements and background checks are more rigorous for these types of jobs.
General Transcription covers all other documents such as meetings, speeches, podcasts, and more. This is an excellent option for beginners or those with less experience.
Bilingual transcription specialists might be required to simply transcribe an audio file in a language other than English, or they might be asked to translate and transcribe the document.
Freelance transcriptionists working with SpeakWrite can log on to the site each week and set their availability, essentially building their own schedule. This means you’re free to earn as much as you like based on your own lifestyle and needs.
For those looking into remote work as a more flexible alternative to the standard 9-5, SpeakWrite could be a great option. As a SpeakWrite transcriptionist, you’re free to work whenever and wherever you like.
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This is where the process of becoming a transcriptionist with SpeakWrite becomes a little more complex. In comparison to other sites offering similar working opportunities, the requirements of SpeakWrite transcriptionists are generally higher and more demanding.
Starting with the basic credentials required of all SpeakWrite applicants, you will need to pass a typing test with a score higher than 90% and a minimum typing speed of 60 words per minute. This is because SpeakWrite prides themselves on their extremely fast turnaround of documents. They state that most documents will be returned to the client within three hours of submission – regardless of the time of day they are sent in.
Applicants must also legally reside in either the US or Canada, but SpeakWrite isn’t currently able to accept applications from California residents based on California Law AB-5, popularly known as the ‘gig-worker bill’. The law requires employers to reclassify independent contractors as employees, affording them benefits such as minimum rates of pay, holiday, and sick pay.
Fluency in English is also required and an excellent understanding of correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. As well as this, applicants should be well versed in the use of Microsoft Word.
For legal transcriptionists, at least one year of experience working within a law firm in the last five years is needed, and for general applicants one year working in any office environment. Background checks will also be carried out before you are accepted for this kind of work.
In terms of equipment, you will need access to a Windows-based PC, an up to date version of Microsoft work (2007 or newer), a stable internet connection, Windows Media Player, Adobe Acrobat Reader, earphones to listen to the recordings, and a foot pedal for efficient playback of audio files. Foot Pedals can be pricey, so SpeakWrite advises that you order one after your application has been deemed successful.
How Much Does SpeakWrite Pay?
The pay rates that SpeakWrite transcriptionists earn are not great, and this is reflected in many of the reviews from those who have worked through SpeakWrite. Typists are typically paid $0.005 per word, although some jobs do come with bonuses.
SpeakWrite states that the average typist earns around $450 per week, although they don’t specify how many hours of work this figure is based on.
On average, it’s estimated that one minute of audio will take roughly four minutes to transcribe and the average person speaks at around 125 words per minute. So judging by these statistics, 15 minutes of audio might take you one hour to transcribe, and consist of 1875 words, earning you around $9-$10 for an hour’s work.
Of course, anyone with any level of transcription experience will know that there are many factors that can heavily influence the efficiency at which you are able to work. Bad audio quality can be detrimental to your progress, as well as contending with fast or unclear speakers, multiple speakers talking at one time, and a host of other variable factors. This makes it extremely difficult to estimate how much you are actually likely to earn using SpeakWrite.
Other things to consider with this kind of work are the lack of employee benefits. Because you are an external contractor and not a company employee, SpeakWrite is not required to provide any benefits such as minimum hourly pay, holiday pay, or sick pay. However, this does also mean that you have the flexibility and freedom to work whenever you like without restrictions.
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SpeakWrite Pros & Cons
After considering the basics, let’s look at the pros and cons of working as a transcription typist through SpeakWrite:
1. Freedom and Flexibility
Remote transcription work offers complete freedom to contractors. You are able to set your own hours of availability, giving you full control over your schedule. This also means it’s a great option for those looking for a side-hustle or second stream of income, as it can be tailored to fit your lifestyle and commitments.
2. Almost Unlimited Jobs and Clients Available
With over 60,000 clients currently using the site, SpeakWrite claims to offer over one million jobs to transcription specialists each year. If you have a good level of skill and experience in this field, there is no reason that you can’t earn a substantial amount using SpeakWrite.
3. Legitimate Company with Good Contractor Support Available
With over twenty years of operations under their belt, SpeakWrite is an established and legitimate online work platform. They’re open about how they operate and the opportunities available to freelancers.
1. Pay Can Be Inconsistent
Transcription is an unpredictable job. So many factors can mean that the work can vary greatly from one job to another. Audio quality, speakers, and interruptions can all hugely impact the speed and efficiency at which you are able to complete the job. This directly affects the amount you are able to earn. If a job that should take one hour ends up taking four, that’s eaten into a large portion of your work hours and could significantly reduce your earnings for the week.
2. Lots of Requirements
SpeakWrite asks a lot of their applicants. This is because of the high demands placed on them once they are accepted as a contractor. SpeakWrite promises clients extremely quick turn-around times on jobs, so highly skilled and experienced contractors are needed to ensure that these are fulfilled. This also means that SpeakWrite is not necessarily the best option for beginners or those without previous experience.
3. Only Available to US or Canada Residents
The platform is restricted to those living within the US or Canada, which limits the number of typists who are able to benefit from using this platform, although it does also mean less global competition from other contractors.
4. Not Available to Mac Users
Again, the user-base is limited as SpeakWrite requires contractors to use a Windows Based PC. This is to ensure that the contractor’s software is compatible with that used by SpeakWrite and their clients, but rules out a large portion of the demographic.
All in all, this SpeakWrite review shows that the company is a good option if you’re an experienced transcription specialist looking for remote work. It might not be the best choice if you are new to the profession and don’t have a solid foundation of skills and experience.
The pay rates are not great, but they are fairly standard when it comes to online transcription jobs. In order to make a substantial amount, you will need to be able to work extremely efficiently and with high levels of accuracy.
SpeakWrite is a large platform with a huge client base, so working on this platform is likely to afford you a high number of jobs consistently. Whether or not this is the best option for you really depends on your level of experience, your location, and the equipment you already have available to you.
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