Complete guide to home based Transcription Jobs in the UK

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Looking to start working from home? Before we jump into home based transcription jobs, here’s a few other posts you might like to come back to later:

Onto home based transcription jobs….

Transcription jobs in the UK have been popular for a longtime. The rise of technology, in the form of home computers and smart phones means that transcription work that could once only be done in an office, can now be done from anywhere in the world.

Freelance transcription work has become one of the most well known ways to make money from home.

This work fits in with a family, as a second job or even simply as a go to when you need a little more cash. It’s well paid once you get some experience, and can provide regular work.

I thought it would be super helpful to create an all in one guide to steer you through starting out in transcribing, and I’ll go through the different types of transcription jobs available so you can decide which might be best for you.

So let’s dive in a bit deeper and see what you need and how you can get started with this brilliant work from home side job.

What is transcription?

In it’s most simple form, a transcribist takes a recording and turns it into a written text.

Why would you need to do this? Some reasons include:

  • Court recordings that need to be turned into text
  • An spoken interview that needs to be written up as an article
  • Podcasts, also needed in text form
  • Writing up medical notes
  • Writing up legal notes for law firms

There are loads of reasons why people need audio turned into text: mostly to do with keeping a written long term record of the audio file.

As an audio transcriptionist, you’ll be given an audio recording. It’s then your job to listen to it and start to transcribe it to text. It really is as simple as that. However…’re going to need some skills before it becomes ‘quite’ that easy!

What sorts of transcription jobs are there?

Although basic transcription is simply turning audio into text, there are several different types of transcription work you might be able to do. Finding the right one for you is important since the pay can vary considerably and like most things, the more advanced skill set you have, the higher your pay will be.

Read through the following post for a guide to the most common types of transcription jobs in the UK.

General Transcription

General transcription jobs cover all the non-skilled work. There is actually a lot of this sort of work about and although it’s not hugely well paid, it beats the usual ‘taking survey’s’ route of making money at home, and online.

You likely don’t need me to tell you that while there is a lot of this type of work about, you’re NOT going to get rich doing it. Picking and choosing the better jobs is the only way to go about this, otherwise you’re in danger of spending many hours working for very little reward.

Then there’s the scammers… entry jobs seem to have SCAM written all over them. There ARE real ones about, but you’ll need to sift through the rubbish to find them. Once you know this, you’ll be more on your guard to spot them when they appear.

The three golden rules of this work?

  • NEVER pay any money upfront to a company that offers you work
  • NEVER do huge amounts of work until you’ve been paid and are happy with the company
  • Be VERY CAREFUL when giving out your personal details. Never give passwords etc…and ask yourself if the company REALLY needs what they’re asking you for

Legitimate transcription agencies

Appen is one such company that offers general transcription work, and is a great place of beginners to start out in transcription. Since general transcription is a form of data input, this company offers other types of data driven work as well that you might want to take a look at.

Appen also offer what they call ‘raters’ jobs. These are more generalised data tasks you can do with a phone or a laptop from anywhere in the world. The tasks are small, some are pretty dull, but they all pay……at least something.

Another online company that offers some transcribing work, among many other things, is Clickworker. Joining up to Clickworker is pretty straight forward and once you’re in, there is a pretty decent amount of work available for the taking. You’re not contracted to any particular hours, so you really can do as much or as little as you like.

These companies are really great to get some experience in transcription and see if you like it or not. It can be a fairly pressured job, so it’s not for everyone.

Here’s some more (legit!) companies you can look at to get you going:

Medical Transcription

Medical transcription work is what is says on the tin. It’s transcription work…in the medical world. The medical world generates huge amounts of transcription work, so much so that NHS Trusts often have their own transcriptionists. Many don’t however, providing you a great chance to get some home based work in!

Being a medical transcriptionist brings a higher pay bracket, but to be able to do this work many agencies will want to see that you have a prior background including being familiar with medical terminology, and many would prefer you to have taken a course through the BSMSA (British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators).

You need to have an impeccable grasp of not only the English language, but also medical terminology used. Your level of accuracy needs to be near perfect and your typing speed should be at the top end.

Assuming you have the background to take on medical transcription work, here are some UK based companies that offer this work:

Legal Transcription

In the same way medical transcription jobs focus on the medical world, legal transcription jobs focus on the legal world.

Legal transcription services are used by a wide variety of people, including lawyers, police, housing, social services, and tax officials, to name just a few. It’s important work and there’s a lot of it.

Skills needed to be a legal transcriber?

  • Solid grasp of legal terminology
  • Excellent command of the English language
  • Strong proofreading skills
  • Above average computer skills 

Where do you go if you’re interested in looking into legal transcribing jobs? Here’s some!

Real-time Transcription

Real-time transcribing is typing text AS someone’s speaking. Yep, it’s a thing and no, I can’t do it! A great example of this lots of us have seen on TV is a court stenographer: they’re typing out the proceedings as they happen.

Real-time transcribers need to have the fastest typing skills of all, coming in at about 200-300 words PER MINUTE! Staying focused, and the ability to hear every last word is a must, making this work the highest paid in the transcribing world at nearly £28,000 per year, full time.

There are work form home jobs available if you’ve got the skills, and in the UK, AUscript is a great place to start!

Copy Typing

Ok, so copy typing is not strictly (or at all!) transcribing work, but I thought I’d include it as many of the agencies that offer transcribing work also offer copy typing work.

What is copy typing? Simply put, it’s typing out something that’s already been typed, either word processed or hand written. Why would you do this?

You might want to reduce a long piece of text into something more concise, or perhaps word process a handwritten piece of work. Common examples include:

  • Dissertations
  • Thesis
  • Terms & Conditions
  • CV’s
  • Memoirs

What transcription skills do you need?

A skilled transcriptionist makes the job look like a doddle. In reality, it isn’t. Transcription work is pretty well paid, and well paid work at home jobs are going to require a little skill! So what are the essential skills you need to get started as a transcriber?

  • A near PERFECT command of the English language. This is not really something you can learn on the job. You need to be clear about your their, they’re and there’s and your where and wears. There’s no room for grammatical errors in this job, but if you’re comfortable with grammar and punctuation, you’re off to a good start.
  • You need to be able to type…FAST. Personally, I’ve never been taught to type, and I have no idea how many words per minute I can type, but I’m quick! Honestly, I think in this day and age of using technology so much we’re all way quicker than 50 years ago (when you’d have been trained!) but time yourself so you have an idea of speed, to tell an agency.
  • Accuracy. Another biggie. Yes, you can go over your work and check for errors after you’ve finished the job, but this will take forever if you’ve made a whole bunch of errors. Don’t cancel out your earnings by spending too much time fixing mistakes!

What equipment will I need to start transcribing?

There’s not LOADS of equipment, but you definitely need some. Here’s the basics to get started in transcription:

  • Desktop or laptop computer – you’ll be able to use this to listen to the recording, as well as do the actual transcription.
  • Headset – you need to be able to listen to the recording clearly and without an interference. I found an actual headset, as in headphones that cover your ears better than modern type headphones, but I guess that’s just personal preference. These transcription headphones here are made specially for transcription work and have quick volume, stop and start features, so well worth a look.
  • Software – you’re going to need a good software package to be able to do the job well. There are some free versions available, but they all seem to have limitations on them regarding what you can do. The exception to this seems to be Microsoft’s Express Scribe, which seems to be fine. It’s worth finding a program that suits you, as it’ll speed up your work and make your life easier!
  • Foot pedal – while this is not an essential, it IS handy and can speed the process up. They’re not too expensive and have stop, start, speed up, slow down functions on them, leaving your hands free to work! This transcription foot pedal is a good one to start with if you’re going to get one.

Transcribers salary

So, what we really want to know is how much you can earn doing transcription work! Well I think it’s good money on the whole, and gets better the more experienced you are, and the quicker you get.

The first thing you need to know is that you get paid per minute, or hour of audio, NOT per minute or hour it takes YOU to transcribe it.

This is really important to understand, as it doesn’t actually matter how long it takes you to do the work, what matters is how long the recording is.

So now you can see that you earn more as you speed up!

The upside to being paid like this is that it gives you a little wriggle room when you first start as you’re going to be naturally slower than you will be later down the line.

In the UK, the average wage for transcribers can be between 50p and £1 per audio minute, depending on your skills. The more general transcribing work is, of course, going to pay the least and the more skilled will be at the higher end.

TranscribeMe , based in the US, says they pay between $15 $22 per audio hour, with their average monthly wage for part time transcription work being $250.

Medical and legal transcribers can expect to earn between $25 and $35 per audio hour.

Applying for Transcription jobs from home

UK Transcription are a UK based company offering transcription work, and they have a quick test on their application form to see if you meet the criteria.

Some other UK home based transcription agencies are:

When you’re applying for transcription jobs online, it’s really helpful to be sitting in a quiet area where you can focus as quite a few of them ask you do do a couple of tasks so they can check your suitability.

And as ALWAYS…..the aim of this type of work is to make YOU money, make sure you NEVER send money to any company who offers you work in exchange for a payment. These are SCAMS!

Any questions, let me know in the comments below and as always I’ll do my best to help!

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