Transcription: What is Transcription? And How You Can Make Money From It at Home!

what is transcription?

Whether as a side hustle or as a full time profession, more people are finding the convenience of online work at home a great way to make money. Video and audio Transcription is one of the ways of making money from the comfort of your home that people have quickly warmed up to especially mums who would like to take care of their young ones and still make some money at home. However, audio transcription is diverse and can be adopted by practically anyone. So, what is transcription? How can I be a transcriber? Can you make money from it? If yes, how? In this post, we will cover these and more questions and shed more light on transcription.

What is Transcription?

What is transcription

Transcription is simply described as the conversion of recorded audio to text. You simply listen to an audio recording and type out what you hear for purposes of reading or record-keeping. While typing, there will be a preferred guide on the layout of the text that you will be required to adhere to according to the client.

The guidelines that you will be required to adhere to will depend on the client or the platform that you will be using. As a transcriber (also known as a transcriptionist) your ability to adhere to the guidelines and listen keenly to the words being uttered in the recording will greatly improve the quality of your work and also the likelihood of getting rated favorably and given more work.

What do you need to become a transcriber?

what do you need to transcribe?

The beauty of being an online transcriber is not only that you get to work on online transcription jobs from home and be your own boss but, also the fact that the startup is not as capital intensive as other occupations and business are. To get started, you need very minimal resources, a strong zeal for quality and prospering and the heart to supervise yourself seeing that there will be no supervision. You also need to make sure that you have the qualities of a great online freelancer and if not, you can always cultivate them. It only requires a willingness to learn and plenty of discipline. The tools you’re going to need to get started include;

A laptop

In this case, you can decide to go for a laptop or a desktop; the choice is yours. Since transcription is not software intensive, you don’t have to go for the expensive options.  It is best to buy an ex-UK laptop that has been refurbished since they are affordable and can offer you plenty of service with enough care on your part.


You will need to research, download audio or video files, chat with clients and also upload and send your work. A good internet connection will definitely come in handy in such instances. With regards to internet, you might want to do a bit of research to find the most reliable and affordable option for you.


Using a quality pair of headphones will ensure that you’re able to get most words clearly. Here, you can invest as much as possible on all kinds of headphones including noise cancellation headphones. However, you should know that as time goes by, your hearing and attention to words and pronunciations increases so, even a good quality and basic pair of headphones will work just as well.

A transcription software

To make the task of transcribing easier, you will need a transcription software where you can load the audio and be able to manipulate it while you type with ease. There are different options that you can use but the one that I have used and find it easiest and most convenient is Express Scribe.

A quiet working place

With transcription, pin-drop silence is importance. Not only to help you concentrate but also in helping you hear what is being said. Being able to produce a quality transcript (the typed out document of the audio) is essential and goes a long way to improving quality and getting you repeat client. You can decide to set a place or room in your house where you can work from.

With these tools, you’re ready to now become a transcriptionist. The next question is how you can now become a professional transcriber and what tools you will need.

How do you become a transcriber?

How to get online work

Like any other job, learning how to becoming a transcriptionist requires patience and a bit of learning. Unlike forms of writing, the learning curve in transcription is not as steep because it is not entirely a creative art. You simply need to have a keen ear and an attention to detail and you’re good to start making money.


It is always best to start with loads of research. Why? It is human nature to make decisions based on feelings and emotions. With research, before you decide to pour resources, you will have understood what is transcription, what is required of you and also gotten some great leads and advice on how to make it in the world of transcription.


The biggest mistake most newbies make is to believe that they can do it all by themselves. While this is very possible, it comes with a lot of challenges and plenty of costly mistakes drain you and make you consider dumping the profession before you even make money from it. Training is essential in many ways. With training, you not only fast track your progress and improve your chances of making money, but, you also have a mentor who you can ask questions and assistance for your entire transcription life and some of the training courses even come with the offer of helping you set up your own transcription account to get started.

Once you have invested in the tools of trade, have done your research and completed your training, you’re ready to become a transcriber. The next question that should be in your mind is where do I get work?

Where do I get transcription work?

where do i get transcription work?

The aim of training and going through all this trouble is so that you can make money from transcription. For that, you need to get work. But, where? Lucky for you, there are plenty of sites and other resources that can offer you work with good pay as you continue to learn about audio transcription. However, while starting, you need to consider experience over prices and as you get better, you can also demand better pay.

Direct Clients

In your first days as a freelance transcriber, the best way to get work is to work with direct clients and especially local ones. Don’t shy away from telling them you’re just starting but are intent on getting better. You also need to open to criticism and correction. While they might not be able to pay you much, you will be able to get guidance and build your confidence which will later allow you to branch out on your own.

Beginner sites

Most transcription sites will require you to do an English test and a short transcription test. With beginner sites, you will get average pay and the tests are not as complex which make them ideal for you. They have ha steady flow of work and the formats and requirements are not as demanding. This makes them the perfect place for you to earn while you continue to build your craft. The ratings on such sites are also more favorable which also allows you to build your reputation. Some of these sites include;

Pro Sites

If you would like to make more money per job and you have built the quality and experience needed, there are sites that offer better pay but equally require you to provide better quality. These sites are a haven for transcribers who are highly experienced and very diverse. However, they can be a pain and an awful experience if you don’t match their standards. To work on such sites, you need to produce transcripts of very high quality and accuracy and ensure that you adhere closely to the guidelines. If you’re able to do this, the remuneration is very attractive and the workload is very favorable. Some of these sites include;

How do I get paid?

how do i get paid for transcription

Now that you have done your due diligence and you clearly understand what transcription is and you have a steady flow of work, how do you make money from it and get it into your pocket? Well, it is simple, if you’re working with a local client he or she will most likely send you the agreed payment after you have completed the work and it has been approved. To receive payment internationally, you will need to have a PayPal account. This is the most trusted and most commonly used payment platform by online transcription services. If you don’t have a PayPal account, you can open one it’s free! We also have a blog post you can read on how to open a PayPal account in Kenya that can be of great assistance.

Transcription sites will pay you once the work has been reviewed by their editors and is considered to be of good quality and approved. The amount of money you make is largely dependent on how hard you work and also the quality of your work and also the rates set by the platform on which you’re working.

Most of these sites have an E-Wallet system. Once your work has been approved, you will notice an addition in the earnings amount on the site. To make processing much easier, they have set the minimum amount you can withdraw to your PayPal account and on which days this can be done. If you meet the threshold, you can request for a payment which is sent to your PayPal account which you can then withdraw. At this point, you have multiple ways you can use to get the money in your bank account or in your M-Pesa account.

As your skills grow, you will be able to get more work done with better quality hence making a lot more money with better ratings. Some of the sites even allow you to complete another set of tests which allow you to be their editor. While the earning per job at this point is lower, the work is easier which allows you to get more work done and earn a lot more than if you were transcribing.

If you’re a stay at home mum who is struggling to take care of your children and provide for them or a graduate that is yet to find work, you will find that transcription is a great way to bridge the gap and pay the bills. You can even take it up as a full time job. All you have to do is have the readiness to learn about it and the patience to build quality and gradually work your way to the top.

As usual, we always appreciate your feedback, comments and suggestions so feel free to storm the COMMENTS sections and let us know what you think about this and other blogs and also what you would like to see covered in the future.



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3 Thoughts to “Transcription: What is Transcription? And How You Can Make Money From It at Home!”

  1. Great Tips!
    I like that you mention your skills will grow with time. Great way to make money too.

  2. Eva muthoni

    Interesting… I would like to try

  3. Mary

    Great tips thank you.

    I love how you have explained everything in simple details somebody can learn quickly.

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