Today we’re looking at one of the simplest, most widely available freelance, work from home jobs. Audio transcription.

If you put ‘work from home’ ‘freelance jobs’ or anything relating to the field of remote work into Google, you’re guaranteed to have come across the role of audio transcription.

So what’s it all about?

Audio transcription is basically listening to a piece of audio and recording the spoken dialogue.  In a nutshell.  There are any number of companies who may have recorded meetings, lectures or minutes and now want a written transcription of that event.

I suppose, in time, AI will get so good at deciphering audio that the role will become redundant.  However the good news is, robots aren’t good enough yet.  You know what it’s like when you turn on Youtube subtitles.  You get a load of gobbledegook about the cat being up the tree eating pinapple when in actual fact, the chap on the video was talking about the importance of a diet rich on Omega-3.

A lot of the audio that’s in demand for transcription seems to be important legal or medical documents, and as you can imagine, accuracy is key.  So haphazard AI is no good.  They need human ears and human fingers.

So how do I become a freelance audio transcriber?

The good news is, there doesn’t seem to be any stringent qualifications, so long as youj have the right skills.  As well as the ability to listen, you also need to be able to type quickly and accurately.  Most employers seem to want speeds of around 70wpm or so.  You can take a quick test here to find out your own typing speed.

Whilst it’s relatively easy to become an audio transcriber, it’s far from a cushy or easy gig.  First of all you’ll need to have the patience to wade through hours and hours of audio, rewinding playing and listening again and again to ensure you got it right.

Employers also seem notoriously stringent about quality.  They cannot afford to hand shoddy or inaccurate transcriptions to their clients.  Speed of turnaround for their clients is also key, so you’ll need to be prepared to commit to set available times and turn orders around within agreed time frames.

One thing I also picked up on in researching this piece is that they could also ask you to follow style guidelines, meaning grammar and structure to your written work must follow a pre agreed set of rules.

This was a huge turn off to me personally.  I’m a seriously quick typist, if I do say so myself, but only really when I’m typing off the cuff.  I’d have no issue listening to audio and typing out what I hear.  But the editing and strict guidelines may be too tiresome for me personally.

If you’ve got a flair for typing however and already have a bit of experience in writing, copywriting, note taking  or just general admin then why not?  There’s an abundance of jobs out there and you only have to Google the subject.

For starters check out the two main companies that I dabbled with, Transcribe Me and Take Note.  If nothing else, their employment pages will guide you through what’s expected in the field.

And alternatively, as with all freelance jobs, you could always pitch yourself on Upwork and work entirely off your own back.

Good luck.