TranscribeMe is one of the largest companies offering paid transcription jobs (for beginners) and related opportunities, but is it worth signing up?
In this TranscribeMe review and earning guide, we'll break everything down, including whether or not TranscribeMe is legit, who can join, how safe it is, how it works, the earning potential, and more. All backed by first-hand experience, reviews, insights, and data from real TranscribeMe workers.
Table of Contents
- Key Points ⚡
- What is TranscribeMe?
- About the Company
- Legit Check
- Payment Proof
- Who Can Join?
- Safety Inspection
- Support Quality
- How Does TranscribeMe Work?
- Earning Potential
- Review and Rating Breakdown
- Ways to Earn + Tips
- How to Cash Out
- Additional Features
- User Reviews (2)
- Pros and Cons
- Is It Worth It?
- How to Get Started
- Final Thoughts
Key Points ⚡
|Avg. Work Volume||A few opportunities a week|
|Avg. Time to 1st Withdrawal||19 days (lowest: 10 days)|
|Ways to Earn||Transcription|
|Payment Speed||7 days|
The guide portions of this TranscribeMe review were written by an anonymous Redditor and verified transcriber who had been working on TranscribeMe for around 4 months.
As part of a continued effort, we've so far surveyed a total of 2 TranscribeMe workers for the earnings data and other user insights and reviews in this guide. (Note that all earnings data is in USD)
Finally, the research potions of this review (i.e. the legit check, safety inspection, company information, etc.) — along with additional editing and proofreading — were done by Dylan Houlihan.
What is TranscribeMe?
TranscribeMe is a company that provides transcription, translation, annotation, and similar services to a range of clients around the world. They use a mix of AI and crowd-sourced work to provide quick and reliable services and are a good example of a gig economy company.
More on how TranscribeMe works below.
About the Company
- Founded: 2011
- Legal name: TranscribeMe, Inc.
- Parent company: N/A
- Located: PO Box 2907, San Francisco, California 94126, US
- Founder(s): Alexei Dunayev • Igor Feerer • Danijel Duvnjak
- Socials: LinkedIn • Facebook • Twitter • Youtube
- Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org • 1-800-275-5513 • Help Center
- Other companies: SpeechPal.com (an automated transcription service)
Conducted on December 12, 2021.
Here are some reasons why we believe TranscribeMe is legit:
- The company information above checks out and was easy to find. Their company address is a P.O. box, but this makes sense as they’re an online company.
- TranscribeMe is active on social media and their posts don’t get any extremely negative responses. They have a generally positive social sentiment.
- The TranscribeMe website is professional and well-made, with no obvious grammar/spelling mistakes.
- TranscribeMe’s job opportunities are clear and transparent with no ridiculous earning claims.
- It’s free to sign up and start earning.
- There are no clearly fake testimonials on the site.
- Minimum payout is reasonable
- They pay (proof)
And here are the red flags we found surrounding TranscribeMe:
- Some workers have reported getting terminated from the platform for no reason.
- Even though TranscribeMe has claimed their Indeed profile, they haven’t done so on places like Trustpilot or Glassdoor, and they don’t seem to respond to user reviews.
Is TranscribeMe Legit?
Based on the information above, we believe TranscribeMe is legit. There were a couple of red flags found throughout our research, but nothing out of the ordinary or extreme enough to suggest that TranscribeMe might be a scam. The company has been around since 2011 and is very transparent about their team, the services they provide, and how their job opportunities work.
Of course, just because TranscribeMe is legit doesn’t mean it’s a worthwhile opportunity for everyone. Continue reading for more details on how TranscribeMe works, how much you can expect to earn with them, and more.
TranscribeMe Payment Proof
To further show that TranscribeMe is legit, here are a few PayPal payment proofs from our reviewer:
Who Can Join? (Requirements)
- Age requirement: Must be 18 years or older.
- Country requirements: Worldwide
- Note that you'll need access to PayPal (or know someone with a PayPal) to get paid.
- Device requirements: Web
- Payout requirements: Valid PayPal.
- Skill requirements: No special skills, prior experience, or educational attainment required (other than the ability to listen and type). Must pass a general English Entrance Exam to get hired.
- Other requirements: Not required, but equipment like a good pair of headphones/earbuds and a foot pedal can help increase your efficiency. (To use a foot pedal, this Chrome extension must be downloaded and enabled.) The Grammarly extension is also recommended for proofreading.
Conducted on December 12, 2021.
- SSL certificate? Yes.
- Terms of Service: Here.
- Personal data collected from TranscribeMe users:
- For account creation: First and last name, email, password, payment information, country, language, gender, employment, transcription languages. You can optionally provide your Skype ID and phone number.
- For verification: Photo of government issued ID.
- Can you opt out? Yes, by not providing your information or by deleting your account.
- Can you delete your account and data? Yes, through your account page or by contacting TranscribeMe. You can also see what data TranscribeMe has on you at any time.
- How long is data kept? Not mentioned. We assume it’s deleted as soon as they receive your request.
- Have they ever had a data breach? Not that we’re aware of.
Is TranscribeMe Safe?
As a general transcriber who isn’t required to provide very much personal information to TranscribeMe, the job opportunity is quite safe. There’s just not much that can go wrong.
However, if you’d like to advance to other opportunities on the site (more details below) you may be asked to provide a photo of a piece of government-issued ID showing your full legal name, birthdate, and headshot. This will be a security concern for many as, if the info was stolen, it could be used for potential identity theft.
We couldn’t find any reports of this happening in the past, so that’s reassuring. However, it would be better if after verifying your identity, TranscribeMe would simply delete the image of your ID (as it's no longer needed). Unfortunately, this isn't the case as the photo stays attached to your account as long as it's active.
Tip: If you do provide your ID, we recommend blocking out all other non-necessary info on it to be as safe as possible. The only info that needs to be shown is your full name, birthdate, and headshot.
One other concern:
Note: To see how actual users feel about TranscribeMe's safety, read our 2 TranscribeMe user reviews.
Obligatory disclaimer: Nothing on the internet is 100% safe or private. The above are opinions based on our independent research. Please take caution and do your own due diligence.
TranscribeMe Support Quality
Of the 2 TranscribeMe workers we've surveyed, none ever had a reason to contact support. That said, based on web research, TranscribeMe's support team seems to be helpful and quick to respond.
Note: Have you had experience with TranscribeMe support? Leave a review below.
How Does TranscribeMe Work?
TranscribeMe attracts clients needing transcription, translation, and similar services, and then they hand off the work from said clients to freelancers. This is also known as microwork.
With their online crowdsourced work platform, once onboarded and having passed the intro exams, freelancers on TranscribeMe will start receiving work automatically. The main opportunity, being a general transcriber, will have you listen to short audio clips and manually type them out into text format.
As a freelancer for TranscribeMe, you’ll have full control over your work hours and can work as much or as little as you want (or as long as there is work available). However, you will need to complete at least one piece of work each month to keep your account active.
How much you earn will really depend on the number of transcription jobs you take, the amount of time you spend on the site, and the availability of transcription jobs. You can increase your earnings by applying for higher-level roles.
Keep reading for more details on:
- TranscribeMe's overall earning potential
- All the ways to make money on TranscribeMe
- How to cash out your earnings
- Additional features
- How to get started
- and more!
TranscribeMe Earning Potential
According to TranscribeMe, workers earn, on average, $250 a month (top monthly earnings are $2,200).
Based on 2 TranscribeMe users that we've surveyed so far, here are the stats we gathered on TranscribeMe's pay rate:
- Avg. $/hour: $4.25
- Median $/hour: $4.25
- Highest $/hour: $10
- Lowest $/hour: $1
- Avg. $/month: $30
- Median $/month: $30
- Highest $/month: $50
- Lowest $/month: $10
Note: These numbers are updated regularly as we survey more users. Sign up here to stay up to date + receive exclusive content. If you freelance for TranscribeMe, help us gather more accurate data by contacting us!
How Often Is Work Available?
The amount of work you'll receive from TranscribeMe will vary greatly depending on the types of work you have access to, the time of day, and other uncontrollable factors.
We asked 2 TranscribeMe users, “How often do you make money from TranscribeMe?” Here are their responses:
- 0 said less than a few times a month
- 1 said a few times a month
- 1 said a few times a week
- 0 said a few times a day
- 0 said almost always
- 0 said always
Read the full user reviews below for more details behind these numbers.
- Bottom line? TranscribeMe doesn't guarantee a consistent stream of work, so don't rely on it too much.
- Want to share your experience? Leave a comment!
TranscribeMe Review and Rating Breakdown
TranscribeMe is a decent entry-level opportunity for beginner transcribers (or those looking to learn the craft) but it's not a reliable source of income. The pay is too low and work availability varies too much. That said, there are growth opportunities available that can make the opportunity better, plus great community features and support.
How to Make Money With TranscribeMe
There are 4 main ways to make money with TranscribeMe:
1. General Transcription
This is the intro role that everyone starts at on TranscribeMe.
Upon passing TranscribeMe’s English Entrance Exam, you are hired as a general transcriber. You’ll now have access to the WorkHub, which is TranscribeMe’s native transcription tool.
Here, you’ll receive audio files (aka transcription jobs). Job files are split into multiple chunks, with each audio chunk usually being 2-4 minutes long (files can be a max of 8 minutes). These files are randomly assigned.
Pictured above is what the WorkHub looks like when there are no files available. The page constantly and instantly refreshes so once a new file is assigned to you, it will automatically be displayed in the WorkHub and you can immediately start working on it.
The availability of files really varies from time to time. Sometimes a new file will be available immediately after you complete one and other times you have to wait for a while before you’re able to work on a new file.
Tip: You can only take one job at a time so the key to maximizing your earning potential is speed and accuracy.
General transcribers earn at a rate of $15 per audio hour.
Note that audio hour refers to the actual duration of the audio file, not the time spent working on it. Given this rate, a 2-minute audio chunk, which is the usual length assigned to general transcribers, would pay $0.50.
Jobs are assigned randomly, which means you don’t have the option to choose which files to work on. However, if you encounter an audio chunk that you do not want to work on, simply click on the three vertical dots beside the Submit button and click on Cancel.
Upon cancellation, the job will be assigned to another transcriber and a new file will be assigned to you (if available).
Working On Audio Files
The screenshot above shows what the WorkHub looks like once a job is assigned to you. It is very straightforward, and you simply have to type on it.
Tip: You can adjust the playback speed and volume to make files easier to understand. There are also different keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) that you can change and use to speed up your work.
Once an audio chunk is assigned to you, it is yours to work on as long as you are actively typing. If you become inactive for 60 times the length of the audio chunk (e.g. 1 hour for a 1-minute audio chunk), the job will be returned to the pool and assigned to another transcriber.
Submitting Your Work
Upon submitting your completely transcribed audio chunk, the file will then be sent to a reviewer from TranscribeMe’s Quality Assurance team to check for accuracy and edit any mistakes you might have made.
A job will only be considered completed once it is successfully rated by a QA. Only then will the amount earned be available for withdrawal. The amount of time it takes for files to be rated varies.
Keep in mind:
TranscribeMe does NOT expect transcribers to have a 100% accuracy rate. Once a job is completed, the percent changed/corrected by QA will be shown, and approximately 15% changed or less is expected. An overall average percent change of 10% or lower is an indication that you are doing well.
Audio chunks with over 30% changed will automatically be rejected by the system and result in zero pay. There are also instances when a QA can reject a job even if less than 30% is changed. More detailed information on rejection can be found here.
Note: A rejected job does not automatically mean that your account will be deactivated. A rejection percentage of less than 5% is what’s expected. TranscribeMe will evaluate your overall work history and the number of rejections you have had before deactivation.
2. Specialty Transcription Teams
TranscribeMe provides opportunities beyond general transcription. These typically offer higher rates or increased work availability.
To qualify for these higher-earning opportunities, you have to pass different advancement exams available within the site. Some exams are only available in certain regions.
Below are some of the specialty transcription teams in TranscribeMe and their corresponding pay rates. A more detailed list can be found here.
- Description: Work on files with special formatting requirements and guidelines
- Available to US and Australia based transcribers only
- Requires government ID check and a free background check
- Must complete a special styles exam
- Pay rate: $25/audio hour
- Description: Opens up more work opportunities at the $15/audio hour pay rate level
- Requirements: Must complete accent exams and a commonwealth spelling exam
First Draft Champions
- Description: Work on files that are sent directly to the client without going through QA.
- Requirements: Pass the First Draft exam + have your recent work evaluated.
- Pay rate: $22/audio hour + eligibility for FDC sweepstakes (we’re not exactly sure what these are) and other bonuses
- Description: Work on a wide variety of projects with special style guidelines, ranging from clean and full verbatim, special tags, to special number formatting.
- 75 completed unrejected transcription jobs
- ID verification
- Pass the TME Plus Special Styles exam
- High accuracy
- Description: Deal with audio files involving medical terms.
- 150+ completed unrejected transcription jobs
- Pass the medical transcription exam
3. QA Teams
TranscribeMe’s quality assurance team members are sourced from the pool of general transcribers. If you submit high-quality and accurate work often, you may get an invite to apply for one of the teams below.
ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) QA
- Description: Review and correct files that are transcribed by automatic speech recognition software.
- Requirements: Must pass an ASR exam
- Pay rate: $25/audio hour
- Description: Edit files submitted by general transcribers.
- Must pass first draft exam and English 2Step QA exam
- Must complete at least 30 jobs non-rejected as a transcriber
- Requires valid photo ID
- Pay rate: $23 per audio hour, $35 per audio hour for rush files.
- Description: Add timestamps and speaker IDs to First Draft Plus files.
- Requirements: Complete the English FD Stamper exam
- Pay rate: $7-$10/audio hour + weekly sweepstakes and other bonus opportunities
- Description: Transcribe full audio files rather than smaller chunks. Add timestamps and speaker IDs. Files are sent directly to the client.
- Requirements: Must upload valid photo ID
- Pay rate: $35/audio hour during probation, and then $40/audio hour afterward + sweepstakes and other bonuses
4. QA Advancement Teams
These are the highest level roles available on TranscribeMe. You’ll have to be a part of one or more of the QA teams above to even get an invite.
Full Verbatim QAs
- Description: Complete full verbatim transcriptions (i.e. including all stutters, filler words, etc.).
- Must be a member of the 2Step or QuickStep QA team
- Must complete full verbatim exam
- Pay rate: $50/audio hour
- Description: Check the work of new QAs and help train them.
- Requirements: Invite only.
- Pay rate: $27/audio hour, $13.50/audio hour for snippets
How to Cash Out on TranscribeMe
Above is an example of the Work History page on TranscribeMe. Each completed file is color-coded to indicate the status.
- Red = Pending
- Yellow = Available for withdraw
- Blue = Withdrawn, not paid
- Green = Withdrawn and paid
Once a file is submitted, the amount earned is added to your Pending balance. After it’s reviewed by a QA member, the earnings are added to your Available for Withdrawal balance.
Once your Available for Withdrawal balance reaches $10, you can request a payout. Payments are sent every Thursday at 9 AM PT, so make sure to request before then if you want to get paid on time.
TranscribeMe recommends withdrawing 30 minutes before the cutoff at the latest to avoid delays. It is also important to consider the time difference if you are in a different time zone.
The only way to receive payments on TranscribeMe is via PayPal:
- Minimum payout: $10
- Fees: None (may be charged a PayPal fee of 2.9% + $0.30, but this varies across users)
Additional TranscribeMe Features
As soon as your TranscribeMe account is activated, you will receive an invite to join their community platform on Yammer. It is TranscribeMe’s official platform for any announcements, updates, and for interacting with transcribers. You can use it to ask help from admins and other transcribers.
It is a very active community in which transcribers engage with each other and share tips and best practices. It is also a great platform to hear about real people’s experiences with working for TranscribeMe.
2. Transcriber Library
This is basically TranscribeMe’s help page which contains an extensive collection of resources such as guides, exam handbooks, FAQs, tips, etc. Aside from the style guide which you are required to read before taking the entrance exam, other guides containing more detailed explanations can also be found here.
I consider this an additional feature because other transcription sites’ help pages are not as in-depth and detailed as this one. It is a helpful resource that will make completing jobs and passing exams easier.
As mentioned above, being a general transcriber is the intro position at TranscribeMe. There are opportunities for advancement and higher paying work if you submit quality work and complete specific exams on the platform.
Above is a sample of what the Exams page looks like. You can view all the currently available exams here. Clicking on ‘Check Exam Info' will show you complete details about the exam including its purpose and prerequisites. Some exams will only be available after you have passed other exams.
If a certain exam is not available, it means TranscribeMe is not currently accepting applications for that specific team.
Note: Cheating on exams (e.g. submitting copied answers) will get your account deactivated and blocked.
TranscribeMe Reviews From Workers
We've currently gathered a total of 2 TranscribeMe reviews from users who gave TranscribeMe an average rating of 3.25/5.
Each reviewer was given a small incentive for providing their unbiased thoughts and feedback.
- From: Kenya
- Age: 28
- User for: 1 month
- Total earned: $50
- Avg. $/hour: $10
- Avg. $/month: $50
- Makes money: A few times a week
- Time to first withdrawal: 10 days
Overall thoughts? TranscribeMe is a very legit site offering English audio files for transcription. The pay is quite good per audio minute.
Would you recommend it to others? Yes but it's most suitable for experienced transcriptionists since they are very keen on accuracy.
How's the user experience? Very good. Their website doesn't have any functionality problems.
Any safety concerns? No privacy concerns. They keep your info safe.
Tips for new users? Proofread your work to ensure small mistakes are avoided.
- The files pay very well per hour
- Consistent tasks daily
- They are very strict on accuracy
Anonymous User (2.5/5)
- From: Phillippines
- Age: 23
- User for: 4 months
- Total earned: $55
- Avg. $/hour: $1
- Avg. $/month: $10
- Makes money: A few times a month
- Time to first withdrawal: 28 days
Overall thoughts? The site is very easy to use and professional-looking. The guidelines provided are very detailed and helpful when it comes to passing the entrance exam. However, upon passing the entrance exam, you only gain access to a limited number of files so work is really slow at first. There are very few files available most of the time. Sometimes it takes hours after completing one file for you to be assigned the next one.
They do provide opportunities that will allow you to potentially earn more by gaining access to more files. This is through taking and passing more exams. I just think it's too tedious and not worth it.
Would you recommend it to others? I would recommend this as a side hustle/source of extra income to anyone who has the time and patience to take all the exams needed to gain access to enough files to make a reasonable amount. If you were to only take the entrance exam, I don't think it's worth it.
How's the user experience? The site is very straightforward and user-friendly. I haven't encountered any bugs or glitches. The site also provides a lot of references and detailed records about your work and payment history.
Any safety concerns? I don't feel like any of my personal info is exposed since we don't directly interact with clients. I've never encountered a security or privacy concern.
Tips for new users? Do not skip any file regardless of the quality since there are only a few available. Take all advancement exams you're qualified for to gain access to more files.
- The interface of the transcribing tool is very good.
- When you don't finish a file on time, any work you've done is saved for the next user for editing so sometimes the files are already partially completed.
- There are a lot of opportunities available. They have different exams which you can take to get access to more files.
- They have a supportive community on Yammer in which you can interact with other transcribers for tips, best practices, etc.
- Pay is low compared to other sites.
- There are only a few files available most of the time.
- The minimum amount to cash out used to be $20 but now they changed it to $10. Given the availability of files, it takes a long time to accumulate the minimum amount of $10.
- Files are assigned randomly. You don't get to choose which files to work on.
- Advancement exams are very strict and hard to pass and they don't tell you which parts you got wrong.
TranscribeMe Pros and Cons
- Flexible work. Work remotely and whenever you like as long as you complete at least one job each 30 days. Audio file chunks can be quite short so you don’t have to commit a ton of time.
- Growth opportunities available for high-quality workers who complete the required exams.
- Good community features.
- Helpful support.
- Great for learning how to transcribe as a beginner.
- You can get banned for “cheating” unintentionally. TranscribeMe has a rule against cheating on exams, which is fair. However, they say that they’ll ban you “even if the violation was unintentional” which is weird.
- Rejected work will not be compensated. However, you can dispute rejections if you think they were wrongly done.
- You can be banned without reason or notice. This shouldn’t happen if you’re a high quality worker, but the terms state that TranscribeMe can terminate your account with or without reason.
- Lack of available work.
- Photo ID verification required for higher level opportunities.
- Job can be quite challenging depending on the audio files you’re working on.
- Training is unpaid.
- Minimum payout can be difficult to reach. Some say this is actually a factor TranscribeMe relies on. Workers sign up, complete a few transcriptions, and then quit realising it'll take much longer than they thought to reach the payout minimum. Then, TranscribeMe essentially gets free labor.
Is TranscribeMe Worth It?
If you’re looking for an easy way to start making money from home and/or you’re interested in learning more about becoming a transcriber, TranscribeMe might be worth checking out. It’s one of the better beginner Transcription jobs, has good support and training available for workers, and even has growth opportunities if you decide that’s something you’re interested in.
That said, it's definitely not perfect.
To get started, you'll need to spend a decent amount of unpaid time going through their training and entrance exam, only to be met with low wages once you finally get to the paid work.
All in all, if you hate the idea of having to listen to audio clips and convert them into text, this opportunity is probably not for you. It requires high attention to detail and active listening to be worthwhile. And even then, the pay is too low and work availability isn't consistent enough to provide a great income.
How to Get Started on TranscribeMe
Step 1. Create Your Account
You can apply for a TranscribeMe freelancer account here.
Once you click ‘Get Started' you'll be brought to the application form:
Fill it in, hit ‘Create Profile', and you should receive a verification email. Read it and verify your account.
Step 2. Pass the English Entrance Exam
Once your email is verified, your account will be activated and you'll receive another email containing further instructions. You'll then be asked to sign in to your TranscribeMe account and take the English Entrance Exam.
Similar to other transcription sites, the exam involves transcribing sample audio files and answering multiple-choice questions. It is pretty simple (even if you do not have prior transcription experience) as long as you follow the provided style guide.
There's no time limit for the exam but TranscribeMe recommends setting aside 3 hours for it. Completing it in one sitting is highly recommended but in case you cannot, you must complete a full section before exiting. Otherwise, your progress might not be saved.
You'll be given two attempts for this exam. If you fail your first attempt, you'll only have one chance to take it again. If you pass the exam, you will receive a welcome email within three business days. However, if you fail after the second attempt, you will be given a 30-day wait period before you can try again.
Step 3. Submit Your Documents (Optional)
After receiving the welcome email, you may receive another email asking you to upload a valid photo ID such as a passport or driver’s license for verification purposes. The details in your submitted ID should match the details you have entered on the registration page.
Note: This typically isn’t required for TranscribeMe’s general transcription work, but it will be required if you plan on applying to higher-paying positions later on.
Step 4. Start Earning
Once you receive confirmation that your account is activated and fully verified, you can start taking jobs from the WorkHub by logging in and clicking the Transcription tab.
I recommend familiarizing yourself with the interface and the formatting rules by completing jobs as a general transcriber first. Always review the changes that were made by QAs so you can avoid repeating the same mistakes and get higher accuracy ratings.
Work may be slow at first but once you get the hang of it, you can start attempting the various advancement exams to have access to more files and higher earnings.
Good luck! If you ever need a refresher, come back to this TranscribeMe review/guide!
- Inactivity: If you haven’t submitted a file after 30 days, your account may be considered inactive and may be deactivated without notice. Only submitted files appearing in your Work History are considered as activity. Any canceled files are not included. If you know you’re going to be inactive for a while and want to prevent your account from being deactivated, you can notify TranscribeMe beforehand by filling out the Inactivity Form on Yammer.
- Poor performance: Poor performance can cause you to lose access to certain types of work (e.g. special teams), or be banned from the platform completely.
If you enjoy transcription work, check out these TranscribeMe alternatives:
For a full list of alternatives + tips on becoming a transcriptionist, check out this guide to at-home transcription jobs.
For similar opportunities, check out the Hustle Finder, or one of these guides:
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