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    Are you thinking about a work at home job in transcription and/or captioning? Not sure if you’ll like it or if it’s the right path for you? CrowdSurf is the perfect place to try it out and get paid a little in the process of your learning.

    Tech Requirements:

    You’ll need a computer(PC or Mac) and an Internet connection(I’d recommend an unlimited plan since you’re going to be watching and listening to video files.) You don’t need headphones, but I do recommend you get a pair.

    What is the work like?

    Transcription is primarily listening and typing what you hear. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, you’d be surprised at how challenging it can be. Crowdsurf does closed captioning, but I will focus on the transcription aspect here as that’s where you’ll first start at CrowdSurf.

    You’ll be doing transcription and edit the transcripts. Edit the Transcripts is audio that’s been passed through voice-to-text software you must ensure they’re 100% accurate and submit them for the final transcript. If you maintain a certain score, you may get an invitation to test to move up to Full-Text Review, Edit, and Grade, QCReject, Timing, etc. I won’t go into too much detail about the other levels here. We’ll save that for another post.

    There are a ton of subjects that fall under general transcription and at CrowdSurf you’ll be transcribing lectures, business meetings, seminars, online tutorials, TV shows, etc. Topics range far and wide from medicine, computer science, finances, sociology, economics, talk shows, politics, etc. The life of a transcriptionist is a life of continuous learning. Anything that requires closed captioning you’ll be transcribing at CS so be opened minded.

    The transcription files are snippets of full video/audio and are cut down to about 10-20 seconds long. You listen to the audio, type what you hear, research spelling of names or unknown words, edit for spelling/grammar errors and accuracy, then submit the file. Simple as that. You’re graded on a 4.0 scale for accuracy, punctuation, spelling, guesses, and guidelines. Currently, you need a score of 3.8 or higher to get your weekly bonus. If you’re going to work in this line of business and want to get a higher paying job I suggest you strive for 100% accuracy. Always do your best.

    To be successful at transcribing you need a good ear, a grasp on grammar and spelling, impeccable research skills, attention to detail, and above all: patience. All of these will come with practice, and at first, you’ll be super slow but stick with it and you’ll be speeding through files in no time. As I mentioned CS is the first step to better-paying transcription jobs. Think of it as schooling or training that pays you instead of your forking over money to them. Overall it’s a great company to start off with if you’re new to the world of transcription.

    Is this a full-time, part-time, or extra money type of job?

    Most of the year there are a lot of files to be transcribed. However, there are slow times where work is sparse. If you are only qualified to work transcription, you may experience a shortage of work more often than someone who’s qualified to do everything from transcription to grading so I wouldn’t suggest quitting your secure job if you need steady work and pay. Since the pay isn’t the highest, I suggest you do this as an extra money type job. However, during busy times I’ve treated this as a part-time gig and made a fair amount.

    Getting Paid:

    CS pays per file which on average payout $0.09 each. Each file is approximately 18 seconds long. And There are bonuses. The bonuses are something like the following example that I found on CS’s public website with a search on Google:

    • $2.00 for 100 HITs approved

    • $5.00 for 200 HITs approved

    • $9.00 for 300 HITs approved ($0.03 on every approved HIT 301-499)

    • $20.00 for 500 HITs approved ($0.04 on every approved HIT 501-999)

    • $50.00 for 1000 HITs approved ($0.05 on every approved HIT 1001+)


    Let’s calculate our pay based on the bonuses above. Let’s say you transcribe 500 files in a week. That’s $45 base pay(500 files multiplied by $0.09/each), and you’ll receive a bonus of $20 for completing 500 files. Also, an additional $0.03 on every approved file between 301-499, which is another $5.94. So you’ll earn a total of $70.94 for completing 500 files.So we’ve calculated how much we’ll earn but remember how I said the files average out to be around 18 seconds each? Considering that, how long will it take us to complete 500 files? Those 500 files average out to 2 hours 30 minutes of audio (500 * 18 seconds). So you’d be paid $70.94 for completing 2 hours 30 minutes of audio. Keep in mind that it can take anywhere from 4-8 hours to transcribe 1 hour of audio. So this pay is very low, about $30 USD per audio hour.

    So what does audio hour mean? And how long will it take and how much will we get paid for our time? Let’s say it takes you 16 hours to transcribe those 2.5 hours ($70.94/16=$4.43) you’d be making $4.32 for an hour of your time. Let’s say you’re a super fast typist, have clear audio, one clear speaker with no accent, and a topic that you don’t have to research every other term and you breeze through and complete those 2.5 audio hours in just 8 hours you’ll be making $8.87 an hour. So like I mentioned think of this as “paid training” and once you’re comfortable move on to better things.

    The payout is reliable; you’re paid to your WorkMarket account one hour after you’ve logged out of CS and completed a batch of files. Once the money is in your WM account you can withdrawal funds 1) for free via direct deposit or 2) via PayPal for $1. Bonuses are paid each week by Tuesday and you are paid in US dollars.

    What are other people saying about CS?

    If you do a quick search you may find posts which say that CS sucks, CS is awesome, CS is a ripoff. I’ll let you know I’ve worked with them. As far as pay goes, yes, it’s terrible it’s pretty much bottom of the barrel in comparison to other transcription companies. It’s comparable to companies like Scribe, TranscribeMe, and Casting Words, which I only recommend as stepping stones into the transcription field. If you’re an experienced transcriptionist, I would only recommend CS if you’re lacking work and need some filler. Even then, the pay is so low it may not be worth your time.

    How to apply:

    You can sign up for CrowdSurf either through Mechanical Turk or on their platform through Work Market. I recommend Work Market so you can qualify for their bonuses. To sign up and get started with CS on the WM platform Click here, and follow their instructions.

    Once you sign up, you’ll be invited via Work Market to test for CS. They will direct you to their online guidelines (be sure give them a quick read) keep them open while you do the test. Pro tip: Ctrl + F is your friend here. The test is pretty simple consisting of multiple choice questions and a short audio file to transcribe. As long as you know how to read and use the guidelines, you’ll pass.

    Conclusion:

    CS is a great place to get started if you’re brand new to transcription. If you’re looking for a full-time or part-time gig, this can work. However, the pay will be very low for the work you’re doing. Also, the amount of work is sporadic, so it’s probably safe to just use this as an extra money type gig. I recommend working at CS only to gain experience and then move on to better-paying companies.

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