Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paid to Transcribe: Scribie

* This post contains affiliate links. If you sign up using my links, I will receive a referral commission.

Scribie is a general transcription company that pays freelancers to transcribe audio files from Scribie clients.

They have strict guidelines that you must adhere to, or else you will receive a low rating. Low ratings are subject to be removed from the website. On the other hand, if you score high, you may have the opportunity to work as an editor for the company (which is also a paid position, although I do not know the details).

When I first worked with Scribie a few years ago, I thought it seemed like a decent website for earning a supplemental income. You can withdraw earnings whenever you want (although there is a 2% fee for withdrawing earnings below $30). Payments are transferred via PayPal (verified accounts only).

Scribie also has a referral program where you earn a 2% lifetime commission on your referral's earnings.

Scribie pays transcribers $10 per hour of transcribed audio. To be clear, this does not mean that you will be paid $10 per hour. Here's how it works:

Each file is broken down into 6 minutes.
You're paid $1 for each 6 minute audio file that you accurately transcribe.

It might sound easy, but it took me approximately 18 minutes to transcribe a 6 minute audio—and my typing speed averages 80+ WPM. I'm looking at earning roughly $4 per hour. Unfortunately, that is a very low pay rate, especially when compared to other transcription sites, many of which pay upwards of $15 per page of transcribed audio.

With that said, the work is sometimes enjoyable. I like that you're able to listen to a sample file before claiming it for transcription. This makes it easier to choose files that are relatively simple to understand. However, I've noticed that there are more and more audio samples with muffled voices, background noise, and very heavy accents. That's fine, but the time I have to put into it just isn't worth it for me. There are definitely better suited candidates.

I highly recommend investing in a pair of quality headphones for transcription if you intend to transcribe with Scribie.

So, after signing up with Scribie, you'll receive an email noting your place on the waiting list. When I signed up, I was number five, but was able to take the test the following day. I failed the first test because I had two files to choose from and the man speaking had a very, very thick accent. I was able to try again three days later and I passed. I was able to start work immediately and was paid for my test transcription.

Sign up with Scribie.

Update: After working with Scribie for a short period, I decided that it was no longer worth the effort. Unless you have an impeccable ear for detail and an ability to decipher difficult terminology in individuals with heavy accents, then the transcription work is far too time consuming to make the pay worth it.


  1. What are some other legit sites that pay more for transcription? Thanks Emily!

    1. The highest-paying transcription websites are typically those that deal with legal and medical transcription, however, if you look hard enough, you'll find some general transcription websites that pay reasonably well. I've listed some sites you may wish to consider:

      Clark Fork Communications



      Cambridge Transcription

      Pioneer Transcription Services

      Neal R Gross & Co., Inc.

      AccuTran Global

      Alice Darling Secretarial Services, Inc.

      I hope this helps!

  2. Thanks so much! Very helpful!! :)

  3. Would you be able to show a screenshot or perhaps even a video of the test? I'm trying to figure out what format it would be in ...being timed is not an issue, I do 95-100WPM I would just like to see what format they have.

    1. Hi Big Mc,

      Because I've already taken the Scribie test, I cannot provide screenshots for you. I can tell you that Scribie provides the software you need to transcribe the audio (Express Scribe) and the files are in .mp3 format.

    2. hi! do we have to pay for the software?

    3. Henry, the software may be downloaded for free once you sign up.

  4. All right, would you also be able to tell me if there is a time limit? Unfortunately I'm not in possession of a pedal at the moment and fear my time may be a little under the bar when being rushed.

    1. Hi Shawn,

      There is a time limit for the test, although I cannot remember how long. I do remember, however, that it was more than enough time to transcribe the file I received. I did not have a foot pedal when I signed up either, but the Hot Keys that you're able to configure using ExpressScribe help immensely.

      Also, when you're invited for the test, you do not have to take it immediately. You can defer it indefinitely and take it at your convenience. If you fail the test, you can retake it 9 more times, so if you're a fast typist, have excellent listening skills, and a keen eye for detail, I'm sure you'll do fine.

    2. If you have any more questions, you may find an answer in Scribie's FAQ section found here:

  5. FYI $1 for six minutes of audio is robbery, especially if there's more than one person speaking. The going rate from my research is $33 to $57/audio hour depending on experience. Even if you're brand new or terrible at it, $10/audio hour is criminal.

    I work full-time as an online transcriber, and I don't make anywhere near enough money. The service I work for pays by the word.

    Pay by the word is also a form of robbery. The clients can use as much of your time as they want without paying for it. They can revise as they go, over and over, and you don't get paid for every time they change their mind, only what they end up with.

    This is not an easy job to make money at. It can be done, but it takes a lot of effort on your part, and as in the blog, you may only make $4/hr even with excellent skills.

    I am currently looking into some other services that pay by the audio hour. This is the only way I will work going forward. Pay by the word is a ripoff.

    1. Thank you for your comment. While I do agree that the pay rate for Scribie is quite low, it does help some get their feet wet in the industry and earn a small income on the side. At the same time, Scribie is general transcription, nothing technical about it. This may also be why the pay rate is on the lower end of the scale.

  6. This type of transcription service is used by legal firms, municipal, state and federal authorities, courts, peacekeepers and other legal professionals.TranscriptionistThe most common types of transcription inside the legal realm have to do with court hearings, depositions, prisoner interrogations and affirmations as well as general correspondence.

  7. Writing for pennies on the dollar is an insult try this resource and liberate yourself

  8. Transcription is the best way to earn some supplemental or even full-time income from home. I have heard very good reviews about GMR Transcription for home based jobs.

  9. good day, can you help me how to verify my paypal account ? it says that i have to enter my card type and card number but i had a lot of attempts still not accepting it

  10. I'm amazed that you're able to make even $4 an hour at $10 an audio hour. Most people that have been at transcription for awhile transcribe at a ratio of 4:1 though generally take a lot longer when first starting out. This means that the average transcriptionist would be lucky to make $2.50 an hour on Scribie and that's assuming they're transcribing a file with just one or two speakers and clear audio. I have transcribed for Scribie and found the quality of audio files to generally be very poor.

  11. Hi Emily, thank you so much for a detailed review and post on your experience about Scribie. Well, to be honest, if you are in great need of money, trying Scribie would be inevitable but to be sure, why not try applying to bigger transcription companies.


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