Scam or Not: Not a Scam
Overall Ranking: 5/10
What is TranscribeMe?
There are two different answers to the question ‘what is TranscribeMe’, depending on who you are. The first answer is that TranscribeMe is a low-cost transcription service.
This gives people the chance to get transcriptions of their work for a relatively low price. There are lots of reasons why you might want transcriptions. For example, any conference will involve a number of speakers and there is high demand to get the information transcribed into a written form.
TranscribeMe bills itself as being an inexpensive option – which is rare in the transcription industry.
They also offer a range of different levels of accuracy.
There is a genuine demand for this type of service and the company makes use of speech recognition software and human transcriptionists to create the written transcripts.
The company itself was founded in Auckland, New Zealand and is relatively unusual because most other competitors either use algorithms (which are cheap but inaccurate) or transcribers (which tend to take a long time and be expensive). By using a combination of part-time transcribers and algorithms, TranscribeMe can offer a fairly decent product at a low price.
All-in-all, the underlying concept is legitimate and it’s easy to see how there would be demand.
This brings me to the second answer to ‘what is TranscribeMe’.
The nature of how TranscribeMe works means that the company also has potential as a way to make money. As you’ve probably guessed, that area is going to be the focus of my review.
After all, on Don’t Get Rich Quick, the emphasis is on finding good ways to make money online – and figuring out which opportunities are legitimate and which ones are scams.
The first thing to note about TranscribeMe is that you will be transcribing audio, that’s the very nature of the job. Some people will find this task easier than others. Additionally, you may be dealing with audio that has multiple speakers and some of those speakers may have strong accents.
If you want to effectively earn money through the company, then you have to be able to quickly transcribe and be accurate at the same time. Some people will be able to do this without an issue but that’s not true for everyone.
The company does boast a pretty high rate of pay, although the amount you get will depend on how efficient you are and the type of transcription work you are doing.
The company also offers opportunities for growth, suggesting that you can earn more over time if you stick with it.
Signing up for the company is pretty easy but, you do have to go through some exams before you are able to actually do anything. As the company is looking for quality, the exams do make sense.
Even though there are a number of different exams, most people will probably just end up doing the first one.
There are two components to the exam. The first is to answer 10 questions, while the second is to transcribe 3 short audio files. As a whole, the exam is fairly simple, with questions like this one:
But, it is still pretty time-consuming, especially with the transcription part of it. When I did the exam, I was presented with 3 audio clips, each roughly 1 minute long.
However, I estimate that it took me closer to 10 minutes to actually transcribe the information, especially with the way that there were multiple speakers and it was hard to determine what the speaker was saying at all times.
Nevertheless, the exam is useful for you and for the company. In particular, the exam offers you the chance to try out the transcription to see whether it is something that you could see yourself doing. Personally, I found it a bit frustrating but I could imagine myself getting better at it over time.
All up, it probably took me around half an hour to complete my exam – and these were my results for the transcription parts:
Each part has the option to retry but only once.
This aspect strongly reinforces the company’s focus on quality. It isn’t enough to just be able to transcribe, you also have to be good at it.
With the exam, there is also no indication about what you were doing wrong, which makes it hard to correct any issues.
Additionally, you have to be able to follow their various grammar and formatting rules – and there are a lot of those. In fact, the site had me download a 27-page PDF prior to doing the exam and this was filled with the various things to do and not to do.
In my case, I suspect not following those rules was part of the reason that I failed the transcription side of the exam.
If you were to check back with the guide constantly each time that you wrote down anything, then you’d probably have a better chance of passing. But, doing so would take a lot of time and you’re passing still isn’t guaranteed.
In theory, getting this right would get easier over time and you’d get more accurate and more efficient. However, getting over that first hurdle may be too difficult for many.
Can You Make Money With TranscribeMe?
If you can actually get into TranscribeMe as a member, then there does seem to be potential to make money. You get tasks in a micro form, so the actual transcription would probably be easier than the exams suggest.
In theory, the pay rate is pretty good, as $20 per hour appears to be the base rate. However, that rate is a little misleading.
You’re actually getting paid based on the length of the audio, not how long it takes you to transcribe. So, that calculation doesn’t include any other time-consuming tasks, such as switching from one audio to the next.
Additionally, you have to remember that even if you’re good, transcribing a 1-minute audio file is going to take you at least 2 minutes and probably closer to 5. Precisely how long it takes will depend a lot on your own skills and the audio itself.
For example, here are two different rates from the same Reddit thread.
It’s worth noting that the first one of these is more realistic and the second one assumes that you can speed down the audio, which doesn’t seem to be an option with TranscribeMe.
The rate of pay at TranscribeMe means that you’d have to be able to transcribe 1 hour of audio within 2 actual hours to earn $10 an hour for your work.
Some people will be able to do this but most won’t.
One person who uses TranscribeMe estimated around 4 hours of transcription per hour of audio, meaning a rate of $5 an hour.
That’s not very great.
So, in theory, you can earn money with TranscribeMe but most people will probably be earning far below the minimum wage.
If you’re very good at transcription or have good ways to speed up the process, you could earn more. But that probably isn’t the case for most people.
With that in mind, if you’ve been asking ‘what is TranscribeMe’, it may be worth signing up and taking the first exam. How you find it and your overall score should help you figure out whether the service is right for you.
Benefits and Advantages
The first advantage with this company is that it is legitimate. You really can earn money and there seems to be few limitations on how much. So, unlike a survey company, you don’t have to sit and wait around for more work.
As such, the service may well be appealing for people who want to earn some pocket money or who have a lot of time on their hands.
The service also lets people make withdrawals on a weekly basis, via PayPal.
Doing so makes the process of getting paid fairly fast and simple. There also doesn’t appear to be a minimum balance needed to withdraw, which is great.
The other advantage is the potential to progress.
One aspect of this is simply that you will get better as time goes along, which can mean better income also. Additionally, there are more complex tasks available on the site and specialized skills. Those tend to pay more, so there is more potential for income.
For example, members can become Quality Assurance (QA) agents, whose role focuses on editing and consolidating. Likewise, there are roles on specialized teams, such as legal transcription teams.
The pay rate for those roles may be higher, although the work may be more complex as well.
Issues with TranscribeMe
The main issue that I find with this company is just the whole time versus money thing. This actually comes up with a lot of other ways to earn money online, including the idea of using survey sites.
Realistically, unless you are exceptionally good at transcribing, you’re likely to be earning far under the minimum wage with TranscribeMe. At the same time, the work is fairly intense, so it may burn you out quickly.
As such, it isn’t a particularly good choice for long-term or substantial income.
The one exception might be if you are in one of the higher paid roles or if you have specialized skills. But, the company doesn’t provide much information about the rate of pay for those roles, so it may still be fairly low.
Is TranscribeMe a Scam?
I wouldn’t call TranscribeMe a scam, not by a long shot. Every indication about the site suggests that they do actually pay out and that the system works as they claim it does.
Nevertheless, scam or not, the site isn’t going to be suitable for everyone.
Unless you are exceptionally good at transcription or really enjoy the work, you’ll probably find that the amount you earn simply isn’t worth the time and the effort involved.
My Personal TranscribeMe Review
For the most part, TranscribeMe isn’t a service that I’d recommend. Sure, you can make money and there is even growth potential, but the work is challenging and can be quite tedious.
From my own experience with the exam, I can’t imagine trying to do transcription work for multiple hours each day – especially when errors could potentially affect your pay and the work you have access to.
Besides that, working for TranscribeMe still isn’t that different from having a typical job. Sure, you get to pick your own hours and work from home.
But, the amount of work that you get and the restrictions and requirements that surround that work are all dictated by the company. The potential to increase income is limited too. You can get faster at the process or get involved in the roles that pay more but even then, your income is directly tied to your work.
That might seem typical but there are ways to earn money that can be scaled, giving you many more options.
The key way of doing this is to use a website as a means to make an income.
By that, I’m focusing on the idea of building your own website and earning money from it. Doing so is surprisingly easy and you have the chance to tap into a broad audience from across the world.
The scalability with a website is amazing.
For one thing, the amount of work you do will tend not to increase over time, even as your income does increase. Additionally, you can even get to the point where you outsource some work, paying for that through your profits.
Doing so can end up meaning less work over time, rather than more.
The other interesting thing about starting an online business is that it doesn’t have to be hard. If you use the techniques of affiliate marketing, you don’t even need to have your own product and you don’t have to worry about all the complexities that come with buying ads.
There are various options out there for getting started in this field but the best one is a site called Wealthy Affiliate. As the name may suggest, Wealthy Affiliate does emphasize affiliate marketing. But, it is also much more than that.
In reality, the site is a comprehensive database of training, one that teaches all of the skills that you need to build a website from scratch and turn that site into a profitable business.