If you’re considering transcription as a side hustle, there are a number of platforms offering work transcription jobs. Here we’ll explore CastingWords to help you decide if it could be the right option for you.
A Brief Overview
CastingWords has been operating since 2005. It was established with the main goal of connecting skilled transcribers with customers to provide freelancers a source of income.
Over the years, the company has grown immensely. They now have in-house staff, but there are still freelance opportunities for not only transcription but also editorial work and other roles. CastingWords is a global company offering freelance opportunities around the world.
How CastingWords Works
As a CastingWords transcriptionist, you’ll work as an independent contractor. You can log into the platform to check for available jobs and pick assignments that appeal to you. You can click on individual jobs to get a preview of the instructions to see if you would like to work on it.
When you decide on an assignment, you can either download the file or use the built in player on the page to work directly from the platform.
Once you’ve completed the transcription, you can submit the work, and there are even built in tools to check your work before you finalize the submission. The team will then review your work.
Where CastingWords differs from many other transcription platforms is that you can return assignments if you find you are unable to meet the deadline. Each assignment has a live countdown clock, so if you’re unable to work on a particular assignment, aim to return it as soon as possible.
You should also be aware that it can take up to 30 days for transcription assignments to be approved.
The Job Requirements
Unlike many transcription platforms, CastingWords has very few requirements to join. You need to:
- Be 18+
- Live in a supported country
- Be able to receive PayPal payments
- Have a legal right to work as an independent contractor under applicable tax and employment laws.
As with most transcription platforms, you will also find it useful to have a foot pedal, online grammar tools, and basic transcription software. However, you can use the built-in platform tools and a basic word processing software program.
See our recommended transcription equipment here.
How Much Does CastingWords Pay?
CastingWords pays approximately $1 per audio minute. However, your actual earnings will depend on how your work is graded. There is a 0 to 9 grading system. If your work is graded 0 to 4, it’s considered low quality and will need to be redone. Grade 5 work receives the base pay, but you can earn up to 3 times the base rate if you reach grade 9.
There is also a badge system that influences the number of assignments offered to you and your potential earnings.
You’ll receive a Beginner badge after your first assignment approval. After 10 approved assignments, you’ll get an upgrade. These badges are important. The more badges you have, the more assignments will be available to you. In many cases, higher-paying jobs are only available if you have a number of badges. Each time you submit assignments, your badge level is evaluated and affects your grade. So, you’ll earn more if you consistently perform well.
All payments for CastingWords work are made through PayPal every Friday. However, the company will cover the PayPal fees. Additionally, the minimum payout is just $1.
CastingWords has a solid rating on a number of review platforms. There are both positive and negative user comments. But, it appears that the main complaint is that it can take time to build up to higher paying work. However, since you don’t need previous transcription experience, this does mean that you can earn as you establish your transcription skills.
To get started and become a transcriptionist, you’ll need to visit the CastingWords website and complete the application. After your application is accepted, you’ll receive a welcome email. However, in some cases, you may be invited to take a transcription test after you submit your application. This is a short transcription task that confirms that you have the audio skills and typing skills necessary to complete the work.
Once you’re accepted, you’re free to start browsing the available assignments through the CastingWords dashboard. However, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the company’s rules and guidelines. This will help you to start getting high grades and earning badges immediately.
Click on “Available Jobs”, and you’ll see the jobs that you’re qualified for. Click on the “Work on This” button for jobs that appeal to you. You’ll need to check the instructions tab, and then you can either play the audio on the page or download it to play on your computer.
You’ll need to complete your transcription on your preferred word processing or text software. After you’ve completed the assignment, you can paste the text into the Transcribe field, then click review and submit. You’re then ready to accept more assignments.
The Potential Drawbacks
No company is perfect, so you need to be realistic about any potential drawbacks before you decide to sign up. The potential drawbacks of CastingWords include:
- Rates are Minimal for Beginners: Since there is a badge system and grade structure, it can be difficult for beginners to earn a decent rate. You will need to earn badges and increase your grade to access higher-paying assignments.
- An Abundance of Feedback: Constructive criticism can be helpful, but the amount of feedback from different people on the platform can feel a little overwhelming, particularly for beginners.
- The Set-Up is a Little Complicated: While the application process is quite straightforward, the overall set up is a little complicated. It may take you a while to get your head around earning badges and improving your grades.
- Delays in Approval: Once you submit an assignment, it can take up to 30 days for it to be approved. This is quite slow compared to other transcription platforms and may be frustrating if you’re waiting to cash out your earnings.
CastingWords is certainly a legit company offering transcription jobs for freelancers around the world. While it is open to beginners looking to build their resumes, you’re likely to find it easier to work for them if you already have experience.
You’ll need to be prepared to put in some work to access the higher-paying assignments. Every assignment you submit will be assessed, and you’ll receive badges for good performance. So, you can’t just jump into the higher-paying work. However, you can expect to receive approximately $1 per audio minute, which can add up to a decent hourly rate if you have a good transcription speed.
The sign up process is straightforward, and you may or may not need to complete a skills test, depending on the information you provide in your application form. Once accepted, you can immediately read through the style guides and get to work. You’ll see all the available assignments on your dashboard, and you can see a snapshot of the work before accepting an assignment.
This is far more flexible than many other platforms, and you can even return an assignment if you find that you will be unable to deliver by the assignment deadline. So, if you’re looking for a transcription gig, CastingWords is certainly worth a try.