If you’re considering a side hustle and you have great typing skills, transcription may be a good option for you. There are a number of platforms that offer online transcription jobs. Here we’ll explore CrowdSurf to help you decide if this could be the right option for you.
A Brief Overview
CrowdSurf provides on-demand captioning and transcription services to make online media more accessible for the hard of hearing and second language users. The company processes a variety of online media from interviews to cartoons, so they are continually looking for freelancers to produce clean transcriptions.
CrowdSurf works with thousands of independent transcriptionists, even if they have little or no previous experience.
How CrowdSurf Works
CrowdSurf offers custom transcription services. The clients submit small bite-sized video files that are uploaded to the work market. You can then browse the market to pick and choose projects that appeal to you.
Since the files are small, you can fit them around your schedule and there are no commitments for minimum hours or a set number of projects. This means that you can work the hours to suit you and get paid daily.
As you browse the projects, you’ll be able to see a brief overview of any specifics. This will detail if there are any deadline requirements or details you need to know before accepting the project.
After you complete the project, you’ll submit it and it will be reviewed before your payment is credited to your account.
The Job Requirements
CrowdSurf does not require transcriptionists to have a lot of experience, but there are some other basic requirements to join the platform. These include:
- Valid US or Canadian ID
- Have a computer with a reliable internet connection
- Basic typing skills
- Ability to read, speak and write fluently in English
- Excellent proofreading skills
- Good problem solving skills
- Great listening skills
- A team player attitude
CrowdSurf also recommends that you have headphones to cancel ambient noise and the Google Chrome Browser, which works best with the CrowdSurf HITs. It’s also very helpful to have a foot pedal. See our recommended transcription equipment for more details.
How Much Can You Earn?
The pay level depends on the amount of work and proficiency. The work is typically one minute to 10 minutes per audio task. The rate of pay ranges from $0.17 to $0.20 per media minute. There are also additional bonus rates available.
Bear in mind that these rates are per media minute. Most experienced transcriptionists typically need four or five minutes to transcribe one media minute. However, if you’re a newbie, it may take you seven or eight minutes per media minute.
This means there the hourly rate does work out quite low, at approximately $3 per hour or less. However, the jobs are typically less than 10 media minutes, so you can slot the work in and around other tasks.
You’ll receive pay for your completed work each week. CrowdSurf typically makes payments by check, but other payment arrangements may be available if you prefer.
CrowdSurf has a solid reputation on review platforms. On Glassdoor, the company has a rating of 3.4 out of 5. There are negative and positive comments, but many of the comments relate to how easy it is to the platform and the advanced opportunities that are available once you’ve established your expertise.
CrowdSurf is continually looking for freelancers from the US/Canada and international locations. If you meet the requirements, you can get started by signing up to the Work Market. This is where CrowdSurf hires and pays freelancers.
You’ll need to click on the link on the CrowdSurf recruitment page and create a Work Market account. You’ll be asked for your name and email address, then you should choose “Writing and Translation” as a primary industry. The drop-down list will then allow you to select your “Postal or Zip Code”.
The Work Market team will need to review your profile details and tax information, but you can expect to hear back from them in approximately 24 hours.
At this point, you can set up your preferred payment method.
Work Market connects you with employers that offer freelance work. So, once your account is set up, you will need to apply to join as a new CrowdSurf transcriber. You will have the option to review the guidelines before you take a brief assessment to join.
After you pass the assessment, CrowdSurf will set up an account for you on its platform. This takes approximately three days. CrowdSurf will then send your log in instructions to your email.
You’re then ready to browse the available projects on the platform and pick and choose the work of interest to you.
The Potential Drawbacks
No company or platform is without flaws. So, it’s vital you’re realistic about any potential drawbacks before you sign up. The possible drawbacks of CrowdSurf include:
- Very Low Hourly Rate: While CrowdSurf is open to newbies or those with minimal transcription experience, this is reflected in the rates. As a new transcriptionist, it may take up to seven or eight minutes to transcribe one media minute. This means that you may only earn $2 or $3 per hour.
- No Instant Start: The recruitment process is a little long-winded. Not only do you need to join the Work Market, but you then need to sign up for CrowdSurf. This can take over a week, when you consider the wait at each stage. So, if you’re looking to start earning immediately, you may find this frustrating.
- Short Tasks: The tasks on CrowdSurf are typically less than a minute or two long. While this is great to fit around other freelancing tasks, if you are looking for work as a full-time transcriptionist, you may have difficulty filling up your working day.
- No BBB or Trustpilot Rating: Although CrowdSurf has been reviewed on a number of platforms, the company does not have a profile on Trustpilot or the Better Business Bureau.
Unlike many transcription platforms, CrowdSurf does not require that you have any previous transcription experience. While you do need to pass an assessment and demonstrate solid typing skills and attention to detail, even newbies are welcome to join and find work.
The company does not offer the best rates in the transcription market, but it can be a good way to get some experience and earn some cash as you develop your confidence. Aside from a computer with reliable internet connection and a set of headphones, you don’t need any other equipment or gear. This reduces the financial barrier to entry that is often found with transcription platforms that require software, a pedal, and other potentially costly tools.
The application process is a little long-winded, and you will need to wait for approval at several stages. However, once you have an account on the CrowdSurf platform, you can pick and choose projects and work as little or as often as you like. There are even bonuses available as you develop your reputation on the platform.
So, if you’re new to transcription and looking for an opportunity that does not require previous experience, you may find that you enjoy working as a freelancer for CrowdSurf.