Transcription can be a great career or side hustle, but it is crucial that you choose legit platforms. There are many transcription jobs out there, and some are better than others. So, here we’ll look at Speechpad to help you gather the details you need to make an informed decision.
A Brief Overview
If you’re unfamiliar with what is involved in transcription, don’t worry. In simple terms, transcription involves listening to an audio file and typing what you’re hearing — putting audio or video into text. Where it can get challenging is that the speaker may have an accent, may be hard to understand, or may not enunciate. So, you need to have good hearing in addition to typing skills. However, transcription can be very rewarding. You could be working on anything from dictated notes for a business through to legal transcription.
How Speechpad Works
Speechpad has been around since 2008, offering transcription services to customers around the world. The company also provides additional services, including translation and captioning.
The client uploads audio or video files to the Speechpad website. They can then specify the type of work they need. This will then assigned to one of the 5,000+ transcribers working for Speechpad.
The company works 24/7, so as a transcriber working for Speechpad, you should have work whenever you’re available. Each job is posted on the site’s job board. As a member, you can access the board and search for jobs. You can even filter them according to your preferences. So, you can look for jobs at a particular length or at a certain price.
Once you find a job you like, just click the “Accept Job” button. Just be aware that every job has a deadline. You’ll be expected to deliver a quick turnaround and then submit the work on time to get paid.
There is also a “Get Qualified” section on the job board. This section lists the jobs that Speechpad determines that you are not yet qualified for. You can click on the button to check what you would need to do to access these jobs. This may involve taking a test.
The Qualified section is color-coded and easy to understand. The green areas highlight the areas where you’ve already earned a qualification, while the gray areas indicate areas where you can apply to become qualified. There are different types of qualifications, including those that require a new transcription style, those that are invitation-only, and those that require a background check. Getting qualified will open up more job opportunities and increase your earning potential.
For example, one area of jobs that is invitation only is “Rush Job”. These are only offered to those who have maintained a 96 or higher rating and have completed a minimum of 500 audio minutes of transcription on the site. Your rating is based on the average of your last ten assignments.
So, as a newbie, you may find that you’re not likely to qualify for jobs, but it is worth persevering, as you’ll qualify for more work as you gain experience.
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The Job Requirements
Speechpad is based in California, but it is open to transcriptionists from around the world. Unlike many transcription companies, Speechpad doesn’t have stringent technical requirements.
You will need the basics, including:
- A computer with a reliable internet connection
- Headphones (preferably noise canceling)
- Foot Pedal to control the audio playback.
Please see our article on transcription equipment for more details on what you’ll need.
How Much Can You Earn?
Speechpad offers transcriptionists a base rate of $0.25 per audio minute. However, this can increase to as much as $2.50 per audio minute. If you speak a second language, you can further boost your earnings as a translator, earning $2 to $5 per audio minute.
The pay rate is based on each minute of audio or video, regardless of how long it takes you to complete the work. Speechpad states that there are many factors impacting the pay per minute rate. This includes language, audio quality, and client priority.
Speechpad makes payments via PayPal. So, it is important to create a PayPal account before signing up, as you will need to provide the details during your application.
You’ll receive immediate credit for work once it is approved. You also don’t need to request a payment. Speechpad completes transfers of earnings twice a week.
There are a number of similar platforms that offer flexible transcription work, and Speechpad is a solid choice. However, your income will be limited with any of these platforms. If you want to increase your earning potential, working as a freelance transcriptionist could be a better option for you. The free mini course from Transcribe Anywhere will help you to get started.
Speechpad has been around for over a decade and has established a solid reputation. The company has an “Excellent” 4.9 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot. However, most of these reviews are based on customers who have ordered transcription services.
For transcriptionists, a more appropriate review site would be Glassdoor or SiteJabber. SpeechPad has a 4 out of 5 and 4.2 out of 5 rating respectively, on those sites. Many users praise the availability of work and level of customer support.
Unlike many transcription platforms, it is relatively easy to apply for Speechpad. You will need the basic transcription skills, such as the ability to type accurately and quickly. Some jobs also require a background check as you’ll be working with sensitive material.
To apply, you need to complete the application form and take a short test. This test is to determine your typing speed and accuracy rather than testing your transcription skills. This makes the platform quite newbie-friendly.
Once Speechpad reviews your application, you’ll start as a Level One Transcriptionist. As you gain experience with the platform, you’ll level up. This promotion will also give you a bump in your rate of pay.
Upon acceptance, you’ll have access to the Speechpad transcription console. This is the main dashboard of the platform, where you’ll obtain and complete work.
The editor on the left-hand side allows you to type directly, or you can just copy and paste from your Word document. On the right is a built-in audio player, so you can access the files and an editor on one screen.
It is important to familiarize yourself with the console, particularly the countdown timer. This is in the upper right corner and displays how much time there is remaining to submit the work.
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The Potential Drawbacks
No company or platform is without faults, so it is important to be aware of the potential drawbacks before you sign up.
- Low Pay Rate for Newbies: When you begin as a Level One Transcriptionist, you will be on the lowest pay rate of just $0.25 per audio minute. This can be frustrating, but if you persevere, you can be promoted and receive a higher rate.
- Limited Jobs: Another potential downside is that there are few entry-level jobs. Many jobs on the platform require a higher rating, so it can take a while to get promoted.
- Ratings System: The main complaints about Speechpad appear to be related to their rating system. Some users complain about the system being unfair.
Speechpad has been around for over a decade and has a solid reputation within the industry. Although it is easy to join, there are limited opportunities for newbies, so it can be a little frustrating to start. You’ll start at level one and need to get promoted to open up additional work opportunities. However, Speechpad does allow you to take tests to get qualified for other levels of work.
While it may take you a while to move off the $0.25 per minute rate, once you get promoted, you’ll have access to higher-paying projects, making it far more worth your while.
If you’re interested in transcription work, Speechpad one of the better options. However, your income on these types of platforms will be limited. If you want to significantly increase your income potential, offer transcription services on a freelance basis gives you a chance to earn much more money for your time. We recommend checking out the free course from Transcribe Anywhere to learn more about how to maximize your income and work from home.