If you’re thinking about a side hustle doing transcription, there are a number of platforms that you can try. In this Tigerfish transcription review, we’ll delve into this platform to help provide the details you need to make an informed decision.
A Brief Overview
Tigerfish does have a basic website, but the company has been operating since 1989. The company aims to offer a friendly service providing transcription and writing to assist businesses. Tigerfish has a team of transcribers and guarantees to transcribe any prerecorded or live event within two hours. This turnaround is unprecedented and great service for the client. However, it does mean that as a transcriber, your transcription jobs will involve very tight deadlines.
How Tigerfish Transcription Works
Since the Tigerfish website is quite basic, there are few details about how the process actually works. There is a form on the website for clients to submit their order and provide some basic details. The client can request standard service, which is three to five days deliverable or expedited.
The form states that the Tigerfish team will contact the client to confirm delivery schedules.
The file will be uploaded to the Tigerfish platform and assigned to one of the transcribers. You will then need to submit the completed transcription for review.
The Job Requirements
In order to work for Tigerfish Transcription, you need to be a legal resident or U.S. citizen. You will also need:
- Access to a high-speed internet connection.
- A Windows-based computer.
- A Copy of Express Scribe (This is a free transcription software program, but if you want to continue working with the company, you should purchase a copy of Power Play by Start Stop).
- A telephone number (This is unusual for a transcription company, but Tigerfish stipulates that you may need to be reached regularly by phone).
You will also need to pass a number of skills tests and assessments to qualify, but we will discuss these in more detail below.
See our recommended transcription equipment here.
How Much Can You Earn?
Tigerfish does not publicly disclose the typical rate of pay for transcriptionists using the platform. Once you sign up, you’re likely to find that there is plenty of work, but the pay tends to be quite low.
Perhaps because Tigerfish is targeting newbies, the company does not use the typical pay per audio minute rates. Instead, it uses CPL. This is essentially pay per line rather than an hourly or minute rate.
The typical rates can be as low as $0.03 to $0.04 per line. This works out as approximately $0.005 per word.
The pay can increase as you improve your skill set and transcription standards. More experienced transcriptionists could command $8 to $10 per hour. This is still quite a basic hourly rate compared to other platforms where you need some experience to join.
Again, there is no information on the website about how you will get paid. However, we confirmed that Tigerfish makes payments each week via PayPal.
Tigerfish Transcription Reputation
Tigerfish Transcription has a solid industry reputation. While the company does have a minimalistic website and no Better Business Bureau profile, there are lots of comments on forums and blogs around the internet. Many users praise the amount of available work, but the comments do highlight the low pay rate.
The comments also highlight that the Tigerfish support team is helpful and provides a supportive work environment.
So, while it appears that the pay may be low, Tigerfish does provide a solid option for newbies who may need a little help to build their skill set.
To get started, you need to download the company style guide and read through it. This provides an introduction to the company’s approach and the stylistic conventions they aim to employ.
You will then need to provide a sample of your transcription. You can download an audio file as a test.
This consists of three segments that are five minutes each. These represent the typical transcription tasks. There is an interview, a presentation, and a focus group. Each segment is separated by a second or two of silence.
You will need to transcribe each segment with your name, the segment title, and the file name at the top. You can then save all three transcripts into one document.
It should take approximately 20 minutes to complete each segment. You should time yourself to check if you are hitting this approximate speed. If you are well outside of this time range, you may find that it takes you too long to complete the projects and will struggle with the client deadline.
Once you complete the test, you will need to email the document as an attachment with the subject line “Transcription Test- (Your Name)”. Tigerfish also asks that you let them know how long each segment took in the body of the email. You should also include your phone number and address.
You should also include a brief note describing your educational background and any relevant experience.
The Potential Drawbacks
No company or platform is perfect, so you should be realistic about any possible drawbacks before signing up. The possible drawbacks of Tigerfish Transcription include:
- Low Pay Rates: While Tigerfish is a good place for newbies to gain experience, the rates are low. Even experienced transcriptionists on the platform are only earning approximately $10 per hour, so don’t expect to earn a high hourly rate.
- Software Requirements: While you can complete sample files using the free Express Scribe software, you will need full software to complete future work. This could cost you as much as $200, which will be difficult to recoup given the low hourly rate.
- No Work Guarantees: The amount of work can vary, but this is typical of lots of transcription companies. Some users have reported that available work can come and go. There will be times when there is lots of work, while at other times, it will be slow. This means that you will struggle to earn a full-time income, making it purely a side hustle.
Tigerfish Transcription has a well-established reputation, with many transcriptionists reporting being happy with the platform. The company welcomes newbies, so you don’t need to have any experience if you want to become a transcriptionist. You can perform the initial assessment tests using free software to ensure that you can meet the requirements and feel comfortable with the type of work you will be asked to complete.
However, this free software will not be sufficient for ongoing work, so you will need to invest in a full version of Power Play. This may be prohibitively costly for those who are just looking for a little freelance work to fill a gap in their schedule. Additionally, the base rate is quite low, so you may struggle to reach $8 per hour.
If you’re a complete newbie and are considering transcription, Tigerfish could be a good option. While the rates are low, you can gain some transcription experience that will allow you to apply for higher-paying platforms. While you may need to pay for software, you should be able to use this for all your future transcription projects.