TranscribeMe! Is It Worth Your Downtime?

Review of: TranscribeMe
Free to join

Reviewed by:
On June 24, 2015
Last modified:October 21, 2018


TranscribeMe is an online website and pays people to transcribe AUDIO FILES into written transcription. They provide a 100% legitimate work from home opportunity. Several negative factors result in a 3 star rating.


UPDATE: July 3, 2018

I wrote this review 3 years ago, June 23, 2015 to be precise, and it still draws OVER 3,500 readers every month. 82% of those visitors arrive at this article through ‘google search‘ and spend and average of 6:39 minutes on the page (thank you Google Analytics).

This high interest in my review gave me 3,500 reasons for an update. I revisited TranscribeMe to see IF any significant changes took place over the past 3 years.

Basically, they are doing business as they did 3 years ago…people still complaining about ‘unfair reviewers (editors)’, lousy pay and lack of support.

However, I detected a couple of additional tidbits I think are worth letting you know about and added them below.

“Monetize your Downtime” and join a highly acclaimed ‘work from home’ opportunity. This is a pretty good catch phrase aimed at folks looking to earn money from the comfort of their home. Needless to say that the phrase caught my interest and I set out to find out if this opportunity is indeed a good way to make an income in ‘your downtime’.

No matter if you are retired, a student, a stay home Mom or Dad, or even make some money online already, there may be a good chance you are looking for an additional income stream. The subject of my review today is a company that claims to provide the perfect opportunity to do just that.


What Is TranscribeMe!?

TranscribeMe is a Berkeley, Ca. web based service provider that converts any kind of audio content into highly accurate text. This includes Single- and Multi-Speaker content, and all major European and Eastern languages are supported.


  • transcribeme-reviewEnglish (US and all Commonwealth accents)
  • Spanish (European and Latin American)
  • Portuguese (European and Brazilian dialects)
  • Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese dialects)
  • Japanese, German, French, Italian

TranscribeMe uses a proprietary combination of latest speech recognition algorithms and draws on over 30,000 crowd-sourced transcribers all around the world to complete transcripts quickly, confidentially and at an affordable price All major audio and video file formats are accepted and files are uploaded directly from the web browser or with a smartphone app. The output is provided in a range of formats (DOC, PDF, HTML in addition to NVIVO and SRT).



What Is The TranscribeMe Business Opportunity

The company is looking for transcribers which convert audio content into text. But it does not end there. TranscribeMe also offers career advancement opportunities for people which want to move up the career ladder and get into higher paying positions.

Once you grow your skills, you can move into QA (Quality Assurance), first as editor and reviewing, then into Lead QA. From these Part- and Full Time positions, you have the opportunity to advance into a Salaried Position as Project Manager, Recruiter or in Customer Service. The entry point however, is ‘crowd transcriber’.


What Does A Transcriber Do?

Basically, all you have to do is listen to an audio file and type the content in a word processor or software interface. You may transcribe audio from a single speaker, a conversation between two people, or what’s been said in a group meeting or conference call. You also add footnotes, i.e. applause, laughing, chuckles ect. Have a look at the little snippet from a typical transcription:



what is transcribeme



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Application & Qualification Procedure – Requirements

First off, there is no fee. You have to fill out an online form with your general details. A high school degree is the minimum requirement and you must be fluent in English with good grammar and punctuation. The same goes for any other language that is supported by TranscribeMe.

There will be a grammar test and you will have to perform a few transcriptions of audio content. Once you pass the tests, which are not too difficult, in my opinion, you can start working for TranscribeMe immediately. In case you do not pass the test in the first try, they will give you a chance to take the test again after a period of 24 hours.

There are two requirements:

1) You need a computer and stable Internet connection

2) You need to install Google Chrome Web Browser (even before you fill out the application)


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How Much Does TranscribeMe Pay?

As crowd transcriber you will get paid 33 cents per audio minute or $20 per hour. There is a $2 per hour bonus if you transcribe the file accurately and additional editing is not necessary. You will get paid on every Tuesday via Paypal. The payout threshold is $10.


How Does It All Work?

Very seldom will you get a large audio file to transcribe. TranscribeMe developed a system that gives you short snippets at a time, usually between 10 and 30 seconds long. Using their interface, you basically upload your finished transcription to an editor which either accepts your work, or sends it back to you for necessary corrections.

Once you have finished a snippet, you can request a new file to transcribe. It is your choice how much you can and want to work at any given time. You may work 5 hours or just 2, that’s up to you. Of course, it is possible that there is no work available when you log on, but these are rare instances.


Don’t Worry Too Much About Accuracy Requirements! (added 7-3-2018)

Reviewers/Editors will check your work and make changes as they fit. They also can reject your work outright, which means that you will not get paid.

However, TranscribeMe allows an error ceiling of UP TO 30% before editors can reject your work, and this is a hell of a lot leeway. So, don’t worry about it too much if you cannot figure out the spelling of a name, or how to get the formatting right.


What Are The TranscribeMe Complaints?

Before I get into details let me say this. There will always be complaints, warranted or not, with any company, even the best ones. Often times it is not easy to evaluate the relevancy as someone looking in from the outside. Therefore, I take some of the complaints with the famous ‘grain of salt’ and just report them without any judgement. There are basically three topics of complaints from people that work, or worked as transcribers for TranscribeMe:


1) QA/Reviewers Are Unfair

These complaints address an issue many transcribers will encounter. Obviously, it is not always easy to clearly understand what is said in the audio recordings. Although the transcriber may think to have done a good job, that may not be the case. Here is a quote from one disgruntled transcriber:


“[sic-Reviewer] rejects job even if it is of high quality – you won’t get paid for that. Rejects even an hour long file up to $70 if the grumpy QA/Reviewer strikes again. Admins don’t care about your concerns”.


Let me put this in perspective. I found a total of 79 complaints on different sites and forums dating back to 2012. 16 of them addressed this issue, that’s about 20% of all complaints.


2) Support at TranscribeMe Sucks

They don’t use the word “sucks”, but you get the drift. Here is another quote:


“Support section that’s like a ghost – not really there. Site loads really slow. You usually get “send error report” every time you go to a QA session – you won’t get jobs. When a big pool of work is available, after seconds it’s gone because of the big number of employees joining their easy no-need-for-a-high-quality-transcriber/QA qualifying exam. More workers, less jobs. Admins also grumpy”.


I was surprised when I came across 9 similar complaints because fast and good support for independent contractors is immensely  important if you run a service company like TranscribeMe.


3) The Pay Is Lousy!

$20 bucks per hour is not a bad pay, or is it? Let’s face it, you get paid 33 cents per audio minute. But in reality it’s almost impossible to listen to, understand clearly what is being said, AND type it correctly in 60 seconds. Read what these two people had to say:


“I’m in the US, type 75 words per minute, and am multi-degreed. My highest earnings ever were $5 per hour. My mean earnings are $2.60 per hour. My mode earnings are $2.00 per hour. And, no, it’s not because I don’t know what I’m doing”. “Pay is way, way below minimum wage. It can take time to transcribe 1 minute of audio. Starting pay is $0.33 cents paid per transcribed minute. If it takes you 5 minutes to transcribe a minute of audio (which is optimistic as it will take you longer), you’re making $3.96 per hour”.

I know these complaints are warranted because I tested myself by recording 3 minutes of a 2-person conversation in a movie. It took me over 14 minutes and 3 tries to get it right.


4) Not Enough Work Available! (added 7-3-2018)

“All work is currently assigned. Please check back shortly for more work and thank you for working with TranscribeMe.”

I am not sure how it works exactly, but the problem becomes obvious after you work for TranscribMe a while. If you are NOT logging in early, there is hardly any work available for the rest of the day. It seems that work will be assigned to the early birds even if they are still working on an earlier assignment.

You will sit idle unless someone else logs out and leaves some work behind. Best thing to do is to log in early, and if you do get some work, keep logged in and grab what you can get until there is no work available.



Tired Of Working For Others and For Peanuts?

Become your own boss


Is TranscribeMe A Good Opportunity For You?

Let me put it this way: If you are a 2-finger hack on a keyboard, or a 2-thumb typist on your smart phone,  do me, and yourself a favor and forget about TranscribeMe. I honestly can’t see you making it there as transcriber. However, if you are able to type 60 to 80 words per minute, distinguish different accents and voices, AND block out background noises, you may want to give it a try. Since you can start without any investment, you have nothing to lose and may be able to earn some extra income.


I hope you enjoyed reading my TranscribeMe review as much as I liked writing it, and I would love to hear your opinion about it. So, please chime in and let us know what’s on your mind. Before you leave, let me ask you one question.

Since you are here, I assume you are interested in starting your own online business, be your own boss and make a comfortable living online. Am I right? If so, don’t leave just yet. Gimme 2 more minutes of your time and let me show you ……..


An Alternative To TranscribeMe!

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I am not saying that Wealthy Affiliate is what you are looking for; that'[s for you to determine. What I can say however, is that you should not pass up the opportunity to take a “free test drive” and find out first hand what WA has to offer. If you decide that it’s not for you, you can just up and leave….no questions asked and not a single dime out of your wallet.

So, what you say? Come on in and I will greet you personally within the hour.


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That’s all for today folks. Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to leave a comment on your way out.

John Worthy


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51 Responses

  1. Ricardo David Fernandez

    I thought about working as a transcriber, but after reading thee reviews… It is BIG no no! thank you guys for your reviews

  2. Puneeth

    I used to work as a Shift Lead/Project Manager at TranscribeMe. I worked there for around 5 years (from their start-up days). Initially I started out as a transcriber/QA. In my opinion, it’s a good company that pays on time. We see negative comments on some of the best IT companies these days, so I’m not surprised by the comments above. At TranscribeMe, they try to retain those who follow their guidelines and transcribe accurately. Cheers.

  3. Efren Matammu, Jr.

    To John: Wow! Great and very enlightening. Thank you, sir!
    To the Feedback Senders: Thank you much for sharing your eye-opening experience with regard to TM.
    To TranscribeMe!: These talented folks definitely don’t deserve lowlife companies like you. You’ve no right calling yourselves ‘decent’ or ‘respectable’ because you’re not by the way you’ve treated the people whose comments appear here. You’re nothing but GARBAGE.

  4. Liz

    I am currently a transcriber at crowdsurfwork. What is really nice about them, you get paid almost immediately into workmarket ( stay away from mturk, they have reduced the worker’s pay by I think 20%.). From Workmarket you can transfer your money to Paypal, which will take a few hours to a day, where Paypal takes a dollar. What is nice is the bonus payout per week. If you keep up a certain standard, you get paid from $1 for 100 transcribe snippets to $50 for 1000 transcribe snippets. Currently with a bad internet connection, I can only achieve 200 snippets a week.

    • John Worthy

      Hi Liz, thanks for chiming in. I learned about CrowdSurfWork just about 2 weeks ago, and pretty good things. Going to take a closer look at it soon.

  5. Janee

    TranscribMe is just not worth any worker’s time. I really wish I could rate this company zero. There are a number of reviews or posts which reveal that this terrible Scam Company often underpays/does not pay workers.

    Unfortunately, I did not look for the reviews before I joined. They may provide a service to people who need transcription done. However, they provide services by stealing and using their workers. they set a high threshold for payout ($10 at this time). The threshold is considered high because they pay extremely low. You may very well take up to a year or more in some cases to cash out. The work you do is often scrutinized or the value changed by a stringent and inaccurate review process. There is no checks and balances of the review process. They often make mistakes and deduct pay/refuse work in error and retaliate if you complain. Recently, I was let go in retaliation for complaining about the review practices and they claimed that I only had a little over $7 and refused to pay out and deleted my account. What happened when they closed the account? Simple they kept the earned wages claiming it was below 10 threshold so they did not have to pay, though I was not welcome back. This is their usual practice. Taking earned wages and deleting your account with no recourse is DEFINITELY STEALING. Also, what happened to me appears to be the norm. BEWARE before using this company. By the way, I recall my balance was above or at $20. Which means they had to steal some of my balance to begin with to claim it was under threshold. They delete the account and you have no access to view or dispute the pay when they do so. If you have been used by this company please complain to the BBB and any other applicable organization in your area to stop these crooks.

    • John Worthy

      Hi Janee, thanks for your input. Sorry to hear about your bad experience. I am keeping a close eye on this outfit because I hear a lot of similar complaints.

    • maximus

      Tried the exams a few times as well. The correction is an automated process. I suspect, that because the entry exams are review by a computer, if you answer is not identical to what it has, it’s impossible to get 100%. To me, and to the Transcribe Guide, transcription is very subjective. If you don’t use the comma at the exact same place as they would or if you use commas instead of a semicolon, or if you use what they call clean verbatim too “cleanly”, or if you use “interruptions” the wrong way, you’re basically screwed. There are no humans reviewing the entry exams. The computer doesn’t get how subjective transcription can become in some of their exam audio files. One of them gets very confusing as the the interlocutors in the interview cut each other off repeatedly. As inexperienced transcribers, it’s nearly impossible to figure what the computer is expecting us to use to represent the “interruptions” or “false starts”.

      I was doing this expecting to be able to get some extra money now that I have some spare time. But I can tell, only from the entry exam, that there is now way a 60 minute audio file can take less than 60 minutes to transcribe. So there is now way you make 20$ per hour or whatever wage they advertise…

      • John Worthy

        I took the exam just to get more inside info. Passing the exam is not the problem, but the interpretation of their guidelines. As you said, sometimes correct grammar would call for a comma, or semicolon, but they seem to make their own rules, and to get 100% seems to be impossible. However, you may not be able to get to the point where you make 20 bucks an hour in a short time, but with growing experience you will get better and can make some decent extra cash. Don’t give up too soon and keep on hacking away for a while.

    • Mary

      I stuck it out for 18 months trying to give these people the benefit of the doubt, and when it came to the final straw that broke my back, I insisted they close my account and pay the outstanding payment to me immediately or I would spread the word of the disgustingly unethical things that go on there. I’ve been in this industry for many, many years as a professional, and this place takes the cake over all others I have had anything to do with. What is BBB?

      • Vanessa

        Mary, how I wish I’d read your post (and this thread) before trying their exam. I’ve just wasted a whole day trying to understand where their rules start and end as oppose to general grammatical rules. And then your exam is judged by a computer. I was so sure I had got it right. Needless to say I failed the exam.

  6. Cohen

    I tried TranscribeMe (Among several other transcription “opportunities”) some time ago, and it didn’t go very well. For reasons I cannot and will not understand, I simply could NOT pass the entry exam. It got to the point that I had to look up the answers..All of them were exactly the same as what I had. I just couldn’t pass. I was constantly told I failed, and when trying to retake it, they force you to go through the ENTIRE training again, and again, and again…

    Total waste of time. The only decent transcription service I actually found was Rev (Consider doing a review of it in the near future – It’s quite a good service, pays better than TranscribeMe, and offers raises).

    However, as John said in his article, if you are truly looking to make an actual career for yourself by working from home, WA (Wealthy Affiliate) is definitely the way to go. I’ve been there for 4 months now, and I’ve been having a blast. There have obviously been some bumps along the road, but I’m confident that by the end of this year I will be making a full time income, or at least close enough to it that I can feel financially free.

    Great article all around, and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks TranscribeMe is garbage. 33 cents an audio minute is absolutely horrendous, even for the “Work at home transcription” market. Do yourself a favor, anyone who reads this, and take your time elsewhere.

    • John Worthy

      Hey, hey Cohen, thanks for stopping by. There is a lot wrong NOW with TranscribeMe lately. I am hearing a lot of negative reports and that a lot of people just left.

    • Kristy Elliott

      That is because the answers on the exam are different than what they say you should have according to the style guide. For example the style guide says you should write one million, however on the exam the correct answer is 1 million. There are at least four different exam questions with answers that don’t match the style guide. I tried to tell them, and they told me I couldn’t work for them. They are very disreputable.

    • Beth

      I worked for Rev for 18 months and never once saw any way to get a raise. You are either Revver or Revver+ which does not mean a raise, it means you see the jobs 1 1/2 hours before Revvers do. So what is the raise opportunity you mentioned? I would love to know!

      • Emily

        They give you the style guide with all of the answers in it. It’s just your job to look it up, learn the answers, and select the right answer. So in one sense the entry exam is a breeze because TranscribeMe provides you with the style guide which contains the answers. Then, you transcribe 3 sample audio files, using the style guide that they provide. There are certain guidelines you must learn & use, because you can’t just type whatever you want, using bad grammar and sentence structure. They want to make sure you’re at least willing to read through their style guide before trying to work for them. I’ve had a pretty good experience so far. They are picky, because they have to be… the reviewers don’t want to spend ALL their time correcting every single thing that I type. They want a fairly good file so they only have to tweak a few things before sending it back to the customer.

        • Emily V

          Oops, I’m actually a different “EMILY” than the original poster about the “cheat sheet” 🙂 I’m Emily V.

    • Shanielle

      Hey Could you send me a direct link to the answers please.

    • Kandi

      Hey Emily.
      Could you provide me with a direct link to the answers please

    • Rucker

      Hey Emily.
      Could you provide me with a direct link to the answers please

    • sonny

      hello, emily,
      can you send me the link to transcribeme answers…I jus couldn’t get to pass the exam passed two of the audio files at other times one…just couldn’t get their scheme. please, send link to

    • Rafh

      Hi Emily, tried the exam. all of my answers in part 1 are correct. On part two, just passed 1 out of 3, is it possible to send me the direct link to the answers as they are set in private? or you can send the document in my email- Thanks in advance.

  7. Osltiavsiiaak

    I found that the Wealthy Affiliate site was very overwhelming (I know this is a late reply, but it is still relevant so I see no harm done.)

    • John Worthy

      Thanks for stopping by. You are right, WA can be overwhelming in the beginning. But the wealth of information is priceless. However, if you are really interested in starting your own online business, WA stand head over shoulders above anything else out there.

  8. Miss Jones

    My question is a basic, who and what type of question.
    In marketing, who is it that pays me, since I have no products to sell? My guess is that the affiliate company is happy I am advertising for them, and agrees to pay me for every bit of business I stear to them. Is this correct?

    • John Worthy

      Hi Miss Jones. I assume you are talking about affiliate marketing. Yes, you can become an affiliate of Amazon, for example and promote any product you wish. If someone buys through your advertisement (website, email, FB page etc.) you will get paid a commission. If you need more details, get back at me.

      • lolduh

        Everyone knows Wealthy Affiliate is a scam, I mean be realistic with yourself for a minute. Anyone who claims they found a way to get super rich and then wants to share it with other people, diluting their own method of gaining wealth, is pretty obviously a scam.

        • John Worthy

          It’s really funny when folks use a stupid alias like LOL DUH to throw uneducated scam accusation at a company that is in business for over 10 years. If you would have a grain of brain you would be able to comprehend what you are reading, and it would be very clear, even to you, that WA is NOT a scam.

          Show me ONE instance where WA, or even one of its affiliates, claims to have found a way to get super rich. Just one. You won’t be able to do so, because that’s simply not what WA is all about. I, in my review and other write-ups, make it very clear that it takes the willingness to learn and work hard to succeed in internet marketing. Nowhere is there any mention of a time frame to get rich, or as you say “super rich”. To the contrary.

          Go back and read my review again, or better yet, take a look at the inside of WA yourself, before spouting your “verdict”. It is 100% free to do so, and then, after you take the free first 10 lessons of the course, and being told that it takes effort, knowledge and hard work to succeed, then come back and tell us that WA is a scam.

          Yes, it takes time, hard work and determination, maybe something you have absolutely no clue about. It took me 6 months to make my first few dollars and then another 8 months to make a livable income. Have I been scammed by WA? I don’t think so. I was able to build a sustainable business for myself. My total investment? $47 each month and about $150 for several domain names. Hosting is free to WA members. Is that a scam?

          You choose the correct alias for you LOL.

  9. Adam Gusky

    I have been writing for the college student newspaper for some time now. Do you have any recommendations on how I can advance from this position? It is basically unpaid although there are incentives, but my articles have been getting a decent amount of shares. Do you know of any websites that might hire me as a freelance writer?

  10. Ampali

    Every video is only a few minutes…and the training is focusing on mostly how to set up the autoresponder for Sendlane. If you did not buy Upsell 1, the training is infact NOT USEFUL AT ALL. You cannot use it to build your low list at all…Everything is simplified to use of the autoresponder of the SENDLANE.

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