How To Earn Daily Income as a Freelance Transcriptionist in South Africa

How To Earn Daily Income as a Freelance Transcriptionist in South Africa

Transcription is one of the most accessible online side hustles, allowing flexible workers to provide a valued service to clients globally while earning daily. By transcribing audio and video files into text, freelance transcriptionists can make over R30,000 per month working from home.

Here is a guide to getting started as a freelance transcriptionist able to cash out earnings daily.

What is Transcription?

Transcription is the process of creating a written document of content from an audio or video recording. Transcripts capture every word spoken along with speaker identification and key details.

Common transcription services include:

  • Legal – Transcribing depositions, court hearings, arbitration.
  • Medical – Doctor notes, psychiatric evaluations, patient interviews.
  • Business – Meetings, conferences, earnings calls, presentations.
  • Media – Interviews, podcasts, speeches, YouTube videos.
  • Academic – Lectures, seminars, language classes.

Transcripts are needed by researchers, journalists, doctors, lawyers, businesses and more to easily search and reference recorded speech.

Why Transcription Works Well as a Daily Side Hustle

Freelance transcription provides these advantages that make it a sustainable daily income stream:

  • Work from anywhere – Only requires a computer and internet access.
  • Choose your own hours – Set a flexible schedule that fits your lifestyle.
  • Variety of projects – Transcribe different industries, speakers and content types.
  • Get paid quickly – Many companies offer weekly payouts or daily PayPal payments.
  • Transferable skills – Useful listening and typing skills.
  • Consistency – In demand and recession-proof service with a steady supply of new clients.
  • Low startup costs – No certification required and minimal equipment needed.
  • Scalable – Can start small part-time and increase your workload as your skills grow.

With those perks, transcription is an accessible and reliable way to earn income from home without a huge time commitment.

How Much Do Freelance Transcriptionists Earn?

Most transcription services pay per audio/video minute transcribed rather than hourly. New freelancers typically earn around R3 – R5 per minute starting out.

At a rate of R3 per minute, transcribing:

  • 10 hours per week (25 hours per month) you can earn around R4,500 per month.
  • 20 hours per week (50 hours per month) you can earn around R9,000 per month.
  • 40 hours per week (100 hours per month) you can earn over R18,000 per month.

Experienced transcriptionists charging higher rates of R8 – R12 per minute can earn up to R30,000+ per month transcribing full time.

Most companies also base pay on accuracy levels achieved, rewarding higher than 98% accuracy. This incentivizes quality work.

How Fast Can You Transcribe?

With practice, you can transcribe audio 3-4x faster than playback speed. Transcribing at even just 2-3x speed significantly boosts your effective hourly income.

Here are typical speeds based on experience:

  • Beginner: 60 minutes per audio hour
  • Intermediate: 45 minutes per audio hour
  • Advanced: 30 minutes per audio hour
  • Expert: 15-20 minutes per audio hour

Improving your listening skills, hotkey usage and software proficiency will help you transcribe faster over time.

5 Recommended Companies to Transcribe For

These leading transcription companies offer work you can perform from home to earn daily:

  • Rev – Top freelance transcription site paying up to $1 per audio minute. Daily payout.
  • GoTranscript – Hires South African transcribers starting at $0.60 per minute. Daily payments.
  • Scribie – Audio and video transcription service paying via PayPal daily.
  • Way With Words – Reputable agency with transcription jobs starting at R2 per minute.
  • TranscribeMe – Lists African transcription jobs paying via PayPal weekly.

Sign up on each site to access their audio test to get approved. Having a fast, accurate typing speed is key.

Skills Needed to Succeed as a Transcriber

These skills will help you thrive in your transcription side hustle:

  • Fast, accurate typing – Key ability is quickly and precisely transcribing speech. 80+ WPM recommended.
  • Good listening skills – Able to comprehend different speakers, accents and audio quality.
  • Grammar and language proficiency – Produce clean, readable transcripts free of typos.
  • Tech-savvy – Using apps like Express Scribe to optimize efficiency.
  • Research ability – Look up industry-specific terms and jargon.
  • Time management – Juggle multiple projects and meet quick turnarounds.
  • Attention to detail – Catch every word while identifying speakers and sounds.

As you gain experience, continue refining your software usage, keyboard shortcuts and focus stamina. These will help maximize your productivity and income.

Getting Started Step-by-Step

Follow this process to launch your freelance transcription career:

  1. Pick 1-2 companies to apply to first like Rev and GoTranscript.
  2. Take skills tests to get approved to work on their platforms.
  3. Download any required transcription software like Express Scribe.
  4. Set a daily/weekly schedule based on your availability.
  5. Claim jobs that fit your experience level and meet your income goals.
  6. Transcribe with high accuracy by following style guides.
  7. Optimize your setup and shortcuts to increase speed.
  8. Provide excellent service to earn 5-star feedback.
  9. Expand to more companies and increase your workload over time.
  10. Set income targets and monitor progress.

Pick 1-2 companies to apply to first like Rev and GoTranscript

Don’t spread yourself too thin starting out.

Pick 1-2 reputable transcription companies to apply to first like Rev and GoTranscript so you can focus on doing great work for them.

These platforms have high volumes of transcription work available in diverse niches, making them ideal to gain experience with.

As you establish your reputation, you can expand to additional companies.

Take skills tests to get approved to work on their platforms

Companies like Rev and GoTranscript require passing a skills test to start working with them and to assess your proficiency.

These tests evaluate your typing speed, accuracy, grammar, listening comprehension and use of their transcription software.

Passing demonstrates you can produce quality transcripts consistently.

Take time to practice and familiarize yourself with their style guides to optimize your test scores.

This will unlock higher paying transcription work.

Download any required transcription software like Express Scribe

Many transcription companies either recommend or require using certain software like Express Scribe to enhance productivity.

Software like this allows you to control audio playback, insert timecodes, and use shortcuts to transcribe as efficiently as possible.

Take time to customize settings, practice using hotkeys and listen with headphones to optimize your setup.

This will help maximize your speed and accuracy.

Set a daily/weekly schedule based on your availability

To earn consistently, establish a set schedule for when you will work on transcription based on your availability.

Block out minimum 2-3 hours per day or 10+ hours per week for transcribing.

Treat this time seriously by turning off notifications and avoiding distractions.

Setting a routine will help ensure you meet your income goals week after week. You can adjust your schedule over time based on demand.

Claim jobs that fit your experience level and meet your income goals

Be strategic in selecting transcription jobs to work on.

Especially when starting out, claim shorter audio files under 60 minutes in length and topics you are familiar with.

This will help you gain confidence, increase your speed and earn positive reviews.

Over time, expand to longer, more complex files to increase your rates and pay.

Be selective about the work that will help meet your weekly/monthly income targets.

Transcribe with high accuracy by following style guides

Accuracy is critical to thriving as a transcriptionist. Follow all provided style guides closely and don’t rush through files.

Triple check your work to ensure near perfect accuracy before submitting.

Ask companies for feedback on your transcripts to continuously improve.

Taking your time to produce impeccable work will enable you to access higher paying transcription projects over time.

Optimize your setup and shortcuts to increase speed

Invest time upfront optimizing your home office setup, software settings and keyboard shortcuts.

Things like using a foot pedal, gaming mouse and touch typing techniques significantly cut down on transcription time.

Refer to guides for your software to identify shortcuts to insert common elements like timecodes and speaker IDs swiftly.

Aim to keep reducing your minutes per audio hour.

Provide excellent service to earn 5-star feedback

Go above and beyond to provide a great experience for clients.

Reply promptly to messages, ask clarifying questions when unsure and build rapport with requesters.

This will lead to 5-star client feedback, helping you secure more work.

If issues arise with audio quality or instructions, communicate politely and constructively.

Expand to more companies and increase your workload over time

Once you’ve gained experience and positive ratings, expand your reach by applying to other leading remote transcription companies.

Gradually take on more files and hours to increase your weekly income.

But don’t overcommit – only take on what you can handle while maintaining quality standards.

Set income targets and monitor progress

Establish clear weekly and monthly income goals based on your financial needs and schedule.

Track your productivity, hours worked and earnings consistently. Identify if you need to adjust your schedule or rates to hit your targets.

Transcribing allows flexible income scaling, so leverage data to guide business growth.

With dedication and persistence, you can build a thriving transcription career by following this step-by-step process.

Gain clients, excel at transcribing and watch your income grow.

Key Takeaways

  • Freelance transcription allows you to work remotely and get paid out income daily.
  • Beginners can earn R4,500+ per month transcribing 10 hours per week.
  • Top companies include Rev, GoTranscript, Scribie, Way With Words and TranscribeMe.
  • Expect starting pay around R3 per audio minute transcribed.
  • Fast, accurate typing and listening skills are essential to succeed.
  • Following a structured process will help build your freelance transcription career.


Freelance transcription provides an excellent opportunity to generate income fast with minimal experience required.

If you have strong listening skills and typing ability, signing up with leading remote transcription companies can quickly lead to consistent daily earnings.

Start part-time and provide stellar service to grow your workload and rates over time.


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About the author

Kevin is a location independent freelancer, blogger, and side hustler located in South Africa. Originally from Kenya, he worked as a digital marketing developer for 5 years before making the leap to full-time freelancing.

Kevin has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur Magazine and The South African for his work promoting freelancing and side hustles in South Africa. When he's not working with clients or updating Freelancian, you can find him exploring new destinations as a digital nomad.

Want to share your own freelancing or side hustle story? Have a question for Kevin? Just want to say hello? You can contact Kevin and the Freelancian team at:

Email: [email protected]
X: @freelancian

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