Hi, and thanks for dropping by to check out my CastingWords Review.
It's easy to dream of working from home. Waking up with peace of mind... no stressful commute, no annoying coworkers, no clock to watch all day. It would be nice, right?
Of course, dreaming of that life and living it are two different things.
CastingWords may be able to help. They have transcribing jobs you can do from home.
If you’re new to transcribing, or experienced, there are many companies offering similar work at home opportunities. Some are legit, and some are not so legit.
In this review I'll go over how CastingWords works, what they do, who they are, and most importantly, what they can do for you. Specifically, I'll cover the following topics:
- What is CastingWords?
- Is CastingWords Transcription Legit?
- How Does CastingWords Transcription Work?
- CastingWords Transcription Reviews and Complaints
- What I Like About CastingWords
- What I Don’t Like About It
- Where Do You Go From Here?
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for CastingWords Transcription. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What Is CastingWords?
CastingWords (CW) is a transcription company that has been around since 2005 (November of 2005 to be exact). Its headquarters is found in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Established by Rachel Pearson and Nathan McFarland, their main goal is to connect their customers with skilled transcribers and provide a source of income for freelancers/transcriptionists all over the world.
They've come a long way since they started. They hired in-house employees and their freelancers work as transcribers, editors, and many other roles.
CastingWords has grown into a global company... today serving a wide range of customers and hiring freelancers from all across the globe. In fact, they’re also selling their transcription service in many different languages now.
Is CastingWords Transcription Legit?
CastingWords has been in the transcribing business for around 15 years (at the time of this review). They've also established themselves as one of the top go-to services for transcription needs.
Having said that, it's fair to question any and all work-at-home jobs. From MLM's and online money-making "opportunities" to flat-out scams... the work-at-home industry has a bad reputation.
And when it comes to transcription jobs, scam accusations are usually born out of frustration with things like poor audio quality and low pay, rather than proof that something is an actual scam.
Fair enough. People are entitled to their opinion and I can't speak for someone else's experience.
Fortunately, CastingWords is a legit company. Despite some of the negative reviews, they've been featured in the Wall Street Journal and have been rated well among several of the best transcribing companies.
Again, although they have their fair share of negative reviews (I’ll talk more about these below), CastingWords is not a scam.
Moving on, we'll explore the possibilities and what it takes to work for this company. Is it for you? Will you be happy with the working environment and their system of dealing with independent contractors/freelancers.
Transcribing is not for everyone. While many transcribers make a decent living from it, it can be stressful with low pay when you're starting out. And unlike a traditional job where there is always something to do, freelancing puts the pressure on you.
If you're just looking for something simple to put a few extra bucks in your pocket, or something to do in your downtime (between transcription jobs), survey sites like surveyjunkie.com and swagbucks.com are also an option.
They don't pay much of course, nor do they have the potential a good transcription job does, but if you've never made money online before they can be a good way to get started.
They may even be a stepping stone to something more serious if that's what you're looking for, like an online business.
You may be at home with young ones to look after or dealing with a medical issue for example, and working from home is more than something you want. It might be something you need...
If that’s the case and an online income is what you want, knowing how and where to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
How Does CastingWords Transcription Work?
CastingWords hires freelancers/independent contractors to do transcription jobs for their clients.
As a freelancer, your job requires you to transcribe and edit your work and meet CastingWords’ standards. Your job is more than listening to audio/video files and writing them down – the work you submit must have high accuracy and if you’re familiar with transcribing work, you know this type of job is strict with proper pronouns, spellings, punctuation marks, and so on...
Sometimes, the company and their clients will also give you special instructions.
Since this transcribing job is a work from home opportunity, you’ll also get the perks of being self-employed. So yes, you can work anywhere you like and at any time you want. This is the type of job where all you really need is a computer, quality audio headset, a quiet place to work and of course, an internet connection.
I know I don’t need to tell you how great it is to work at home, but it does have challenges and knowing why you're doing it is important.
You will of course have your specific reasons, but the general benefits include getting to manage your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.
Your only real obligation to CastingWords is to submit high-quality transcriptions (meet their requirements and pass their review). And of course, you should submit all your assignments on time as there are deadlines to follow.
These are the types of jobs you’ll find at CastingWords:
- Transcribing audio/video files
- Editing transcripts
- Determining the audio quality of files sent by clients
- Grading transcripts and edits made by transcriptionists/editors
- Approving transcriptions and edits made on them
CastingWords Transcription Jobs - Step by Step
Here are the steps to doing your transcription jobs at CastingWords…
- Once accepted, go to the Available Jobs list on your Workshop page to pick an assignment (you can get more than one). Note that the number of assignments you’ll find in your account will depend on your current level as a transcriber.
- When you find something you’re interested in, click on it to open in Preview mode. There, you can read the instructions regarding that particular assignment. You’ll also find specific/additional instructions from the customer or CastingWords itself.
- If you’ve decided on getting the assignment, click on the Work on This button to accept the task.
- You have the option of downloading the file to your computer and doing the transcription on a Word document (or something similar). They also have a built-in player on their page if you want to work directly from there.
- Do the transcription.
- When done, just copy and paste your work into the Transcription field on their page.
- Before hitting the submit button, make sure you check your work first. They have built-in tools which are really cool.
- I encourage you to check your work for errors several times before submitting it and at this point, make sure everything is how you want it to be (structure, format, etc.).
- Fill out the comment field. It should contain an assurance from you that you’ve done all the necessary research with regards to proper pronouns, spelling, etc. And if you’re unsure about anything, you should also mention your concerns in this field.
- Click on the Submit Job button to submit your work for review.
Pretty straightforward stuff, but here are some important notes to keep in mind:
- You can return assignments by using their system. So, if something comes up from your end and you’re sure you won’t be able to meet their deadlines, you can simply return the task to CastingWords.
- It’s important to meet your deadlines when working for CastingWords. You’ll see a live countdown clock as soon as you accept an assignment, and you should be conscious of this while the task is under your name. Please know that failure to meet deadlines can result in getting poor scores and losing badges.
- In CastingWords, other freelancers may check your transcription work. There are also CastingWords employees who perform the review. Therefore, your work needs to pass their reviews to get approved (and paid).
- Many people search online to make money because they need it immediately, so please keep in mind it can take up to 30 days for a transcription assignment to even be approved. It particularly takes longer to approve works done by new transcriptionists (if you’re new to CastingWords, your work will have to go through several reviews).
- Transcription and editing jobs pay are bonus-based. Therefore, to earn a substantial amount of money, you’ll need to perform above their minimum passing grade.
CastingWords Jobs, Badges, and Grades
When working at CastingWords, your amount of pay will depend highly on your grades and badges. This sort of functions as their incentive for you to aim high and produce high quality work.
Upon activation (when you first get accepted), you’ll be given a New Transcriber badge. And then you’ll be given a Beginner badge when you get your first assignment approved. After submitting 10 assignments (these should all be approved), they’ll give you your Working Hard badge.
Badges are important because the more badges you accumulate, the more assignments you'll have available to you (also, the higher paying jobs are only accessible by those with numerous badges).
Every time you submit an assignment, your badge level will either increase or decrease. To ensure you’ll always have high scores on your badges, you’ll need to be very careful with your work and aim for high accuracy.
Your track record (regarding your badges) will also affect your future grades and overall standing with the company. Being consistent with your performance for example, will have a stabilizing effect on your CastingWords career.
Now, should you have a history of low grades and low scores/badges, fewer jobs might become available to you – until finally, there won’t be any available transcription jobs for you to work on anymore.
CastingWords has a Workshop page for you as a freelancer. There are 3 main sections here –
- Your Dashboard
- Available Jobs
- My Jobs (this contains your accepted assignments)
CastingWords’ Workshop page also serves as your guide while working for them as an independent contractor. You will need to familiarize yourself with their Main Style Guide and Quick Start Guide in order to do your job well.
Understanding their guides and knowing them thoroughly will also enable you to meet their standards.
Remember, your transcription work will need to pass their review/s. Also, getting high scores/grades means getting better paying jobs in the end.
Here are just some examples of things contained in their guidelines:
- For verbatim assignments, you should write everything exactly as you hear them (including background sounds, grammatical errors, fillers, etc.).
- Use of appropriate tags – such as [?] for things you’re unsure of.
- Verbatim assignments are not to be paraphrased.
- You must follow their formatting guidelines.
- For non-verbatim assignments, these will need to be cleaned up by not including stutters, false starts, and fillers.
- It’s your duty as a transcriptionist to verify certain items (like proper nouns, spelling, unusual words) before submitting your final work to CastingWords.
CastingWords Customer Support
You’ll be glad to know that CastingWords has a great customer support system. They do suggest checking out their FAQs page first before reaching out to them for questions and concerns, but they have these forms of communication:
- Email – You can submit a support ticket via email.
- Each job assignment comes with a Report a Problem button.
- There’s a Help tab on their Workshop page that you can click on to submit a support ticket.
- Facebook group – You can go to their Facebook group page to find help about anything. Fellow members can also help each other out.
CastingWords Freelance Application
Here are the requirements when applying for CastingWords Transcription jobs:
- You must be at least 18 years old (or the legal age in your country).
- You must live in any of their supported countries.
- It must be legal for you to work as an independent contractor for CastingWords.
- You must have a verified PayPal account (to accept payments from the company).
How to Apply
Below are the steps to applying for CastingWords Transcription Jobs:
- Register on this page and fill in their application form.
- If you are accepted (which may happen immediately according to some reports) you will receive a welcome email from them.
From here you can start looking for work immediately.
However, I recommend familiarizing yourself with ALL their guidelines and rules first. Remember, you want to get high grades and earn badges to make high paying jobs available to you at the soonest time possible.
Now, if you’re taken to a test page after submitting your application, it means you need to pass their test first before getting accepted. Expect a short test on transcribing for this. It would be good idea to go through their guidelines first before taking the test.
You can then expect an email from CastingWords (regarding the results) in about two weeks. If you get accepted, you can proceed to finding assignments and working on your first jobs.
There’s also a chance they’ll reject your application. If this happens, you may or may not be allowed to re-apply. It really depends on why you got rejected in the first place. But if you’re eligible for a re-take, you can do so after one week.
If, for whatever reason, you don't get accepted or discover that transcription work is not for you, you can also earn some extra money with online survey sites.
Market research companies like Survey Junkie are a simple way to get paid for your opinion. Swag Bucks is another site that pays for doing things you may be doing online anyway, like searching the web, watching videos and visiting websites.
Having said that, these sites won't make you rich. But, they're a good way to get started if you've never made money online before.
For a more serious income, an online business may be what you're looking for.
Making money from home might be something you need because of medical issues, children to look after, or maybe you're just tired of working for a boss.
If that’s the case, knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
What Does CastingWords Pay?
You can expect to be paid around $1 (more or less) per audio minute when you work for CastingWords.
Unlike some transcription companies such as SpeakWrite, CastingWords doesn't have a standard payment schedule for their transcription and editing jobs. There are factors to consider as mentioned earlier, such as your grades, badges, track record, and also the customer’s budget for the task.
With CastingWords’ transcription and editing jobs, they’ll pay you more when you consistently perform well. It’s very much different from how they pay their other freelancers who do grading tasks and audio assessments, for example.
You can look at the Avg Pay column on your dashboard to get an idea as to the average payment you can expect by doing a transcription job. Just know that this is based on getting an average grade of 7 (out of 10).
You can also check out the Pay/Min (Pay per minute) column to see how much jobs are paid per audio minute and compare several jobs in this column to see your earning potential with each task. And again, keep in mind they used an average grade of 7 for their computations.
At this point, let me remind you that getting grades anywhere from 0 to 4 are considered unacceptable. Jobs with failing grades are discarded by the company and you won’t get paid for these. You need to have a grade of at least 5 to get the base pay amount allotted for the job.
PayPal Payments for CastingWords Transcription Jobs
CastingWords will only pay through PayPal, so it’s a must for you to have a verified PayPal account when you decide to work for them.
I’m glad to report they’ll also pay the PayPal fees, so you’ll get your full pay when they transfer your earnings to your PayPal account.
Their minimum requirement for payout is only $1, so that’s quite easy to achieve.
Just know they only process payments every Friday (10AM Pacific Time), so you should request for the release of your payments ahead of time (before Friday) if you intend to withdraw your money from them.
CastingWords Transcription Reviews and Complaints
I found both positive and negative feedback on CastingWords Transcription reviews.
On Glassdoor, CastingWords got an overall rating of only 2.6 out of 5, which could be better... so I I did a little investigating...
I looked at some of the positive reviews and saw many of them had these things to say:
- High-quality work on CastingWords will eventually lead to high paying assignments.
- They always pay on time.
- Their Facebook group has a nice community of freelancers.
- CastingWords’ customer support team is great.
- It’s a good place to start if you’re just a beginner transcriber.
- It’s a nice place to make side hustles.
- You can learn and earn while working for them as a transcriptionist.
- It can take some time to earn a sufficient amount of money from the company, but once you start getting good grades and scoring high, you can make a decent income from them.
Well, it seems to me people are indeed making money from CastingWords as transcriptionists/freelancers. Once you reach the point where you’re consistently getting good grades (and with a lot of badges), you can make a full-time income from their available jobs.
But you must establish yourself first and gain experience with them. Newer transcribers and people with less positive things to say, said this...
- Pay is low, especially in the beginning.
- There’s no guarantee of work and there are dry spells such as during the summer months.
- Some people considered working for CastingWords as a waste of time.
- For some people, CastingWords has a chaotic working atmosphere.
- Some people complained of inconsistent editing.
I think I can see the problem with the negative reviews. For one, starting as a new transcriber at CastingWords can be tough because new transcriptionists are placed on a level where their tasks are checked thoroughly (really thoroughly, and by several people).
I can just imagine having to meet the standards and expectations of different people – that can be confusing and frustrating, to say the least. And like many things in life (going to gym for example), it can be frustrating and uncomfortable at first.
I think staying at the bottom (low grades, few badges) for a long time can take its toll. And this may be what happened to those who were not happy with their jobs at CastingWords. I’m not blaming them… in fact, I understand them..
What I Like About CastingWords
- They’re providing job opportunities for freelancers.
- Their transcription jobs are work from home gigs, which is great.
- Their structure is built with opportunities for growth. You’ll get automatically promoted by the quality of your work (performance-based).
- They have lots of jobs available.
- They provide a good learning experience.
- They’re known for having a great support team.
What I Don't Like
- It can be pretty hard for beginners to earn a decent amount of money in the beginning.
- When just starting, getting feedback from many different people can be quite overwhelming.
- I think their setup is not very beginner-friendly.
Where Do You Go From Here?
CastingWords is a legit company where you can find legit transcribing jobs. And if you already have transcription experience, you might find it easy to work for them.
As a beginner, you may also consider working for them as a way to gain experience. If you're just looking for a payday, it'll probably be a struggle. But if you treat your experience as a way to advance your skillset and learn about the work-at-home industry, you'll get far more value from CastingWords.
For those willing to learn from their mistakes, I think they’ll make for a good training ground. Casting Words' general guidelines are also applicable to other transcription jobs, so you can apply what you learn to your future endeavors as a transcriber.
Working from home is not for everyone, but jobs like this give you the freedom to manage your time (and achieve work-life balance effectively). If you’re a stay-at-home parent, a student, or have health issues, it might be difficult to work a regular job.
Work-at-home opportunities like CastingWords can provide independence and allow you to work on your own terms. You know... no bosses, no annoying co-workers, no “office hours.”
A work-at-home job can also be a great jumping off point to something bigger, and an online business may be what you want.
With all the scams and schemes out there though, knowing how and where to get started the right way is what you need in order to get what you want.
If you're just looking for a simple way to make some money though, something you don't have to commit to and can do in your spare time, online survey and get-paid-to sites are good way to get started.
Many of these sites are "half-legit"... borderline scams, but the legit ones can keep you busy. Sites like Survey Junkie for example, will pay you for your opinion and Swag Bucks offers rewards for doing things like watching videos, visiting websites and searching the web.
Of course they won't make you rich, but if you've never made money online before, they can be a good way to get started.
I hope my CastingWords Transcription review has been helpful and if you have any comments, questions, or experience with CastingWords Transcription, please share in the comments section below.