Thanks for stopping by to check out my SpeakWrite review. If you have fast fingers and a desire to make money online, SpeakWrite might the job for you. And… if the term “make-money-online” summons up visions of scams and hoaxes… you don’t have to worry. SpeakWrite is not a scam.
When I first learned about SpeakWrite’s work at home opportunity, I wasn’t sure either… so I’ll share what I found and why you can trust that they’re legit.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for SpeakWrite. 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 to apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What Is SpeakWrite?
SpeakWrite is a transcription company that provides audio-to-text services for both general purpose and legal professionals.
Founded in 1997, SpeakWrite is “almost” as old as the consumer internet (which feels like yesterday for some of us 😀).
Having leveraged the internet… today they have become a reliable source of income for many work-at-home freelancers.
It’s Not a Scam
If you’re suspicious about most “online jobs” being legit, you’re not alone. But, as already mentioned… you can be confident that SpeakWrite is NOT a scam.
You shouldn’t take my word for it though…
If there’s one common trait among scams, it’s that they hide their identity and they avoid the law.
SpeakWrite, however, not only publishes their physical address and a list of company contacts… they run towards the law, not away from it.
I'll explain in the next section…
SpeakWrite's Corporate Address
SpeakWrite and The Law
SpeakWrite’s founder Richard Jackson spent nearly 30 years as a commercial litigator with a law practice of 50+ people, and… his inspiration and purpose for SpeakWrite was specifically to meet the challenge of producing legal documents.
Today, they support many agencies in the legal, law enforcement and protective services profession such as the American Bar Association, the California Police, and the FBI.
For those of us who enjoy spy thrillers and espionage movies… placing an elaborate scam dead center between law enforcement and national security would be the perfect predicament for Ethan Hunt or Jason Bourne.
In the real world however… you don't find make-money-online scams building relationships with the police and the FBI.
Freelance transcribers may have some good, and not so good things to say about SpeakWrite… but one thing you can be certain of, they’re not a scam.
Before going further, you should know that SpeakWrite is not a data entry farm. When it comes to hiring… they are looking for quality, not quantity.
In addition to typing 60 wpm with 90% accuracy, general applicants are expected to have at least one year of transcription and word processing experience.
For legal applicants, the requirements are a little tigher; 2 or more years of transcription and word processing experience within a law firm. And, you should have detailed knowledge of legal proceedings, agreements, court headings, depositions, etc.
Also, whether you’re a general transcriber or a legal transcriber, SpeakWrite only hires US and Canadian residents with strong English grammar, spelling and punctuation skills.
If you don’t meet SpeakWrite’s requirements, there are other work-at-home opportunities you may be better suited for. You may also be interested in a beginner friendly transcription company like Babbletype.
While you might consider some assignments to be tedious and boring, transcribing (especially legal transcription) puts you in the path of sensitive information, therefore SpeakWrite and their clients require background checks.
- Windows PC with a sound card and 1GB or more of RAM (SpeakWrite software is not compatible with Apple or tablet operating systems).
- Windows 7 or newer.
- Licensed version of Microsoft Word (2007 or newer).
- Adobe Reader (version 8.0 or higher).
- Microsoft browser (Internet Explorer version 8.0 or higher).
- Windows Media Player (versions 10, 11 or 12).
- Quality earphones and a distraction free environment.
- Laser or inkjet printer.
- Foot pedal to stop and start audio recordings.
- Coffee… a lot of coffee…
SpeakWrite pays their transcibers between $.005 and $.006 per word which works out to $5.00 or $6.00 for every 1000 words you transcribe.
An average person speaks roughly 125 to 150 words per minute, so 1000 words of uninterrupted audio is approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
As an experienced transcriber you’ll know that a lot depends on the quality of the recording. Transcribing 6 to 8 minutes of audio will take much longer than 6 to 8 minutes.
Although SpeakWrite does not specify the average number of hours worked… they do claim the average earnings are $300 per month, with top producers making as much as $3000 (per month).
At the lower end, which is where most transcribers will start… $300 a month is probably not enough to quit your job. As a side hustle though, an extra $300 per month is nothing to scoff at.
In the world of online money making, we get flooded with guru’s claiming $1000’s with just a few clicks… but the truth is, even $300 a month can provide a significant boost to many people’s income.
Although SpeakWrite is a flexible-schedule gig… you must sign up for shifts in advance. These are available in one-hour blocks and are first come/first serve.
Schedules are available up to two weeks in advance.
If you need to change your schedule, a SpeakWrite typist manager must be notified and approve the change (this is done through SpeakWrite’s scheduling tool).
The number of available shifts will increase as you gain experience and receive positive feedback. After 3 or 4 months of producing consistent quality, SpeakWrite reports that 40-hour workweeks are possible.
They don’t promise 40 hours a week though…
Reviews and Complaints
As you might expect, SpeakWrite reviews range from great to NFG (not very great) 😉
SpeakWrite is the real deal, so generally, the reviews are positive. However, some of the complaints mentioned are.
- Pay is too low.
- The minimum assignment is $.55 (about 90 – 110 words) and should be in the $1.50 to $2.00 range (300 – 400 words).
- People are treated unfairly and proofreaders are inconsistent.
These are all similar to complaints you’ll find with other transcription companies.
Although some might be legitimate… you shouldn’t let the negative reviews form your opinion of SpeakWrite.
Complaints such as people being treated unfairly are subjective, and they go both ways. The person who feels mistreated might be the one who initiated it.
And… a few reviewers mentioned that the proofreaders are inconsistent.
If you could ask them… I’m sure SpeakWrite’s proofreaders would tell you that the transcribers are also inconsistent.
In other words… they’re human.
Which brings me to another point. Humans are losing their edge. For those that think transcription rates are low now (and I don’t disagree)… within 3 – 5 years they may be at zero.
Artificial intelligence systems are advancing so fast that within a few years (if not sooner), you'll be uploading audio files that'll be transcribed accurately within seconds… for a fraction of today’s cost, and with no humans involved.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m NOT saying shut up and be happy with the current rates. I’m saying that transcribers should diversify into other areas such as technical writing or picking up a few virtual assistant jobs.
And… even with today’s transcription rates, the real benefits are not hefty paychecks… they are flexible schedules, working remotely, and saving money on regular job expenses like transportation, parking, office clothes and meals on the go.
What I Like
- Although you must meet SpeakWrite’s requirements, their hiring practice ensures a less competitive environment once you're in.
- SpeakWrite is an established company that’s been building client relationships for 20+ years.
- A full-time schedule is possible for those who stick around and produce quality work.
What I Don’t Like
- Transcription pay rates have a low ceiling. You only have so many hours in a day, and earnings are based on peak performance. It can be a decent work-at-home job… but it has its limits.
- It’s not for newbies.
- Limited to Windows PC users only.
If transcribing is your thing and you qualify, I definitely recommend SpeakWrite. When starting out you’ll need additional sources of income, but the potential exists here to work full-time.
You can apply to SpeakWrite here.
Also, as mentioned… transcription work is unfortunately one of those jobs directly in the path of similar technology that powers devices like Alexa and Google Assistant.
As a work-at-home freelancer it’s a good idea to use your skills to diversify and even work towards a passive income (which has no ceiling).
If you have any questions about SpeakWrite or other work-at-home opportunities, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have experience or insight about doing transcription work? Have you worked for SpeakWrite before?
Please share in the comments section below.