Review: Is SpeakWrite a Wise Choice for Freelancers?

I’m regularly looking to diversify my freelancing income by applying to “side gigs.” These usually have to do with quality assurance and, very occasionally, transcription. Recently, I decided to apply to SpeakWrite, a transcription company that is said to offer flexible hours and regular work to proficient typists.

Before Beginning

SpeakWrite indicates that their competitive edge is their fast turnaround times for clients who upload work into their system – a matter of hours. This means that they only hire typists who can prove their mettle through typing quickly, and accurately.

On their application page, they’re quite upfront about their requirements, and encourage would-be applicants to take a typing test before they even begin the actual application process. As of this writing, the minimum requirement is 60 words per minute, with an accuracy rate of 90%.

The Process

As with most applications, the first step involved filling out the basic contact information and selecting a password. I was automatically emailed a link containing those details (the username is whatever phone number applicants choose to list on their application) along with a link to my application account. I should note that they don’t want applicants registering with Microsoft email accounts (Outlook, Live, MSN, or Hotmail).

The actual application typing test isn’t all that daunting. It’s a couple of minutes of typing out text as it’s presented on the screen. There are plenty of chances (my application actually indicated upwards of 100) to pass the test within 30 days of having initiated the application. After passing the test, the results are automatically saved to the application account and emailed.

Next, it was time to list previous experience, particularly as it applies to transcription. Although they indicate that experience as a legal transcriptionist is a plus, I had no such background (only in general transcription) and was given the green light to continue on with the application. The application itself is in stages, with each approved section unlocking the next step.

Then, it was time to electronically sign the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). I found the technology of this process rudimentary – simply type last name, first name in the box – which, though it saves time, isn’t great for record keeping. I prefer agreements with my signature affixed, along with that of the employer, and the respective dates of said signatures.

Lastly, after watching an introductory video, it was time to begin the training tests – except, that was where I decided not to continue with the application. Why? I got the impression that the work was so varied in formats and guidelines that it wouldn’t be worth the pay ($0.005-0.006 per word as of this writing). My suspicions were confirmed after reading several Glassdoor reviews.

Worth Trying?

Regardless of any reviews, it’s clear that SpeakWrite does an excellent job of conveying information to prospective and current applicants. Although SpeakWrite isn’t for me, it might work well for experienced freelance transcribers who want to earn a little extra money in between other projects, and who can quickly adapt to their procedures.

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