How To Make Money Doing Online Transcription And Captioning In Kenya

How To Make Money Doing Online Transcription And Captioning In Kenya

If you are frustrated with your 9-5 job and are looking for an alternative way to earn money, then look no further. What if we told you that it was possible to earn money from the comfort of your home, through transcription and captioning? It’s true! You could do it part-time if you’re looking for a good side income to complement your salary. Or you can even make a full-time living working as a full-time transcriptionist.

In this post, we’re going to walk you through how you can make money as a transcriptionist and captionist in Kenya. I’m sure you’re wondering what is transcription and captioning? Aren’t they the same thing? What exactly does the job entail? Before we get into the earning bit of this video, let’s take a little time to understand what transcription and captioning really are.

Point-to-note: Before we go any further, allow me to clarify that transcription and captioning is not a get-rich-quick scheme. When you search on transcription and captioning online, many gurus may give you the illusion that you don’t need any skills to get started and be successful in earning money online in this field. Other misconceptions you may have, maybe that transcription and captioning are simply about fast-typing and that they’re an effortless job. That is definitely not the case. The job is open to anyone and you need skills just like with any other job. That requires effort and time from your end, but not to worry the effort pays off in the end. Keeping this in mind we can now proceed.

What is Transcription?

Transcription is simply the process of converting a speech or audio into a text format or written document. But it’s more than just listening and typing out what you hear. It requires you to focus and pay attention to the very little details. A great example when a podcaster or YouTuber asks you to change the audio file of their episode into a written format.

There are different types of transcribing jobs:

General transcription. This type of transcription doesn’t need special formal training for you to qualify. You can be asked to transcribe varied types of audios, from phone calls and lectures to webinars and podcasts. Some subspecialties fall under this category such as legal, financial, corporate, and data entry transcription. These require you to have a little bit of experience in the subject matter especially due to some jargon words or technical terms you may come across.

Medical transcription. This category requires you to undergo special training to become a medical transcriber. Two main certifications that are recognized are Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) and Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT). The job entails transcribing a medical personnel’s dictations that are then added to the patient’s medical report. It is therefore important that you understand, things like the human anatomy and medical terminologies.

Real-time transcription. This type of transcription requires an expert level of skill with a typing speed of at least 100 words per minute. The job entails listening to live audio and converting what you hear into a text format. You need to be very attentive and fast not to miss anything that’s said. Job under this category includes being a real-time captioner, court reporter, or a Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART) service provider.

Aside from the different types of transcription, there are also different transcription formats you need to familiarize yourself with. The formats include intelligent, verbatim, and edited transcripts.

What is captioning?

Now that you understand what transcription entails, it’s time to understand what captioning is and why it differs from transcription. In essence, you could say that captioning is similar to transcription since it involves converting the audio file into text format. The difference however is that, unlike a transcript, the captions are displayed on the screen in segments timed to align with when the exact words are being spoken.

You could be asked to caption a movie, webcast, TV broadcast, or live video. But you shouldn’t confuse captioning with subtitles. Unlike subtitles, captions are done in the original language and are not translated into different languages, like from Chinese to English or English to French.

Like transcription, there are different types of captioning:

Closed captions. With this type, you have the choice to either view the captions with your video or not. There’s normally a CC symbol on the video or program guide that you can click to switch the captions on or off.

Open captions. This type of caption is permanently displayed on the video, normally at the bottom. You usually see an OC symbol on the video to denote it has open captions. Such captions are commonly used in foreign movies, especially where there are heavy accents.

Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART). This type is commonly used for TV broadcasts like reality TV shows, or sports and news coverage. They are also sometimes used in educational videos. Such captions are created during the broadcast, meaning in real-time. It’s also used to provide real-time captions for individuals with hearing impairment.

Who are your clients for Transcription?

There are many reasons why people need their audio files converted into text formats. One of the main reasons is that the transcript gives a clearer and cleaner message, especially in situations where the speaker may have had a heavy accent. You’ll find a lot of clients approaching you for transcription services for various reasons.

An attorney or legal professional, for example, may approach you with a deposition, court hearing, or witness statement as an audio file or video footage, for you to transcribe. The transcript is important since it avoids any misinterpretations when the video or audio is played as the judge goes through the transcript. Medical personnel may also approach you with dictations or audio recordings of the procedures and notes about a patient. The transcript is added to the patient’s record and plays a vital role in tracking the patient’s progress. Other clients include students, lecturers, podcasters, YouTubers, videographers, filmmakers and so many more. The list is almost endless.

Who will hire you for captioning?

As with companies, many clients are outsourcing captioning services for many reasons. One of the reasons is that captioning increases viewership. Captions also help in the SEO ranking of videos. In addition, people with hearing impairment are also able to access video content easily thanks to captions.

Some of the clients likely to approach you include production groups like filmmakers, TV show producers, or news stations. Marketing teams may also approach you if they rely on video production as their marketing strategy. Even creative content creators that come up with visual media content like YouTubers are also potential clients.

Where do you look for the clients?

There are many available platforms today where you can get clients offering transcriptions and captioning jobs. Some of these platforms are specifically tailored for transcription and captioning, whereas others are more general, providing clients offering different online jobs including transcription and captioning. Most of these sites work on a bidding system where the client posts a job and you along with other experts send in proposals to apply for the job. You may also have an option of creating a package that details your type of service and rates and have clients approach you with offers.

The platforms tailored specifically for transcription and captioning are:

  • Transcribe Me.
  • Speech Pad
  • Go Transcript
  • Casting Words
  • Crowd Surf Work
  • Cloud Factory
  • Verbit
  • Voxtab
  • Remotasks
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk

Other popular general platforms you can try out as well are:

  • Legiit
  • People per Hour
  • Upwork
  • Fiverr

How do you get paid – what are the rates?

With transcriptions and captioning, the rates at which you earn and the frequency of payment will depend on the platform you’re using as well as the client. For a platform like Transcribe Me, for example, you get paid once every week as long as your account has $20 and above. Mostly, however, your earning will depend on the length of the audio and the complexity and skill level required. Real-time transcription for example may earn you more than general transcription.

As for payment methods, most platforms like Transcribe Me and Upwork use PayPal. It’s a reliable platform, and especially useful when it comes to small amounts. You even have the option of transferring your money from PayPal to Mpesa, although some platforms are introducing Mpesa as an official payment method. An alternative is Payoneer which is a great platform for online transaction.

What do clients expect from you – what are the skills needed?

So, now that we are clear on what transcription and captioning mean and what the jobs entail, it must be clear that skill is required if you want to be successful in the field. Starting with Transcription, in as much as you need a great typing speed, you also need good spelling and grammar. You need to be attentive and accurate to be able to deliver quality results. You also need proper research skills, to be able to familiarize yourself with jargon words and technical terms. For example, as a medical subscriber or while doing legal transcription, you must understand the terminologies. It makes transcribing easier and speeds up the process. Most importantly you need to familiarize yourself and master the different transcription formats. As for captioning, aside from keen attention to detail and great research skills, you also need to be technology proficient and have a sharp memory.

Overall, you need to be a good communicator when it comes to your clients. Keeping time when it comes to delivering work is also important to build trust between you and the clients. All of the skills mentioned here, require training. You need to take time and put in the effort to acquire these skills, otherwise, you will never be able to advance in this field. The best way to train and gain such skills is through a good course. 


Transcription and captioning are some of the best ways to make money online in Kenya. There are many platforms that exist, like Transcribe Me and Upwork, that offer numerous job opportunists. But for you to adequately earn money in this field, you need the proper skills and tools. Our Profession Transcription and Captioning Training course is designed to do just that. Join us today and begin your journey to making money through transcription and captioning.

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