Thursday, November 01, 2007

Big Bucks for Freelance Audio Transcription

I occasionally peruse the job ads. Just to see what kind of opportunities money is out there. I don't know about you, but I often find myself wondering about any differences that may exist between the published hours, responsibilities, wage, benefits, etc. and reality.

While cruising through this morning, looking for interesting tidbits on nothing in particular, I noticed a job ad for audio transcription. After clicking the link, I found that the company in question, Urban Connections, a "language solutions" firm in Tokyo, was hoping to add more freelancers to its network of audio transcribers.

An audio transcriber, just to be clear, is anyone who puts what is being said on paper. What is being said can involve everything from the minutes of a meeting to an interview to governmental press conferences, and the typing might be done live (on site) or while listening to a recording of the proceedings.

Anyway, Urban Connections is looking for freelance transcribers who would have the option of working at home, and the published wage is 8,000 - 10,000 yen per hour (US$70+/hr) of audio transcription. They ask that applicants have some free transcription software, an internet connection, Skype (which is also free), and a transcriber's foot pedal (which can be purchased for between fifty one hundred dollars).

Wow! That's a lot of cash for typing. So I dug a little deeper.

I googled "Urban Connections, transcription" and was led directly to the company website. Sure enough, they do a lot of conference organization, translation, interpretation, and transcription. And they're looking for interns, by the way.

The first two sites returned in the Google search were part of the company's site. Number three, however, linked to a Metropolis interview with Urban Connections founder Larry Greenberg.

Summary of the interview:

"We rarely outsource transcription work for people to do at home."

"We pay by the hour, which starts at JY2500 for a qualified person."

And what about a highly-skilled transcriber who brings
more value to the job?

"A 70-word-per-minute typist who is very knowledgeable about current
events, for example, could expect JY3000 per hour."


It looks like this is one of those rare cases where both the job ad (ie. false advertising) and the reality (ie. about one third the published wage for experienced transcribers) have been made public at the same time.

Either someone at Urban Connections is trying to bait a bunch of people into applying so that they can search for the proverbial diamond in the rough, or some staffer really goofed on the wage over at when they posted the ad.

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