How To Pass Transcription Tests (Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners)

Are you wondering how to pass transcription tests?

Almost very reputable transcription company will require you to undergo some form of exam or test prior to being hired to work for them.

These transcription tests are meant to help transcription companies gauge your level of expertise and skill when it comes to transcription.

Passing these transcription tests is very vital to your success in any transcription company.

Many of these transcription companies will not take you on as a transcriber on their platform till you can prove that you are a skilled transcriber by passing their transcription tests.

In this blog post I will share some secret tips and hacks that you can implement today in order to pass any transcription test or exam

I have also included specific guidelines you must follow in order to pass transcription tests set by specific platforms like Crowdsurf.


How To Pass Transcription Tests (Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners)

Below are some of the guidelines you should follow if you intend to pass any transcription test:

1. The best way for you to get prepared is by using the reading material sent to you before you try out the test.

As you start the test, you are usually sent a PDF document containing the essentials of the styles used by transcribers on the platform. I know for a fact that TranscribeMe provides this for all candidates taking their transcription test.

You have to be well conversant with this document since that is all they are really testing for. You have to make sure that you do not max out your number of tries because you’re in a hurry.

The PDF contains all the information that you need to pass that exam.

In addition to that, you should realize that if you are a first time transcriber, you must only type what you hear.

You are not required to add anything that that was not asked for.

The only time this comes in handy is if you come across any slang in the audio file.

The PDF manual has instructions on how to deal with that.

Some transcription companies may not necessarily give you any special materials to read before you take the transcription test but simply require that you read through and understand their guidelines.

Make sure you read the guidelines thoroughly and not simply skim through it.

Many transcribers fail transcription tests simply because they skimmed through the transcription guidelines and didn’t understand any of it.

Skimming through the guidelines will result in you missing out on key information provided that will be vital to you passing the transcription test.

With the guidelines, you learn about:

1. Full verbatim.

In this case, the text is transcribed exactly how it sounds and includes all the utterances of the speakers.

They include speech errors, false starts, filler words, slang words, stutters and repetitions.


2. Clean verbatim.

In this case, the text is altered to meet certain standards as prescribed by the transcription platform.

In this case, there are alterations made to the words as presented in full verbatim in order to make them more formal.


3. Timestamping types.

The time stamping format must always be bold and in square brackets.


2. Make sure you have followed the instructions to the letter.

As a first time transcriber, it might surely take you longer than expected.

The industry standard is that you must take at least 4 normal hours to transcribe 1 hour of audio visual files.

This means that you spend about 4 minutes transcribing just one minute of audio.

This is not a limit to how long you should take. Keep in mind that this is an average figure considering seasoned professionals and beginners.


3. Do not panic when the test is given to you

The platform prides itself on giving its customers the best service.

This means that it’s better for you to take your time and provide good work as compared to rushing in.

Upon passing the exam, you have to wait for one or two working days so that your registration as a transcriber is fully complete.

You should note that the platform offers various educational material for you to become even better at your job.


4. Avoid Transcription Mistakes.

There are a number of transcription mistakes you may make and many of them you may make knowingly.

Some examples of these mistakes are;

  • Atomic typos. Atomic typos simply placed are one–letter mistakes which sound every similar and can be missed. They may consequently have a significant effect on your final transcript. Atomic typos are real words but not having the same meaning as the intended words in a transcript and because of this, your spell checker will definitely miss them and they will change the context of the video transcript entirely. Some examples of these are; typing ‘peace’ instead of ‘piece’, ‘conservation’ instead of ‘conversation’, etc.


  • Homophones. Homophones are words which sound exactly the same but have a totally different meaning. They are a common mistake transcribers make when transcribing. This is so because since the words sound the same, you can mistakenly take one for the other. Some examples of such are ‘there’ and ‘their’, ‘brake’ and ‘break’, ‘to’ and ‘two’, etc.


  • Spelling errors. These may be categorized in two groups, i.e. general spelling mistakes and misspelling names. General spelling mistakes are common when typing especially fast-typing. Luckily, spell checkers in typing software or tools like Grammarly will help you avoid these by correcting the mistakes automatically. For the case of misspelt names, one way you can tackle this is by doing research of the person whose name has been mentioned so as to understand how the name is correctly spelt.


  • Mishearing words. Ideally considered as the worst mistake of these, mishearing words can be really bad when transcribing because it renders your work inaccurate and as a result will affect your ability to get paid for the work you’ve done. It is when you hear a different word from that which has been spoken.


5. Invest Heavily on Good Quality Transcribing Earphones/Headphones.

This goes a long way in helping you get clear sound, cutting out any noise in your background. You can check out these amazing transcription headphones here.


6. Practice a lot.

Practice will help you improve your transcribing skills. These include typing skills and listening skills. The more practice you do, the sharper you will get with both skills and this will in turn cut out these mistakes and improve your efficiency as a transcriber.


7. Do Not Ignore Any Mishears When Transcribing.

This has a direct effect on the end product of your transcript and should therefore be handled with caution.

If you haven’t heard what has been said clearly, replay that section of the video and have another go.


8. Make Use of the Guidelines Catalogue.

Do this every time especially when you are just starting out as a transcriber. This catalogue with direct instructions on the Dos and Don’ts must be followed keenly and will guide you to eliminating any further mistakes in you work as well.

These tips apply to all transcription platforms such as TranscribeMe, GoTranscript and Crowdsurf among others.

GoTranscript does however have unique guidelines that you have to follow in order to pass the GoTranscript Audio test.

I have included unique guidelines set out by GoTranscript that you must adhere to in order to pass their transcription exam.


Major rules to follow so you can pass the GoTranscript test.

When you are preparing to take the test, here are a few things that you must be keen on.

1. If you cannot hear the words being said, mark that as inaudible or unintelligible.

At times, the recordings are of poor quality in a way that you cannot make out what is being said.

In such a case, you have to mark that section of the audio unintelligible as compared to forging something out of your own imagination.

This applies to a situation where the speaker can be heard but you cannot make out what is being said.


2. When you are editing the document at the end, you have to monitor the length of the sentences that you are writing.

If the speaker has said a very long sentence with no breaks in between, you are allowed to divide them up in a way that will make the sentence meaningful to the listener.

This also applies when the speaker is using conjunctions like “but”, “and” or “so” to join together sentences.


3. While transcribing a long speech or audio, you should try as much as you can to create shorter paragraphs for the text.

In the transcription tool available on the website, you can write out paragraphs that should not be more than 500 symbols or 100 words.

This can translate into 3-4 standard transcription text lines. (Roughly 25 words per line)


4. Never paraphrase or reconstruct the speech in the audio you are transcribing.

This ensures that the original meaning of the statement is kept.

You must ensure that you do not type what you think but what you have heard.


5. Do not correct grammatical errors made by the speakers.

According to the platform, you are not allowed to correct anything found wrong with the way grammar was being used in the audio.

It makes the platform maintain the message in the audio file and to ensure accuracy in the transcribed file.


6. Always use the correct spelling for misspoken words.

When a word is pronounced wrongly in the audio file, you are at liberty to correct it as you type it out.

This makes it easy for a reader to understand the message as they do not have to gamble with looking for meanings of wrong words.


7. Everything with a time stamp should be bolded.

As mentioned earlier, you need to make the time stamps, speaker labels and marks bolder.

You should also enclose the time stamps in square brackets as stated in the guidelines.


8. Always use square brackets in the final text transcribed.

As a general rule for all transcribers on all platforms across the world, you have to use square brackets as opposed to the commonly used round brackets.


9. You should ensure that all punctuation marks are added to the document.

If you have read any written work before, you know the importance of punctuations.

They give you a stop and start flow to enjoy the text or document as you read through it.


Therefore, you are asked to add question marks, full stops, commas and other punctuation marks as you see fit while editing the final transcribed text.


10. The beginning of every sentence is capitalized.

This varies across platforms. With GoTranscript, you are tasked with ensuring the proper flow of the sentence by capitalizing the letter of the first word in each sentence.


11. Never change spoken contractions.

Contractions like it’s, y’all, don’t and others must be kept that way if said by the speaker.

The rule is that the verbatim does not matter if the speaker says it himself.


12. Never use exclamation marks.

This rule is easy to understand. Exclamation marks are shown to indicate a significant emotion.

This means that you have abandoned the rationality and objectivity required to perform transcription work better.


13. Speaker labels.

When given the audio, you have to create or find the speaker labels.

They help a reader to keep up with the conversation.

In case the name of the speaker is mentioned, you should indicate the speaker label.

This remains intact even when there is only one speaker.

In case no name has been mentioned, there is need for you to make each speaker’s role as descriptive as possible.

That way, the document’s text can flow better to a reader.

If you do not understand who is speaking, you are required to add a question mark before the speaker label.

These labels must be written in bold, followed by a colon and space.


14. Abbreviations and acronyms should not contain dashes or periods.

When you hear the word USA, you should write it as USA not U.S.A.

This goes against company policy and might cause you to fail the test.


15. Follow the customer’s instructions.

At times, the customer stipulates the way in which the document should look.

Normally, they engage with the transcriptionist to communicate their needs with regards to a certain benchmark.


16. Italicize film, books, magazines, song titles, artworks, plays, radio programs etc.

This also includes names and descriptions of famous people and their quotes.


17. Always research the proper capitalization.

You have to make research about certain words if they are heard in the audio.

For example, if the speaker mentions the word iPhone, it does not matter whether it is in the middle of the sentence or at the beginning.

You have to use the commonly known spelling to make the word understandable.


18. Write links the way they should be written.

Links should be written out as This is better than “ w w w f a c e b o o k c o m.” You have to make sure it retains its meaning.

No spaces should be used when writing out links.


19. Sound events considerations.

Certain sounds that are significant to the audio must be noted.

Other sounds made by the speaker must be on the same line and always in the present tense.

Sounds that are not attributed to the speaker are always on another line.

Just like ambiance or background sound.


20. Numbers.

The guidelines stipulate that you are supposed to spell out single digit numbers or use numerals.

However, exceptions can be made when you come across money, years, ages, eras, percentages, measurements, mathematical equations and formulas, bible citations, fractions, postal codes, phone numbers and others.


21. How to deal with time of the day and dates.

You should capitalize the words AM and PM when transcribing text.

In case you are to use o’clock, you should type out the entire word.

For example, seven o’clock.


22. Double dashes or a single dash.

The basic rule is that you should use a single dash when the speech is interrupted but the speaker continues in his thought.

The guidelines differ when dealing with full verbatim and clean verbatim.


23. Quotation marks.

You can use double quotation marks when there is a direct quotation for example internal dialogues.

The first word in the quotations must be capitalized.

All other punctuation marks go inside the quotation marks.

Get Started With The GoTranscript Audio Test


What do you do if audio has no sound in GoTranscript?

When the audio in the transcription test has no sound, you have to inform the team at GoTranscript.

Since this is something that they occasionally deal with, they inform the client and make a refund of the money that was paid by the client.

In the case of a transcriber, you are given other pieces of work to transcribe.

If this issue exists in a small portion of the audio test file, it might be part of the test so you have to follow the instructions to the dot.

It is usually a test of whether you understood the instructions.


What should you do with curse words on GoTranscript?

When an audio has cursed words, you type them as they are. Cursed words are a challenge since they look really bad on paper.Bottom of Form

However, the platform allows you to add them to the final text as they are mentioned in the audio file.


Are transcription tests easy?

Most transcription tests are actually easy to pass. You just have to prepare well in advance and you will pass the transcription test with flying colours.

Now of course just like any other test out there, if you want to pass a transcription test, you are going to have to prepare for it.

To pass this test, you’re going to have to meet a couple of requirements which may include fluency in English language, both spoken and written as well as attentive listening skills.

For most transcription companies, you need to pass this test in order to secure an official account with them. The test results and assessments normally take a few minutes or even days for some transcription companies like Crowdsurf where the assessment is done in 5 business days.


What happens if you fail the Transcription test /exam?

This really depends on the transcription company in question. Every transcription platform will have a different approach.

I have included the system used by two popular transcription companies;

a) TranscribeMe

For instance for the TranscribeMe Exam, the test in question is the English entrance exam. Each of the four sections listed in the test have two trials. This means that you have two chances to pass any of the tests in the exam.  If you fail the exam the first time, you are given one chance to try the exam out again.

When you fail on the second attempt, you are asked to wait a bit before you can try the test again.

You should note that it is not wise for you to create multiple accounts using the platform.

If you contravene any of the regulations put forth when creating an account with them, you might be disqualified as a candidate and consequently banned from the website for good.


b) CrowdSurf

No. CrowdSurf allows you to take the CrowdSurf transcription test once and if you want to retake the test, you have to email them with your MT ID so they can set you up with new test material or assign qualifications to you.

All in all, you must ensure that you are ready before going ahead to take the test.


How many times can I take the transcription test/ exam?

This also varies depending on the platform offering the transcription test or exam.

I have listed how some of the popular transcription companies go about retaking tests and exams on their platform.

a) TranscribeMe

You have two tries to pass each of the four tests that have been included in the exam. Beyond that, the platform recommends the time it should take for you to come back for another try. There is nothing to show that you cannot come back after sometime to try it out if you have previously failed it.


b) Crowdsurf

No. CrowdSurf allows you to take the CrowdSurf transcription test once and if you want to retake the test, you have to email them with your MT ID so they can set you up with new test material or assign qualifications to you.

All in all, you must ensure that you are ready before going ahead to take the test.


How long is the Transcription test?

This depends entirely on the guidelines set out by the Transcription Company offering the transcription test.

Below are some of the guidelines used by popular transcription companies.

a) TranscribeMe

This depends on your listening and typing abilities. The style guide questions and sample sentences are the first. They can take you about 30 minutes to read through, comprehend and pass accurately.

The audio tests are usually a few minutes long. The longest I have heard of lasted three normal minutes.

Even then, the two audio tests should not take you more than an hour each to transcribe.

In my opinion, it should take you about 3 hours to complete the test.


How Much Do You Get Paid if You Become a Transcriber With a Transcription Company?

Each transcription company has a different pricing plan as well as payout rates for their transcribers.

Below are the payment rates for the top transcription companies that I recommend to my readers.


a) TranscribeMe

Due to the short nature of the files you transcribe, your earnings are shown in four digits after the decimal for example $2.3245.

The amount earned is displayed as a pending balance in red and is available once the file is reviewed by a QA.  You can earn up to $15-22 per transcribed audio hour.

The average monthly income is $250 per month. This is the amount of money earned by regular workers on the platform.

You have to gain some considerable experience so that you can earn more money from the platform.

You can start collecting your money when you reach $20. The payments are processed every Thursday at 9:00AM and they are reflected in your PayPal account.



b) GoTranscript

According to their official website, you can earn about $0.60 per audio or video minute transcribed. This is what you should expect to earn after you complete the work sent to you. There are no sign up fees.

The highest earners make over $1,215 per month. The average earnings on the platform round off to $150 per month.

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The money is sent to you through PayPal and Payoneer every end of the week.

The good thing is that you get the exact amount paid to you as the platform covers the PayPal fees.

This means that if you earn $400 and you process a payment of that amount, you get the exact amount ($400) sent to your PayPal account.



c) Crowdsurf

With Crowdsurf’s favorable payment policy, transcribers are paid instantly on approval of work submitted.

This means that you get paid right away and will have money to spend by the day’s end. On average, one can earn between $0.08-$0.20 cents per audio clip and this will depend on the level of proficiency of the work done and submitted.

The highest earners make just over $1,000 per month working with CrowdSurf and there are various payment options through which they pay their transcribers such as PayPal, Skrill and Payoneer



Does the refund policy affect you as a transcriber?

Usually the refund policy will affect you as a transcriber in one way or another.

It is important that you read the refund policy of the transcription platform you intent to work for.

For instance the refund policy of TranscribeMe goes on to say that if you do not get what you want from the platform, you are given transcript credit to use on the platform.

This means that the crowd workers (transcribers) get paid regardless of what they (the customers) do.

However, this must not be an enabler for you to deliver poor quality work.

You might get fired if you keep delivering lackluster work.

And you should note that this only applies for TranscribeMe transcribers.

Other transcription companies and platforms may have different refund policies that affect their transcribers differently.

You can also check out the video below by Tess Ogamba on how to pass transcription tests.

The above tips will help you pass any transcription test on the internet right now.



Conclusion: How to Pass Transcription Tests For Beginners

If you are on the lookout for a decent well-paying side hustle then you should try out transcription.

With the freedom you have on the job, you have the chance to make extra money with the platform.

The pay is decent in comparison to the various side hustles I have seen around the internet.

All you have to do is to try out the transcription tests to the best of your capabilities and see it through to completion.

The test is the training exercise you have that propels you to be better at your job without expectations.

Other than that, there is no quick way for you to actually pass the test.

Just prepare for it as best as you can.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article on how to pass transcription tests or exams.

Now I would like to hear from you.

Have you taken any transcription test / exam before?

If you have, how was your experience?

Let me know in the comment section below.

Also share this blog post with your friends and family looking to pass transcription tests.