Since there are lots of transcription companies spurring up these days, you may find it difficult to distinguish which one offers quality services and which one does not. But the vast majority of them may likely offer businesses a wide range of transcription services where audio sources are converted into written documents. CrowdSurf is just one of those popular transcription companies promising to bring high quality formatted transcripts for the clients.
Is CrowdSurf a Legitimate Business Organization?
Established in 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona, CrowdSurf is a reputable transcription service provider that offers a comprehensive range of transcription services to media enterprises and academic institutions. CrowdSurf offers video captioning and subtitling services to help ESL learners and individuals with hearing impairment gain easy access to various media contents.
CrowdSurf is constantly searching for interested talents who would like to transcribe videos with a primary objective to make media sources accessible to everyone. As long as you are interested to help, you can join the CrowdSurf team to work as a professional transcriber no matter where you are currently residing. According to its official website, CrowdSurf claims to be a community of skilled professionals that is “for the crowd, by the crowd.”
CrowdSurf Application Process
CrowdSurf is open to new and experienced transcribers who possess a strong command of the English language, including grammar usage, sentence structure, vocabulary, and punctuation use. Applicants with no prior experience in transcribing are welcome to join, but you can gain an upper hand over the others if you have previous experience as an audio transcriptionist. As a transcriber, it is crucial that you have a fast typing speed of at least 40 words per minute.
Here’s a list of qualifications you need when applying as a transcriptionist for CrowdSurf:
- Self-motivated and possess excellent research skills
- At least 18 years of age
- Language proficiency, multilingual speakers preferred
- Fast typing speed of at least 40 words per minute
- Degree in education, law, medicine, and communication, but not required
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Efficient internet research skills
- High-speed internet connection
- Computer equipment with a good pair of stereo headphones
- Foot pedals
- Transcribing software or media player
To start your application, you are required to sign up for an account with Work Market, a separate platform where interested applicants are thoroughly screened. Key in your complete details, including name, location, tax information, and work credentials, and then select “Writing and Translation” as your industry. Select your desired payment method and work arrangement as part of the application.
Once you are done, click the submit button and wait for an email response within 24 hours, informing you of your next step. Right after receiving the email, log into your CrowdSurf application account, and take a transcription test which will require you around 30 minutes to complete. You need to pass this test in order to secure an official CrowdSurf account.
The test results and assessments normally take 5 business days. In case you fail the test, you need to wait for a few days before you can be allowed to retake the test. Once you pass it, CrowdSurf will prepare your account granting you full access to a list of transcription projects.
Your access to each project will depend on required skills and present employment status as a CrowdSurf transcriber, so you really need to work hard and remain consistent in order to gain access to tasks with higher project rates.
Once your application has been approved, CrowdSurf will redirect you to its official job platform to start transcribing video files. Yes, you heard it. You will often transcribe video files instead of the usual audio sources.
The vast majority of transcription providers deal with audio files that need conversion to written text. With CrowdSurf, however, you will be transcribing raw and edited video materials which will require you to listen and watch the contents. You will encounter academic lectures, learning videos, tutorials, movies, and other sources requiring closed-captioning and subtitling.
The length of the video source is another noticeable characteristic here as you will transcribe videos ranging between 5 and 30 seconds. Each task is referred to as “Human Intelligence Task” and it contains full 35 seconds of video content that needs verbatim transcription. You will type the words exactly as you hear them from the video, but without those unnecessary repeated words, stutters and fillers.
CrowdSurf will delegate the transcription tasks to different transcribers and then compile the HITs for captioning and subtitling purposes. These transcripts will be used for editing videos, like university lectures, news clips, documentaries, and feature films for the benefit of hard of hearing viewers and language learners.
Now, here’s the challenging part for the transcribers as you need to maintain a performance score of 3.0 to keep your job account active. If you are a newly-hired transcriptionist, you will need to make 25 approved HITs before you can move up to better-rated jobs, but you won’t be graded during this period. Then your succeeding tasks will be graded accordingly.
An average quality control score of 3.50 should be maintained along with the “Qualification Standing” of 900. Each completed verbatim transcript is graded with a quality control score, which will directly affect your Qualification Standing. As a new transcriber for CrowdSurf, you will be given 950 QS which may potentially go down if you keep receiving poor marks.
CrowdSurf is serious about maintaining this level of grading system since the vast majority of their projects are meant for viewers with special needs. Transcribers need not to worry as CrowdSurf provides useful resources on how they should perform the transcription job with accuracy.
Salary rate is determined by per audio/video minute transcribed. Transcriptionists are paid $.030-$0.20 per media minute for every short file, referring to 5-30 seconds of media content. Your total output will depend on the number of projects you complete within the week as well as your typing speed.
On a brighter side, you may get performance incentives if you are able to complete 100 successful tasks per week. The more HITs you finish within the week, the more incentives you can receive. So, the key strategy here is to finish as many tasks as you can with little to no mistakes in order to reach the incentive mark.
Payout is sent to your desired payment gateway after the system has compiled your approved transcripts within the week. You need to send an invoice for all completed tasks before you get paid.
Pros and Cons
Transcription jobs on CrowdSurf are open to anyone interested to transcribe video contents. Here are the great benefits you can enjoy with the company:
- Open to all transcribers worldwide whether new or experienced in the industry
- Only transcribing short video contents
- Additional earnings from incentives and rewards
- Easy payment transfer after the transcripts has been approved
Now, on the opposite side, you might have to deal with these disadvantages when you work for CrowdSurf:
- You need to maintain a high performance score if you want to keep working for them.
- Incentives are only given after passing the 100 HITs mark.
- Hourly pay seems lower than other market competitors.
- No clear career advancement aside from being an ordinary transcriber
Working for CrowdSurf can give you a greater sense of responsibility and purpose since your transcripts are being used to help language students and hearing-impaired viewers gain convenient access to any media content. But you need to type fast and stay focused to reap the good benefits out of this rare opportunity.
Aldrich Tan is a duly registered Filipino architect and is currently working as a freelance writer focusing on content writing and blogging purposes.