The Human Cost of Cheap Transcription Services

For those involved in the professional audio transcription world – like us – last week’s news that Rev.com was slashing minimum pay rates for freelance transcriptionists was quite the topic of conversation, both online and off.

Rev is well known as a cheap transcription provider that charges a flat rate of $1.00 per audio minute – a rate very few of us in the industry can even come close to matching, and especially those of us that care about paying our freelance transcriptionists a living wage.

Transcription is time-intensive work that requires skill and keen attention to detail, and for every one minute of audio, it typically takes a transcriptionist four minutes to transcribe. Rev previously paid $0.45 per audio minute, so a typical worker would earn the equivalent of $6.75 per hour. At its new rate of $0.30 per audio minute, that same worker doing the same work would earn only $4.50 per hour. According to the company, this new structure dropped the lowest per–minute rate while at the same time increasing its highest rate for more complex audio; however, how this will average out for typical workers and typical projects is yet to be seen.

Being a transcriptionist is a great option for those looking for a flexible career, as it can be done when you want and wherever you want – from home, from a coffee shop or from the beach (as long as there’s a good wifi connection!). And for some people in some regions of the world, Rev’s new rate floor still provides reasonable compensation and continues to be a compelling option. But for many transcriptionists, in particular, those based in the US, this is just untenable.

When I talk to clients who are looking for affordable transcription services for interviews, focus groups and conference calls – whether market research companies, video production companies or academic researchers – one of the first questions they often ask is if we’re as cheap as Rev. My stomach does a little flip…and then I answer no, and that we don’t try to be. I know we lose business to low-cost transcription providers like Rev with massive online marketing budgets, but fairness to our workers and the need to ensure quality come first.

At Multilingual Connections, we care about the relationships we build with our clients, but we also care very much about the relationships we build with our high-quality transcriptionists and translators – and we believe in paying them fairly for their work. We’re a certified woman-owned company based in the Chicago area that provides English and foreign language audio transcription, as well as translation, transcreation, subtitles, and voiceover in 75 languages.

If you’re interested in learning more about the services we provide and the relationships we form with our partners – reach out!

Multilingual Connections Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary

March 24, 2020

EVANSTON, IL (March 24, 2020) – Multilingual Connections, a leading global language solutions company in the Chicago area that provides professional translation, transcription and multimedia localization services, announced its 15th anniversary. 

Silver Linings in Times of Coronavirus

March 20, 2020

Twenty years ago, as I was pursuing my doctorate in linguistic anthropology, I spent a year doing research in Israel among speakers of Judeo-Spanish. As part of my research, once a week I would travel from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, where I would visit with elderly Greek Holocaust survivors – all native speakers of the …

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Creating Authentic Connections with Your Audience

March 14, 2020

With conferences and networking events canceled this spring, I’ll miss chatting with folks about creating meaningful connections with their global audiences. And now, as businesses everywhere are trying to figure out how to work in an increasingly online world, creating those connections is essential – whether you’re doing international research or trying to connect with …

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“Translation is About Bridging the Gap”

March 5, 2020

Multilingual Connections works with hundreds of talented linguists across the globe who are experts at translation, transcription, subtitling and more. Linguistic accuracy and cultural relevance for translation often require our linguists to do extra research to better understand the full context of the source text. To reward the linguists who go above and beyond, we …

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Mark Bishop: Leading With Values

February 20, 2020

At Multilingual Connections, it’s our team that makes us the company we are today. Each team member brings their unique perspective and expertise – both professional and personal. This month we’re celebrating the fourth anniversary of our Chief Operating Officer, Mark Bishop. Mark joined Multilingual Connections after a 20-year career in nonprofit management. As the …

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How Love is Celebrated Around the World

February 14, 2020

It’s Valentine’s Day here in the U.S., which means it’s time to shower our loved ones with heart-shaped cards and chocolates to show them how much we love them. For many, we have become so accustomed to these acts of love on Valentine’s Day that they have now become part of American culture. But as …

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Translation is a Balancing Act

January 31, 2020

At Multilingual Connections, we leverage our linguists’ talents and expertise and pair each project with the best linguist for the job, taking into consideration their native language, region, and area(s) of expertise. Linguistic accuracy and cultural relevance for translation often require our linguists to do extra research to better understand the full context of the …

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President Shithole: (Mis)Adventures in Machine Translation

January 20, 2020

I’ve written many times that friends don’t let friends use Google Translate (most recently, It’s a shame to dry the fruit with old uncles). I readily admit, however, that at times it comes in handy – as in this love story between an American journalist and a French UN Peacekeeper, as well as a multitude …

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Going the Extra Mile in Work and Life

January 2, 2020

At Multilingual Connections, we leverage our linguists’ talents and expertise and pair each project with the best linguist for the job, taking into consideration their native language, region, and area(s) of expertise. Linguistic accuracy and cultural relevance for translation often require our linguists to do extra research to better understand the full context of the …

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Engaging Our Global Team Part I: White Elephant Gift Exchange

December 18, 2019

Multilingual Connections is dedicated to helping our clients create meaningful connections with their global audience. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about what this mission means for us as a company – and wondering how we can more effectively apply that mission internally.  

Our Clients

Your Success is Our Success

We succeed when we help you understand, engage and grow your audience – and accomplish your business goals.

Relationships, Not Just Transactions

Sometimes you’re going to want to pick up the phone with questions, schedule a video chat or meet in person, and we welcome it!

Let us be your trusted partner

We believe in building long-term partnerships and finding the right solutions for your needs. We value our clients as partners and appreciate the trust they place in us.

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Office Location

Multilingual Connections
847 Chicago Ave Ste 250
Evanston, IL 60202, USA

Tel: +1-877-292-5264
Tel: +1-773-292-5500
Email: contact@mlconnections.com

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