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CastingWords Review: What People Think

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CastingWords is one of the many legitimate online transcription services that pay you to type.

Whether you’re looking for an online transcription job or you came to this post to learn more about the CastingWords company, I wanted to talk about the pay, what people are saying as well as if it’s worth your time.  As in all of my reviews, I’m 100% honest and I say it as it is, no matter what kind of relationship I have with a company.  Since the internet is filled with so much clickbait and garbage, I want to set things straight, not thinking about my wallet like so many bloggers/YouTubers do.

While CastingWords is a legitimate company, it doesn’t always mean it’s worth joining as an independent contractor.

So, if you want to get paid to type as an online transcriptionist, let’s take a gander at what CastingWords is all about.

What is CastingWords?

CastingWords was founded in 2005 and is currently headquartered in Los Alamos, New Mexico.  It was founded by Rachel Pearson and Nathan McFarland, with the main goal to connect customers with skilled freelance transcriptionists.

The company provides a range of transcription services, from one-day expedited services to adding subtitles to your videos.  As of this review, they have delivered more than 175,000 transcripts to more than 10,000 customers.



Is CastingWords Legit?

Absolutely.  The company has been around for more than 15+ years now and prides itself in offering high-quality transcription work.  As of today, they have established themselves as one of the more popular online transcription services online.

Sure, while there are a lot of online scams online, I can assure you that this isn’t one.  If you want to get paid to type as an online transcriptionist, it can be done, but just let it be known that you won’t get rich in doing so.

What you’re going to find out in the online transcription world, and this can be said about any transcription company, is that most people will complain about the pay and the audio quality.  While you will get paid, most are often unhappy with what goes into the work to get the paycheck.  Your results will vary, however.

Simply put, CastingWords is a legitimate online money-making opportunity and they will pay you if you sign up and get approved.

How to Start Working With CastingWords

If you’re interested in becoming an online transcriptionist with CastingWords, the company will ask you to head to the CastingWords Workshop to get started.  This is where you will take a test to see if you qualify.

During this process, you will be asked to sign up, where you will provide your personal information, as well as take a test to test your transcription abilities.

To qualify as a CastingWords transcriptionist, they ask of the following:

  • be at least 18+ years old
  • live in one of their supported states (they accept other countries as long as you can receive and send a PayPal payment)
  • must be legal for you to work for them

The CastingWords Test

After you create an account, you will be asked to fill out a brief bio. And, depending on this profile, you may be directed to a transcription test, which involves transcribing a short audio file to test your abilities.  There’s no rhyme or reason as to who has to take it but not all applicants take it.

The test will serve as an introduction, which allows the company to see if your work is accurate, displays proper English grammar/spelling and ensures that you understand the basics as outlined in the Quick Start Guide.

Almost all transcription companies will make you take a test.  As long as you can follow the basic requirements and transcribe the audio as expected, you shouldn’t have a problem getting approved.

If you do take the test, they give you 90 minutes to complete it, in which you can’t back out of once you start.  While you can leave the test, you cannot retake it until 24 hours have expired.

Once you submit your test and it has been reviewed, CastingWords will send you the results, notifying you of their decision.  If approved, you will go through a tutorial of sorts, where you will learn how the site works as well as how you can get started to get paid.  In the case you fail, then you may be able to retake it, but this will greatly depend on what caused your rejection.  If you are able to retake the test, then you will have to wait at least a week to do so.

Working for CastingWords

Once your account is approved, you can then start working with the interface to start working.  On your dashboard, you can see “Available Jobs” as well as the “My Jobs” tab, which will show you the jobs you’re currently working on.  You can also see your badges, read your most recent feedback and see how much you have earned.

This is what your dashboard will look like…

If you were to click on the “Available Jobs” tab, then you can see all of the jobs available to you at the moment, such as this:

As you can see, you can view the title of the work (blurred for NDA reasons), the audio length as well as what I could expect to make if I were to complete the transcription.  The “Avg Pay” column will show you the total pay you will receive for the assignment if you earn an average grade.  As I’m about to get into, your work will be graded and you will be given a score.  This pay is based on a 7 grade, so if you score a lower grade, you will make less, but if you score a higher grade, you will earn more.

If any of these jobs sounds of interest, then you will click on the job link and it will take you to a page where you can read the instructions from the customer, the audio file as well as an editor where you can submit your work.  Be sure to read these instructions as they do vary from job to job.

In the case you don’t see any jobs available, it can be due to a few reasons, according to the company.

For one, there may be no work due to your level.  If your level is lower than average, then this could be the case.  Also, if you’re checking during the weekend or during the holidays, then there could be fewer jobs coming in, so it could be seasonal and/or the time of day you’re checking.

Grading

After you submit your work, you will receive a final grade, which will count toward your track record and then be used to calculate your pay.  While workers of different skill levels can provide feedback, only highly experienced graders can give you a final grade.  It will take up to 30 days to approve your work, but in most cases, it’s only a few days.

When you first start, you can receive feedback from all sorts of perspectives, helping you test your skills.  At first, you will go thorough a more through grading and approval process, so the approval process may take longer than usual.

After being graded, you can view your feedback to see what you can improve upon so that your grades stay high in the future.  All of your feedback can be seen in the “All Feedback” tab, and it’s highly recommended you view this tab to know how you can improve your work.

According to the company, most workers will get lower grades at first, and this is normal.  However, you will want to see why you’re getting these lower grades.  Again, check your feedback to see the comments as well as the edits that were made.

Over time, you may receive auto grades, but this takes time to see.  If you continue to provide top-quality work and it’s consistent, then your grading will often be a 7 or 8.

How Much Does CastingWords Pay?

The pay greatly depends on a number of factors, including the type of work, what level you have reached as well as how you’re graded.

Since the company has a variety of job categories, including editing and grading, the pay can range.

However, for most jobs, the pay can range from $0.08 to $1+ per audio minute.  The higher your grade, the more you can get paid.

All payments are issued via PayPal, where they schedule payments on Friday at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time.  You can request a transfer at any time, but you will need at least $1 in your account to cash out.



The Badges

As you work, the company will hand out badges.  And, as you complete assignments, your badge levels will rise, all depending on your quality and accuracy.  In general, good work will earn you higher badges, which, in turn, can lead to more job assignments.

If you want to earn more badges, the company states that you must earn consistent good grades to earn these higher-level badges.

Higher-level badges can lead to time-sensitive work and even the opportunity to advance to a higher level.  As long as you can improve your accuracy and reliability, you will find badges added to your dashboard.

If you see assignments being rejected, it can lead to a loss of badges.  The same can be said about low grades or letting jobs expire, so keep this in mind.

What Others Are Saying

As in all of my reviews, I love to see what the internet thinks of a particular company.  Online, I couldn’t find much, except for a few Glassdoor reviews.  On that site, reviewers gave the company a 2.8 out of 5, with only 55% saying that they would refer the company to a friend.  To put it bluntly, these scores aren’t that great.

So, what were people complaining or boasting about?

In terms of being positive, people did like the interesting work, flexible work and great support.  Many also loved the weekly reliable pay.

However, on the downsides, many said there wasn’t a lot of work for beginners and the pay was very low for what was expected out of you.

To sum things up, here’s what I found:

The Pros

  • easy to get in
  • flexible work
  • weekly PayPal payments
  • supportive Facebook group
  • decent feedback system to help you improve
  • great for beginners
  • no experience necessary

The Cons

  • seems to be a bias toward beginners
  • hardly any work for newbies
  • pay is very low
  • no benefits
  • don’t expect a living wage

Final Thoughts

CastingWords is, indeed, a legitimate online transcription company.  While you won’t make a ton, it’s one to consider if you like this sort of work.  Just don’t expect to turn it into a career if you choose to do so.  If you remember looking at the job list, an 8-minute job will only pay $1.36!  And, remember, it can take four times that length to complete a job, so you’re investing almost a half-hour to make $1.36.  In many cases, you can make that much quicker with a survey site.  This low pay can be said about a lot of transcription sites, however.

While they do pay on the lower end, be sure to check out the more than 100+ other options out there that can pay much more.

Generally, as long as you type 50+ words per minute and have no problem transcribing audio, all while abiding by the style guide, you shouldn’t have a hard time finding work on this platform.  Seeing they are one of the bigger companies, they are always looking for qualified transcriptionists.

As always, if you want to comment on CastingWords, whether it’s bad or good, you’re more than welcome to do so in the comments section below.

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Tom Nathaniel

Hi! My name is Tom Nathaniel, and I created LushDollar to help share my honest thoughts on everything money. It's the Internet's most honest money site after all. I have worked in the finance industry since 2006, consulting with multiple Fortune 5000 companies.

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