Are Transcription Companies Using Influencers to Build Workforce?

Migliore & Associates posted this influencer video. You could tell it would be good by what the firm had to say about the video.

Migliore & Associates: Your case shouldn’t be somebody’s side hustle. Hire a professional stenographic court reporter.

I’ve personally seen a couple of videos like it. The presenter starts “ready for another side hustle? This one’s for you if you are broke and lazy.” She proceeds to mention that you can transcribe audio and video into text with these websites.

Likely transcription influencer describes sites where people can find transcription work.

The video continues to make transcription seem simple by stating that you’re not actually doing any work. She mentions how you can go to an automatic speech recognition (ASR) site called SpeechNotes, speak the words, and have them transcribed. But the science we have so far points to ASR being better for whites than black speakers as well as the AAVE dialect. That’s a lot of unserved jobseekers. What she’s describing is essentially voice writing, but without a “stenomask” or Nuance’s software trained to your voice. She closes by saying, in part, that there’s “no reason” a person can’t make $2,000 to $3,000 a month.

There’s a lot to be said about this. First, it embodies and emboldens our argument about quality. Do lawyers want the accuracy of the record to become a side hustle? It also points to what a scam digital court reporting / recording really is, because even if companies are able to successfully train enough digital reporters / recorders to take the work, it’s clear that there’s a transcriber shortage.

Digital court reporting proponents want to move to a system of digital reporters and transcribers despite a transcriber shortage.

Probably from the terrible pay! $0.30 to $1.10 per audio minute according to the video. That’s $18 to $66 per hour. That doesn’t account for any time it takes to submit a job or edit voice transcription mistakes, which could be 20% or more of a transcription. That doesn’t include any proofreading time. With average transcription times ranging anywhere between an hour and six hours, depending on the methodology of transcription, we could be talking about $9 to $33 an hour. Less if we actually divide by six, $3 to $11 an hour. That $2,000 a month could require between 666 hours and 60 hours. At that kind of pay, transcribers would probably be better off trying to argue that they are misclassified employees — at least it would guarantee the ones in America minimum wage, which the independent contractor title does not. At that kind of pay, it means digital court reporting / recording won’t have enough transcribers to cover all the work it wants to take from stenography.

Likely transcription influencer points to the pay one can expect as a transcriber, omits the extra time it takes to transcribe certain matters.
Image of a transcriber reporting that a 1-hour deposition can take 6 hours to transcribe.

Transcription companies utilize influencers to bring in business. It’s not hard to imagine transcribers also being lured in under this model. Transcription fixture Rev is open about their influencer program to bring in business, which I respect.

Could Rev’s influencer program create content misleading to jobseekers?

This is an easy peek at how companies manipulate folks. Throw up an attractive model, make something seem great, get people to buy into the idea. Once they’re bought in, post-purchase rationalization and confirmation bias keep them bought in unless they have a horrifying epiphany or really bad experience.

There are people in the field speaking out against mistreatment, but progress is slow. Stenographers can take note that the cracks are forming in the narrative of the larger corporate players though. Is this the future? Yes? Then why are we paying people like it’s 1990? Is this equal to stenography? Yes? Why don’t you pay them like stenographers? No? Why are you selling it? What’s the turnover like with these people we pay peanuts to? High? Why are you wasting all that time and energy retraining people? Do you profit from it? Low turnover? Then where are all these people? We have to deal with a crushing reality: Most of the data that people would need to make good decisions is in private hands that profit from the data being unavailable.

Luckily we have our own influencers and their numbers are likely to grow once stenographic organizations and collectives start getting serious about reaching audiences. Can’t wait to see what the creative minds out there think up next.


TikTok user workathomewoman mentions in her video a 3 to 1 ratio being possible for an experienced transcriber.

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