Captioning is very flexible and an easy way to make money from home. Rev is a new breed of service provider which hires freelancers for positions like translations, transcription and captioning.
Today, I have an exclusive interview with my friend Kelly Pruitt. She works as Rev Captioner. I found out many interesting things about being a captioner after talking to her. Have a read and find out more details about this opportunity.
Please tell us about Rev?
Rev is a company that hires freelancers to do transcription (audio files), translation (foreign language files), and captioning (video files). I work for the captioning side, and we seem to be growing at an exponential rate on the captioning side.
We have more captioners than ever, and we have more work than ever. Rev is constantly making improvements to help us be more productive. They listen to our concerns, and they actively work to resolve our most pressing issues.
I haven’t done much freelancing outside of Rev, but from what I understand, and from my limited experience, Rev’s responsiveness to their freelancer’s concerns is pretty unprecedented. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of it.
What is Captioning?
You know how you can push the CC button on your remote or in the menu settings on your TV, and then words pop up on the bottom of the screen that show you what’s being said?
We type the words out, broken into perfectly readable chunks of text, and then we drop them into their appropriate time slots through a process we call syncing.
This is most important for the hearing impaired, but into today’s digital world, it’s also important for when you want to finish watching that season of your favorite show or catch up with your favorite YouTube channel, on your phone/tablet/laptop while you wait in a public space without earbuds.
Can anybody do captioning? Does it need any expertise?
Almost anybody could do captioning. If you have difficulty typing, hearing, googling, following directions, or using very basic grammar, then it may not be right for you.
I had exactly zero experience when I started less than a year ago, and now I’m a grader and quality control specialist. The faster you can type, the more you will earn.
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Can you describe the nature of work in detail?
Grammar isn’t as imperative for captioning because people don’t speak in perfect grammatical sentences, especially in conversation.
You’ll want to know how to spell, how to research project-specific terminology, basic homophones, and when to end a caption group in just the right spot to make it flow into the next one, obviously.
We only get 60 characters per line so that a single sentence might be broken up into three or more groups.
On the flip side of that, if you are a strict grammarian, you will have a hard time getting used to not using perfect grammar. A common thing we tell beginners who fall into this category is “Love the comma, embrace the comma, the comma is your friend.” Our primary focus is readability because the words don’t stay on the screen that long.
We’re not as concerned with when a semicolon would be more appropriate than a comma, and we use colloquial spellings like wanna and gonna.
At the same time, we have some pretty strict style rules of our own, and learning them is crucial to staying on the team. Our grading system is pretty harsh.
What is the application process?
It is a quick application and a test. If you pass the first test, you will be invited to take a couple of more tests. Providing you pass those tests, there’s a short probation period for you to become a full Revver.
If you can go through with your first 80-150 video minutes with good metrics, you get to stay on board. You can be promoted as early as 80, but after about 150, if you still can’t get your metrics up to standards, then you’re let go.
During this time, while you’re waiting for account activation, you should ask lots of questions, study the Style Guide, take your time, and get to know what you’re doing and you won’t have any trouble of being promoted just as soon as you cross that 80-minute mark.
Many captioners do this within the first week. I did it in two and a half.
How long have you been working for Rev?
I started in October 2015.
What is the best thing that you like about captioning?
I am a nursing assistant in a dementia unit. It’s an exhausting job, so I love that on my days off from there, I don’t even have to get out of bed if I don’t want to, and can still earn extra money for my family. I love the variety of work that we get.
I am an avid learner, so I am always thrilled to caption anything educational, whether it’s a college lecture or a documentary. I love captioning movies and old television shows just as much. The work is a refreshing change of pace from my other job, for sure.
Most of the time, it feels more like entertainment than work.
How much can you earn with captioning?
There’s no “maximum.” They don’t cap your earnings. I made $75.66 yesterday, and that was in between errands, laundry, dinner, dishes, and helping four kids with homework. Some of my fellow Revvers claim to make 500+ a week.
A lot of people just set a daily goal and then work to meet it. The most common goal I hear is $50/day. It’s pretty achievable, most of the time. The work does ebb and flow, so it’s not always stable.
There is no “minimum” either. Once you are promoted from Rookie status, you are a Revver. So long as you keep your metrics (grades) up, you are free to work as much or as little as you want.
Rev pays through PayPal, every week, whether it’s a holiday or not. I have never had a single issue with payment from them. I believe they are starting to experiment with direct deposit.
If somebody fails the test, can they apply again?
I failed the transcription test a year ago and was told to try again in 6 months. I didn’t. I just applied for the captioning, got in, and haven’t looked back. I suppose that’s an important note. The transcription test and the captioning test are totally different things, if you fail one you can try the other one right away.
Do you think captioning can be a good work at home side income?
Absolutely! Since starting with Rev, I haven’t had to stress over my grocery bill nearly as much.
With all that said, it totally depends on what your ends are.
For most people, this isn’t going to be a stable source of sole income. There are days when the work is more scarce than others. Either more people are working, or fewer files are coming in.
If you’re looking for a FUN way to make a little extra cash, then I highly recommend applying.
My earnings have doubled from my early days. When I started out I was typing maybe 55 wpm, but now I average 80, with my record being 93. Also, when you’re first starting out you’re stopping to check the Style Guide over every little thing and hanging out in the forum trying to learn all the things, so your speed increases once you’ve got all that down.
While there is no limit to how much you can earn, according to the website, the average monthly earnings are $240 and top earnings are $1,570.
Are you ready to try becoming a captioner, go ahead and apply for this fun way of making some side income.
The best part is you get to indulge in your inner pleasure of binge watching your favorite TV series or movies and still make money off it.
I would like to thank Kelly Pruitt for taking out time to give such a great interview.
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Do you think this is a good side gig? Let me know in the comments.