Want to ditch the daily commute and become your own boss as a remote transcriptionist? With the right skills, this growing industry offers decent pay from the comfort of home – even on the other side of the world.
Kenya has emerged as a hotspot for transcription outsourcing thanks to widespread English fluency and low labor costs. But how much do these home-based workers really earn?
Can you make a living wage transcribing for overseas companies?
The money certainly beats typical incomes in Kenya. Yet the totals remain modest compared to Western earnings.
In this article, we’ll break down the earning potential for transcription contractors in Kenya.
You’ll discover average pay rates for entry level and experienced transcribers across specializations. We’ll also look at what really impacts your income potential in this competitive industry.
So if you’re considering transcription work, either locally or as a Kenyan exporting skills abroad, read on to learn how much this remote career can pay.
Table of Contents
What is a Transcriber?
A transcriber is someone who listens to audio recordings and types out written versions of the content.
This requires carefully listening to sometimes poor quality audio, accurately typing the words spoken, and including proper punctuation and formatting like speaker labels in the written document.
Transcribers may work with all kinds of recordings like legal proceedings, business meetings, medical dictations, media interviews, or academic lectures.
The Growth of Outsourced Transcription
The transcription industry has grown enormously in recent years.
Research firm Markets and Markets estimates the global market for transcription services will reach $25.79 billion by 2026 as demand increases across sectors.
Companies and researchers are gathering more audio data than ever before, but need accurate written records of the content.
Advances in automatic speech recognition technology from companies like Google and Amazon have also bolstered the industry.
While AI-based software can now transcribe simple audio recordings fairly accurately, human transcription remains essential for catching every word precisely when audio quality is poor or speakers talk over each other.
The need for perfectly accurate written records has led many companies to outsource transcription to developing countries like Kenya.
Outsourcing Transcription for Cost Savings
Kenya has become a popular destination for outsourced transcription thanks to the large English-speaking population willing to work for relatively low wages.
The average annual income in Kenya is around $1,770 (2016 estimate), significantly below income levels in America, Europe and other major economies.
Outsourcing transcription to Kenyan workers allows companies to drastically reduce labor costs.
The developing economy and widespread fluency in English make Kenya an optimal destination for basic transcription work.
Companies are also increasingly outsourcing specialized legal, medical, or academic transcription to Kenya.
While these types require expert knowledge and training, the hourly rates are still far below what would be paid to transcribers in developed nations.
Income and Pay Rates for Kenyan Transcribers
So how much do these transcribers in Kenya actually earn? Income can vary substantially based on experience, skill,and the types of projects transcribed.
Entry-Level Transcriber Wages
Those new to the field face low wages as they build skills and gain experience. Entry-level transcribers in Kenya may only earn:
- $2-5 per audio hour for basic transcription
- $5-10 per audio hour for more technical work requiring specialized knowledge
With experienced transcribers capable of transcribing one hour of audio in 3-4 hours, new transcribers may make $6-20 total per finished hour.
Higher rates go to those with training in legal/medical terminology or fluency in multiple languages.
Experienced Transcriber Wages
With a few years of full-time work, skilled transcribers can increase earnings to:
- $10-15 per audio hour for general transcription
- $15-25+ per audio hour for specialized transcription
Experienced full-time transcribers may earn $250-500 per week, with the highest earners bringing in $1,000+ for niche medical or legal transcription.
Factors Impacting Transcriber Income in Kenya
Several key factors impact how much transcribers can earn:
- Experience – higher pay rates come with years on the job and accuracy.
- Specialization – legal, medical, academic domains require advanced training but offer much higher pay.
- English fluency – near-native English skills are crucial for the highest paying transcription work.
- Certifications – completing certified training programs can qualify transcribers for better opportunities.
- Platform – some providers like Rev offer lower pay but more consistent work.
This table summarizes typical earning potential of transcription in Kenya:
|Experience Level||Type of Transcription||Pay Rate Per Audio Hour|
Income Relative to Kenyan Cost of Living
While professional transcribers earn well above the $1,770 annual average income, pay remains modest compared to developed nations. Kenya has a much lower cost of living, with expenses like:
- Rent – $400 a month in cities like Nairobi
- Food – $200-300 a month for basic but healthy diet
- Utilities – $150 a month
With limited living costs, experienced full-time transcribers earning $500 a week ($2,000 a month) can afford a decent middle-class lifestyle. However, the informal economy and inconsistent work makes it difficult for many Kenyans to earn regular professional wages.
Challenges Facing Kenyan Transcribers
Despite strong demand, many obstacles remain for Kenyan transcription workers:
- Irregular work – frequent gaps between projects lead to unstable income.
- Unpaid training – some firms require months of unpaid practice before hiring transcribers.
- Low rates – platforms like Rev pay as little as $0.30 per audio minute.
- No benefits – transcribers must provide their own equipment and healthcare.
- Crowded field – more trainees entering the market pushes down wages.
These challenges can make it difficult to earn a steady living wage, especially for those lacking experience.
Transcription can provide decent pay relative to overall incomes in Kenya. Experienced full-time transcribers in Kenya earn $250-500 per week, with highly skilled specialists making up to $1,000.
Yet entry-level workers struggle with much lower pay of $6-20 per hour as they build expertise.
English fluency, specialized knowledge, certifications and experience on reputable platforms dramatically increases earning potential for Kenyan transcribers.
But inconsistent work volume, unpaid training periods and intense competition remain persistent issues.
While outsourced transcription is a promising field, ensuring reliable living wages remains an ongoing challenge.