Transcribers needed, read the ad. That is, freelancers to turn audio files into into text using one of several programs that allow the user to play a conversation while typing its contents into a box above the audio player’s controls.
The application included a sample MP3, about fifteen minutes in length, that the applicant was to transcribe per the company’s style manual and return.
I downloaded the manual and file, and transcribed the audio. The job took about an hour. I copied the text to a Word document, formatted it per the instructions, deleted all the “OKs” and excessive ellipses, gave it a grammar and spelling check, and then proofread it again.
Came the response, that my effort did not meet the demanding quality-control standards the company expected of its transcribers.
Careless and sloppy have become the accepted standard in writing, and most everywhere else. “Your” and “you’re,” words than mean two different things, are now interchangeable. Apostrophe’s go where they don’t go. How wonderful, I thought, that the art of perfection is still valued by at least one company that deals in the printed word.
Unless I just did some work for them for free.
Maybe the company needed people. It’s also possible that the ad was in disguise a scheme to clean up a backlog of work at no cost. How perfect, in the age of careless, need anything be? Especially the transcription of an interview re the good and bad points of a certain theme park.
Freelance Writers Wanted. Work From Home. Content Needed Now!
New variations on this pitch appear every day. Some ads lead back to the same source that multiple-posts on Craigslist, and posts on every other freelance writing job board. The pay is sometimes as low as one dollar per 400 words. Many ask the applicant to submit a sample article.
How easy it would be, assuming the source actually does supply content to clients, to get unsuspecting rookie writers to give it free in the form of sample articles.
If I’m asked for a writing sample, I include a link to my AC home page. Among the advantages of working for write-for-cash sites is one’s collection of on-line clips, work for which the writer has already been paid.
Submitting samples in the form of completed, stand-alone material, is of course, a judgement call. If The New Yorker asked me for an original writing sample, I would come up with something, and send it right away, hi. For an outfit that pays one dollar per 400 words? I don’t think so.