Rev.com seems too good to be true for those that need English language transcription. It gets good scores from its customer approval but low ones from those doing the hard work.
99% accuracy, allegedly
Fast turn around
Low, low price
Poor employee reputation
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Before we dive into Rev.com, we need to clearly outline how we’re making our evaluation of these services.
Our series on transcription services apps will evaluate the features, pricing options, competition, and overall value of using each service.
However, these are not hands-on reviews since evaluating a service based on a single performance would not be objective. As this is a human-based solution, how good the transcription is will be based wholly on the performance of a single individual and their capabilities on the day.
These companies aim to provide a level of service, but it's for the customers to evaluate if the transcription is appropriate for their needs.
What we also consider is how the company is perceived not only by its customers but its employees who provide the service.
Rev.com promotes itself as a one-stop shop for transcribing and captioning (both foreign and native languages) with a straightforward pricing model, fast delivery and professional high quality.
Is that an accurate assessment of Rev.com, or is the reality slightly different?
- Want to try Rev? Check out the website here
Some transcription services have complicated costing models, but Rev.com offers a flat rate of $1.50 a minute with a 12-hour turnaround and 99% accuracy for English transcription.
That seems a good deal, and it gets sweeter when you discover that there are no extra costs due to multiple speakers or strong accents.
If you are desperate to get the transcription back, you can select ‘Rush’ mode for an extra $1.25 per minute, reducing the turnaround to under four hours.
Other extras include Time Stamps ($0.30 p/m) and Verbatim ($0.50 p/m). But, this is probably one of the cheapest services using human translators with high levels of service currently available.
How it works
The primary path for files to be uploaded to Rev.com is through a web interface on the website, and this can also accept URLs for audio or video files already on a Cloud service.
The file types supported include MP3, MP4, WMV, AIF, M4A, MOV, AVI, VOB, AMR, WMA, OGG, AAC, and WAV.
What they won’t accept is physical media (SD cards, CDs, tapes, wax drums), if you’ve got those.
For large operations, it is possible to automate uploads with the Rev.com API using numerous integrations, including Zapier.
They also have iPhone and Android applications that can directly record audio and send it for transcription without needing a computer or other pre-processing.
From there, the source files travel to one of the 60,000+ professionals transcribers that Rev.com uses. With this many transcribers, it enables the business to offer the rapid turnaround that is the service's signature.
That 60K figure does appear to be a huge number, considering that Rev.com quotes 170,000+ customers, meaning it has a transcriber for every three customers.
What it also promotes is that the service is 24/7, and we took that to indicate that not all these transcribers are in the USA, but spread around the world in various time zones.
Rev claims that all those that transcribe are English native speakers, but that could easily include people in Europe, Asia and beyond.
Once the work is complete, it is made available for review and editing using a Rev.com web application with interactive tools for annotating. Files can then be shared or exported in various formats once the results have been reviewed.
Everything about Rev seems right, or at least from a customer perspective.
Where things seem decidedly less rosy is in respect of how this company treats those that do the transcription work.
Based on numerous online statements made by ex-transcribers on Trust Pilot, Indeed and other feedback sites, it doesn’t value those that do the work. The other significant issue is that the pay would be considered a minimum wage, or below, in many countries.
Those doing the work are not Rev.com employees in a conventional sense but freelance contracts that Rev.com can end for whatever reason. And they often don’t give one, cutting off that person without any income or notice.
According to those that have had that happen, once contract termination has been used, there isn’t any mechanism to appeal or even contact the company to find out why it ended the contract.
What the precise truth to this situation is, we can’t judge. But there seems to be a sufficient number of unhappy ex-transcribers around that there must be some basis for these criticisms.
From the customer perspective, if they’re OK with these issues and the low pay that transcribers potentially earn, the quality of the transcriptions appears to be acceptable for the majority of customers, most of the time.
Where customer complaints were more often found were those related to the subtitling of videos and how these were either inaccurate or out of sync. Not everyone experiences this, but some have ended up in conflict with Rev about the quality of the work.
Overall, it is possible to get a workable service from Rev.com at an amazingly low price, but other services have fewer people trying to warn others who might consider transcribing for them.
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Mark is an expert on 3D printers, drones and phones. He also covers storage, including SSDs, NAS drives and portable hard drives. He started writing in 1986 and has contributed to MicroMart, PC Format, 3D World, among others.