Online only, so far

Transcribers revolt

SOON AFTER we reported Angus Batey mentioning his use of transcription service rev.com at the September London Freelance Branch meeting, Andrew Draper (@nordicandrew on Twitter) alerted us to the company's unilateral one-third cut in the rate it pays human transcribers. The transcribers are resisting, for example with this from @thricedotted:

"All right folks, I'm about to post a thread that's going to endanger the last reliable source of income I have. Spoiler: it's yet another example of a gig economy startup brazenly mistreating its workers... Rev advertises itself as being one of the cheapest transcription services around. a flat rate of $1 per audio minute! The exact rate that freelancers on rev get paid for a job is set by an algorithm, but the vast majority of jobs typically came in around $0.45-0.50 per audio minute, with $0.45 being the baseline.

"Last Friday, rev cut their base pay to their transcriptionists for $0.30 per audio minute - a full third - with practically zero warning. No email, just before a long weekend... almost as if they were trying to slip it past us.

As @slatornews pointed out, this was "retweeted thousands of times and... picked up by a number of media sites" - including a piece in the New York Times: "How a Gig Worker Revolt Begins".

There's a petition:

We're still pondering the ethics of using the rev.com machine transcription service. Instinct says not to, until the company sees sense. Readers have pointed us to the machine transcription service at www.otter.ai