Friday, February 10, 2012

Why I think Way With Words Group is a sophisticated scam

I write online and have also been teaching English since 2003. Mind you, this post is not about me but about the art of transcription. So, I saw an ad by a company called Way With Words, who are recruiting and indeed, have a rather rigorous screening in order to earn a few cents...IF you pass ALL their tests, mind you.

Get this. They give you a complicated grammar test that I cannot print here due to my not wanting to violate any rules. I passed it, I am a grammar teacher. However, they then send you the Britney and Justin bit of audio which is really rubbish but I went through with it (just to see how far this ride lasts). They send me an email with another file attached called Hings* - now that was an audio trip to hell. I need to see things to the end, so sat with it, made my mom and everyone else I knew listen to it...all repeated the word 'shit', again and again. Yes, cause it was crap.

Now this is where I become suspicious as they get a 7.5 minute bit of audio transcribed from us (admittedly, not me) - which I get a reply to say that it is not accepted and they can not give me the correct version for privacy reasons.

Again, if they did this with all individuals applying - would they not be getting free transcription services? How does one not know that those are not so called 'live' files?

Now, I am an English teacher and I have given many audio tests...the quality of the one they gave me was ridiculous (again, it was clearly recorded in hell...where they will all be going to, IF this is indeed a scam). I am writing this to inform you that those few minutes took all of US hours...because of the background noise.

Now here is the fascinating part. How much do they want to pay you? It averages about $7 per audio hour people...mind you, if you behave...they will increase it to about $10 per audio hour. At that quality of audio, it will take you a day - you are better off selling stamps at the Post Office.

If you insist on transcribing, go for companies like Scribie that actually PAY you for the sample test that they give. It is usually 6 minutes long. You get a measly $1 but it works out to $10 per audio hour. STILL more than Way With Words Group.

If you would like some pointers on legitimate ways to earn money and WASTE NO time...head over to the website www.realwaystoearnmoneyonline.com. I am not affiliated to the site at all but found so much highly valuable information out there, I had to share.You can get started earning immediately. I will start adding payment proof here soon.

One last thing, Way With Words, offers workshops too - and they do not come cheaply, save your money and work for online transcription services rather, if you want - they will direct you to the free software etc...do not waste money on foot pedals etc. You are here to MAKE time and MAKE money...not waste it.

That is my two cents which will hopefully save you lots of time and some money. More reviews of companies to come...

26 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I'm also a teacher, and got all the way through to the Hings test, which also took me hours! I was told that I was "very" close and therefore, should reapply in three minths. I emailed back for some feedback on my errors because I really thought I'd done pretty well. They did get back to me, to my surprise, and said that this test is extremely hard, and that very few people get through it. They said my errors were in missing some of the product names - which is a big deal, and that my "mis-hears" just accumulated to a few too many. What is frustrating though is that they tell you the audio is terrible, and that's not a good enough word - there are parts that sound as though they are talking underwater WITH a train going past at the same time - and they tell you to write UNCLEAR where it is inaudible. I wrote unclear only one time. I'm like you though and just want to see if it IS possible to get through the "tests". I may retry in 3 months and see how far I get. I enjoy a challenge!

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  2. Have you had any experience with some decent companies? I actually enjoy transcribing and would love to earn some money doing it with a reputable company!

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  3. Thank you so much for writing this article. I am a medical language specialist (fancy title for medical transcriber) working from home, but I'm thinking of getting out of the business because of low pay, weekend hours, etc. In researching online work possibilities I came across Way With Words Group. I went into their chat room and asked if they were BBB registered, to which they replied they were worldwide, they did hire some US transcribers, and that they used a "Best Practice Policy". I asked them where I could find this "Best Practice Policy" and received no answer. The person to whom I was chatting then left the chat room. So, I performed a search on this policy. This did not convince me of anything, certainly not their trustworthiness as an individual business.

    The red flag for me, initially, was that if they hire you, they ask for your bank account number for direct deposit. That is the main reason I began research on them.

    Again, thank you for the heads up!

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  5. Strange! I also underwent a series of tests starting with the Britney and Justin collage, but only got as far as the third, with a Welshman talking about finance. But a few weeks later the company wrote back offering me a position as one of their overflow transcribers, but requiring that I send them a photocopy of my passport or driver's license. THIS seemed a red flag to me, and so I didn't reply. If they're also collecting bank account numbers, who knows what mischief they may be up to?

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  6. I had the same experience as kaspa75, curious if you chose to reapply? I did, and have been asked to transcribe the hings file again...

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  7. [Note: This is the same Unknown as above, signing in this way because the page seems unwilling to print my handle.] I returned to WWW's test page to download the files I'd never got round to, just to practice on, and found I'd gone one better than I'd thought and completed the Hings successfully (maybe because I'd once worked for an Indian family and grown familiar with the accent). Beyond Hings, two of the files have so much noise as to be virtually indecipherable, and a third one isn't much better. I've never known of a service that would have either accepted or assigned jobs with audio of such inferior quality (especially bearing in mind that transcription software has sh*te sound to start with). I ran my account of WWW past my boss, who claims hands-on experience with shady operations, and he concluded at once that it was a front for an application farm, with Americans the prime targets. That wouldn't account for all of the company's eccentricities, but might explain its somewhat slippery nature.

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  8. Well, for what it's worth, I am knee-deep in their assessment process, and I don't actually think it's a scam; at this point I just think it's an incredibly thorough vetting process that that takes an extraordinarily long time and a LOT of work. But, I'm not completely sure yet. Here's why I think those things (in short, my experience thus far). In late August I was informed that I passed the (incredibly rigorous) grammar test. They asked me to do the Justin and Britney file (which is obviously not a "live" file), which I completed and sent at the beginning of September. They did thank me for a good document and asked me to continue with the process (BTW, I did get a document back with all the corrections redlined). Then they asked me to do the Hings* file (which I agree was horrible! but was also not live, it was an interview from 2006), which brought the same result (was accepted with thanks for a good job and returned with the corrections redlined). Then they asked me to complete an interview with a woman named Iris Swain (which, again was not live but was an interview from 2009), which brought, again, the same result. They asked me to do a file called Huw Edwards (which I don't have any information on), which, once again, brought the same result. They asked me to complete another file, called Wild in Africa (which was a BBC television program which aired in 2006 - again, not live). Then I was asked to complete my "final" test, a file called Birmingham 26, which was a focus group from March, 2012. Same results, although it turned out to not be the final test. I was asked to do "one more file" called Teaching, which is an interview with a physics professor at University of Wisconsin - Whitewater (I can't find any information on that date, but it couldn't have been live because I've had access to all of their assessment test since they sent me a link after I completed the Hings* file in early September). I sent that in, and got exactly the same result, including that I have been asked to do, yet again, one more file. So, in conclusion, although this process has taken me so far over two months, with each file having a 48 hour deadline for me to complete and then between a day or two to a week for them to return them to me corrected (and to be fair, a couple of delays were mine - one because of an issue with one of my children and one because of a loss of power from the recent storm Sandy, both of which they were completely reasonable and understanding about), and I have put in a lot of time for which I have not and will not be paid (which was my choice - I could have quit the assessment process any time), I am choosing to continue and see if I can make it through. Maybe it's because I'm tenacious, or maybe I'm just plain stubborn, but I don't like to quit anything or leave anything unfinished! Perhaps these are good qualities of mine and it will turn out that they're looking for these in transcribers so they vet them really, really well, or perhaps it is all just a huge waste of my time and I will have spent many, many hours for nothing. My final (I hope) file is due early next week, so I should have an answer in about 10 days or so. I'll post again and let you know what happens...

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    1. Dear Rikki,
      I read your article about way with word, I applied for grammatical test thrice but not succeeded because may be i am not good as you are in English Grammar. I want to apply one again for that i need your help to succeed. would you like to help me? please mail me at my gmail account (idealboy2000in)
      Waiting for your reply.


      Delete
  9. I've had exactly the same experience, rikki66. I've done all the same tests as you, and I was asked to do Teaching as I had misheard a few words in the focus group and they wondered if it was because of the accents. I've just handed that in, so interesting to see if I get asked to do another. I am a bit worried about the bank details, but I can't find any other article or site that claims these people are a scam, and usually you get a pageful from Google if it's dodgy. All I can find, bar this article, are recommendations (although from sites, rather than personal experiences) and business listings. We shall see...

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  10. This is a scam. They are selling your transcriptions. BTW: I chatted with them.. & the first comment I got was "Hullo".. real professional LOL

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  11. I just started this process with WWW via a posting on FlexJobs... if this is the kind of "application" process, and it takes over 2 months and you're not even complete... I'm going to forget it. It's not worth my time.

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  12. Well, I’m back. I didn't make it! My “final” (third final) file was rejected. The audio on that one was actually worse than the Hings file, if you can imagine that! It was recorded at a school while the children were there, playing and shouting, in the background! I don’t get it. They said I could re-apply in three months. I don’t know if I will or not. I might because I’m stubborn that way, and have a hard time believing that all of that was for naught. But then again, I am not willing to put in double time for nothing, either. So I don’t know. But either way, I do still stand by my earlier assertion that Way With Words is not a scam, but just has a very (really, very!) thorough vetting process.

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  13. Oh, and BTW, Jay, you must not have read these posts. WWW cannot be selling our transcripts if they have all their applicants doing the same old files. Obviously these files are not live, and there would be no benefit to having hundreds (or thousands) of people rewrite say, the Justin and Britney file, for example (which is a good example considering its obvious age), or any of the other files they use. What you say just makes no common sense.

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  14. I was very excited about the prospect of working from home doing transcription, but I when I received instructions the "Hings", I though to myself, "Hings? That sounds like a disease." I had no idea at the time how right I was. The actual audio has got to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. It sounds like the inside of schizophrenic's head. I was so irritated by it after the first 46 seconds, I immediately googled it in search of a completed transcript so I could cheat. I guess I'm not the only one because it led me straight to here...lol. Glad you all have created this blog...I'm not wasting any more time and effort on that absurdity. Being tied to a nail of beds, set on fire, having an icepick driven through my eyeball, the having rubbing alcohol poured in it would be less excruciating than listening to that.

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  15. Sorry to hear so many of you wasted your time. I did make it through the application process, and did some transcriptions over a couple of months. In the end I decided to quit because it just wasn't worth it! It is not a scam - I was paid for my work, just not an appropriate amount. Some of the "real" audio files I had to work with weren't much better than the application ones. Don't bother!

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    1. Hi, it says on the website that they pay $33 per hour of audio they send you. Is this true? I am through the Justin and Britney transcript and I'm not sure if I should continue

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  16. Hm...I've just completed Britney and Justin, and it took me about an hour to finish Hings. I didn't think it was as bad as everyone made it sound, but that probably means my attempt will not be good enough for them! We shall see...

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  17. $33 per audio hour = 4 hours of typed material, therefore $8.25 per hour of typing. Not worth it unless doing transcribing for a hobby.

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  18. Passed Hings, now onto Iris Swain. Iris was MUCH clearer, I'm about to send it off.

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  19. I haven't gone through their testing process. I Googled to see if I could find any information about the company and subsequently read through all your comments here. I currently do general transcription for several other legitimate companies and after reading this, I won't be bothering to apply to test with WWW. I will tell you all straight up, if what you all have said is true, it is NOT worth it. What they are offering for pay is very low. You can earn much better elsewhere, especially if their audio is that bad. Test audios often are worse-case audio, but it sounds like those who have passed their "vetting" that the actual work assigned audio is no better. No way I would do really bad audio for $33.00 per audio hour. As to asking for banking info, that is a red flag. While it is pretty standard to have direct deposit set up (which would require your account number and routing number), that should never be asked for until you are actually offered a contract to work for a company.

    I realize some of these comments go back a ways, but if anyone is still checking back here, post again if you'd like to know the names of some companies to apply for that are not scams and that pay a lot better. I know one of my current contracts is currently looking to add more independent contractor transcriptionists.

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    1. Hi chloe1kat.

      Kindly send the names of the other companies as I would like to look at other possibilities.

      Thanks

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    2. I have just completed the Hings file but it sounds like the whole thing is a waste of time because the remuneration is so poor. I would really appreciate the names of the other companies. Thanks.

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  20. chloe1kat please do! I am looking for some reputable companies to transcribe for and, as the rest of you, have stumbled upon Way With Words.

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  21. I'm so glad that you all posted here because I too passed the grammar section but don't know if I'll continue. Because I'm curious though, I'm intrigued to listen to the audio and hopefully not spend a day or more trying to complete it. I have a hard time quitting too so I might get caught up too. Thanks for the info.

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  22. After easily passing the grammar tests and submitting the transcription of the Kevin/Britney audio, I was also given the Hings file to transcribe. I understand 'worst case scenario' training methods, but asking for several minutes of transcription, with a source file of such terrible quality, just seems a bit much for a test.

    Additionally, 'worst case' training when it comes to transcription should surely be based on the bottom line of what a company will accept as a contract. If there are indeed worse files than the Hings file as rikki66 stated, I'm really left wondering about the standard of future work. That's *if* I wade through their tests impressively enough to be deemed worthy.

    I'd also like to state that I've cropped a dozen of the images on their website/blog and image-searched them with Google. They're predominantly re-used images, watermarked by WWW.

    Thank you all for your posts here. Considering the rate of pay, the over-testing and the questionable nature of WWW itself, the fact that I could translate the Iliad in the time it takes to meet their criteria means I won't be continuing with their tests.

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