Scribendi is an online editing platform that enlists freelancers to proofread and edit a variety of documents, including essays written by English as a Second Language students
Expected pay: $5 – $50 per hour (pay is by the edited word)
Commissions & fees: NA
Where: Nationwide, but excludes 16 U.S. states: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington DC, West Virginia, or Wyoming
Requirements: College degree in a relevant field. Broadband internet, antivirus software, Microsoft Office and a pc or Mac computer. Pass an editing test
Scribendi enlists freelancers to edit and proofread documents, providing information about the pay and word-count before you accept the job. Freelance editors can work full or part-time, but they’re paid by the job — not by the hour.
How it works
If you want to edit for Scribendi, the site demands that you first read the freelancer FAQs on its website. These spell out a wide array of requirements, including education, software and your willingness to edit documents submitted by English as a Second Language students.
Freelance editors must dispatch a 1,000-1,500-word document in an hour. That would amount to editing four-to-six double-spaced, typed pages an hour. That’s a pretty standard requirement for this type of work. PenguinFreelancers, for example, expects copyeditors and proofreaders to edit an average of 10 pages per hour.
However, this isn’t a run-of-the-mill editing job. Many of Scribendi’s clients are ESL students. Scribendi’s editors complain that the papers they’re asked to work on are often in miserable shape. Thus edits can take far more time than editors expect. And, the longer it takes to edit a document, the less you earn per hour.
You pick projects
You’re allowed to review and reject any given job. But, if you’re trying to work more than occasionally, you may need to accept some of these challenging manuscripts.
Scribendi maintains it has plenty of work for those who want to edit full-time, but are happy to accept editors who want to work less.
Seasoned editors may be able to make a good living with this site, if they’re picky about projects. Some editors who have worked with Scribendi report earning as much as $50 an hour. But others report earning as little as $5 an hour.
Editors are paid once a month via Payoneer.
Some editors on the site says that Scribendi requires you to sign a non-compete agreement, which is an inappropriate ask of a freelancer. However, Scribendi maintains that is not correct. Freelancers are able to work for whomever they wish, a site spokesperson maintains. However, the site refused to provide a copy of its freelance contract, so we could not confirm this either way.
This site does not take freelancers from 16 U.S. states. A site spokesperson says this is because of restrictive freelance laws in those states. Some freelancers say it’s because of the non-compete clause, which would effectively turn them into employees.
It’s extremely important that you read any freelance agreement that you sign with this company. If it bars you from working for other proofreading sites, do not sign it. It would prevent you from working for sites that pay better.
What their users say (from Glassdoor)
They expect too much from their editors in too little time. A lot of the papers are very poorly written ESL documents. They expect their editors to turn them into perfect masterpieces in just a few hours. Many of these papers require way more time to complete than is provided.
They’re weirdly serious about making everyone sign a three-year non-compete agreement, which seems excessive and unfair to freelancers. They aren’t even hiring in American states that won’t enforce it anymore.
The company expects perfection from at-home editors working on horribly written documents. This perfection is impossible to attain without rewriting the article/paper. Most work is submitted by students or researchers who have ESL.
Decline bad projects
Scribendi is an editing service that works like this: there’s a pool of available orders, each one with a fixed price and deadline. Pros: – You know what you are going to get paid up front. If you look at an order and it’s absolutely terrible and not worth the money, you don’t have to take it. You can select assignments that need a reasonable level of editing based on the dollar amount assigned to the order. There are absolutely no hours. The only requirement is that you edit 10,000 words per month, which can easily be done in a day. Other than that, you can work however much and whenever you want.
The pay is good – it depends on how rough the English is on the assignments you get. But you have 20 minutes to decline an order if it seems like it will not be worth the effort. Overall I’m averaging about $20/hour, although the first month was a little below that.
My experience with Scribendi has been very positive. While it is not my full-time job, I lean on in it when my other work is scarce, so it has helped me fill out my schedule as a freelance editor.
Whether this job pays you well or not depends on your skill and commitment. I earned US$9000 in my first full month at Scribendi. I work when I want, as much or as little as I want, from wherever I want, which means I can work and travel. Now, I’m working part time to put myself through university, and still earning more than any other job I’ve had. On a good day, I make US$50 an hour.
Lots of work
Plenty of work. I’ve been working only for them for the last year or so and earning a full-time income. Good pay rates, especially if you learn from them and your fellow editors so that you increase your editing speed (and quality).
When I became a parent (and then a grad student) going back to my in-house publishing job was impractical, and my former freelance contacts were out of date. Scribendi offers exactly the right way of earning a living for me at this stage in my life – it’s completely flexible, interesting, and can be done from anywhere in the world. I earn around £500 a month working the equivalent of about 4 to 7 full working days a month.
Time-consuming ESL edits
The pay is terrible, because it takes so long to edit the documents. I could work at McDonalds and earn more. Also, you have to do a ludicrously long “test” to get accepted.
The expectations are unrealistic and the timeframes are exceedingly tight. At most, the time allows for a simple grammar check. But the expectation is that you also provide extensive comments and suggestions for improving the writing. If you don’t, you have to do it again or risk no pay.
Thanks to Scribendi, hundreds of students who can barely write a sentence are getting advanced degrees because they have their papers rewritten by Scribendi editors. You can make a living wage if you can work 8-10 straight hours every day and, thus, do one-day turnaround jobs. But I am a caregiver, so I could not take any jobs that had to be returned in fewer than 5 days. As a result, the most I ever made for an edit was $8 an hour, but I averaged $5 per hour. For one two-page document that took me 30 minutes to edit, I made $3.25. I was a teacher, so I liked to explain why an edit was necessary. In one of my Quality Assurance checks, I had points taken away for this and was told, “Don’t explain how to fix it, just fix it.” So the writer, in other words, learns nothing.