I started in October of 2014, editing remotely. I've been impressed with Scribendi's professionalism from the beginning - everything is well organized and I've learned a tremendous amount through working here. Feedback from both clients and internal review comes frequently, and they keep you on your toes. I could see that if you were not a top-notch editor, things could go downhill for you quickly, but it seems that they are quite rigorous in their hiring practices to get good editors in the first place. 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.
None that I can think of.
I have been working at Scribendi part-time (Less than a year)
pleasant tone to communications
incentives for certain jobs
some very difficult documents
new rating system is annoying
I worked at Scribendi full-time (Less than a year)
You have complete control over your work schedule and where you work. I really enjoyed being able to work outside if I wanted to. The work was challenging, and I enjoyed learning new and interesting things through the documents I edited. The other remote editors were very friendly and supportive in the forums. I enjoyed talking to them. I did like the karma point system because it was easy to accumulate karma points if you helped with the late-running orders. You can redeem your karma points for different rewards, such as gift cards, merchandise, and MS Word keys.
They expect too much from their editors in too little time. A lot of the papers are very poorly written ESL documents, and 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. Furthermore, if the client needs to be contacted and the deadline is approaching, you have to submit the incomplete document to the customer anyway or else Scribendi's system will punish you for returning the document late. I felt this was very unfair and unprofessional.
Most of the time, you wind up working 10+ hours a day on something that should have only taken 6 otherwise. It makes the pay really not worth the hours you're working.
I shouldn't have tried to work with them full time because meeting monetary goals while maintaining high-quality work was pretty much impossible. In the end, it got the best of me. The successful editors at Scribendi seem to work part-time and already have years of editing experience. If you can't keep up with Scribendi's pace (or pass the majority of your QA checks, which are another story), you get the boot.
I also disliked that they didn't put a lot of effort into offering further or advanced training for their editors. I would have liked to have participated in a training webinar instead of taking their "training" sessions on their sister site, Inklyo (which were long, repetitive, and mostly unhelpful).
Advice to Management
Provide more training opportunities for editors to refresh their editing knowledge or even learn new things. Cramming it all into one, long, frustrating "training" session on another website doesn't work. Also, telling editors to review the 5-star editing examples when they ask for more training is not enough.
Also, one editor mentioned that his or her last place of employment had a grading system where, if a document was an F-grade level document, the goal was to make it a C-grade level document. I feel this kind of system would be better.
I worked at Scribendi (More than 10 years)
They helped me transition from medical transcription to proofing/copy editing
They contacted me 11 months after I'd submitted a resume. They were fine with my work when they were a little Mom&Pop shop, but then they applied for all these accreditations and my Editor number (#8) didn't look good. They were looking for a constant turnover of editors and, years after I'd been working for them, they introduced training. I aced the training, even finding typos that the "experts" had missed. Then they introduced a QA department that docked editors for such nonsense as "US writers don't use 'hence'; they use 'thus.' Only UK writers use 'hence." They kept picking at me and picking at me until I felt as if there was some chirpy little QA person watching over my shoulder. In short, I'd been there too long. Eventually they told me I no longer fit their business model, and I was dismissed.
Advice to Management
Don't presume to edit fiction when you okay something such as "In her right hand, the woman held a lamp. The woman, in her other hand..." Exactly how small was the woman in her other hand? Oh, and to be fair, my tenure fell under the Chandra Clarke regime. I do not know Patricia Riopel, so this should not be a reflection on her administration.
I have been working at Scribendi full-time (More than a year)
There is plenty of work available, and you can choose the projects you like. The board may be a little lean during the summer and at other academic down-times, but I've been able to earn a modest and steady living. They provide tools to enhance your productivity, as well as a knowledge base to help you answer many basic questions as you edit.
The company does not support their editors. When clients complain, the order is reviewed by their full-time staff. No matter how high your score, no matter how well they esteem your editing, no matter how petty the client's complaints are (including that the client just didn't like a change you made, which they could just choose not to accept in their own revisions), the client is offered a redo or a refund. Frequently, the client requests a different editor for this. Again, no matter how high your review score or what praise was given to your work by the senior editors, if this request is made it will be granted, and you can lose your pay (and your time) for that order. Unfortunately, because all remote editors are contract workers, this is legit, and you have no recourse.
I understand that keeping clients happy is how they stay in business--it's part of how all companies stay in business. But there appears to be no point at which the company will stand by the work of their editors, and no point at which the client stops being right--no matter how petty, foolish, or unreasonable they are being in their requests and complaints. The worst part is that clients have figured this out, and they appear to know that complaining enough can get them free services.
Clients are not expected to take any measure of responsibility for their own work. You will see some truly abysmal writing in this job, and there appears to be no limit to the expectations placed on you to turn it into something worthy of highest regard (no matter how poorly conceived, constructed, and written it is when it comes to you). At the end of the day, there's only so much you can do without extensively researching and rewriting concepts from scratch (a no-no at Scribendi, and rightly so as that is not editing), but clients expect things to come back to them with no further review or writing necessary on their part, regardless of how dirt-poor the original was. In fact, client complaints often fall under the category of "I don't want to keep this change that the editor made," and rather than simply rejecting that change in the review process (a simple click of a button), they complain and demand a redo or a refund.
In short, do not expect clients to be reasonable and do not expect Scribendi to EVER take your side, even when they deem your work "excellent" or a client's complaints invalid.
Advice to Management
There needs to be some balance between satisfying customers and supporting your staff. Refusing to ever stand up for the work your editors perform is not only a disservice to them, but it is a disservice to you. Deeming an editor's work as well-done privately and then publicly demanding that they redo it is not only duplicitous, but it shows that you have no faith in your workers. If you really believe that you are a premium service that hires premium people, then there needs to be a point at which you balance the needs of the customer with confidence in your employees. The poolside snack stand at which I worked as a teenager was more willing to stand up for its employees, and that job required no education, experience, or real training. If your extensive hiring process and training courses cannot produce employees that you are proud of, then you need to become more stringent. If you're satisfied with the employees that your system produces, then you must, at some point, occasionally, take their side.
I have been working at Scribendi part-time (More than 3 years)
Flexibility. Large variety of work. Excellent in-house staff and management who treat their remote editors with the respect and the attention they need.
You must be fast to earn a decent income. Unfortunately, many of the documents that you begin with barely past muster and require very careful attention and substantive edits. Until you reach a certain rating and/or average QA score, you'll be stuck with ESL and technical documents regardless of your credentials or background.
Advice to Management
Allow editors who specialize in creative writing to edit creative writing documents. Restricting them to ESL/technical documents because of a couple poor quality assurance checks in fields that they are not experts in is counter intuitive.
This is a work-from-home position that provides a lot of flexibility. Scribendi provides extensive (but essentially unpaid) training that covers grammar, editing, proofreading, and more. Remote editors have the ability to choose their assignments, and there are typically quite a few assignments available.
The pay is project-based and is usually absurdly low. Most projects are from ESL writers, and many take a very long time to complete. I tend to earn between $15-20/hour, but more difficult projects reduce that rate. Scribendi offers "karma," which is basically a $0.05-$1 boost to assignments that aren't getting picked up. Woohoo, an extra five cents?! It's insulting.
Advice to Management
Please consider paid training. The time commitment greatly exceeds the karma that is issued. Please also consider increasing karma values.
This is a decent remote option, but prepare to be hounded and to edit ridiculously bad ESL papers. The pay is less than my current job. The module for training and picking up work is decent, but you will be expected to take their test and go through their extensive and condescending training (full of bizarre photos of cats) with no pay.
The team, at first, seems like they are willing to work with you, but they're not. They're all about money, and if you don't earn repeat business for them, you will be fired.
Advice to Management
Beware of Scribendi!! They don't just expect you to edit papers (which is what they claim to be). You will actually be in a job in which you are expected to teach non-English speakers about their paper and about the use of proper grammar, and if you aren't a teacher/coach, you won't make it. If I wanted to be a teacher, I'd be a teacher! However, I am an editor who thought I was signing on for an editing job. My editing skills are exceptional, and I've never had any problems or dissatisfaction from ANY of my clients except for Scribendi in my 15 years of editing. Their rating system is ludicrous; if a client who is basically a non-English speaker doesn't like your revisions (that they probably don't understand anyway), they can give you a low rating, and Scribendi will dock you without reviewing your side of the story. Instead of giving cash bonuses to incentivize, they give out stupid "karma" points that you can exchange for gift cards. Totally wasted my time working here. They do not care about their editors at all. I was let go via an email...no warning, no phone call, no severance, no time to line up other work to replace lost income. This company sucks.
Yes, editors can work when they want, but the writing they must edit is so terrible and the pay so little, that the freedom is not worth it.
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/hour, but I averaged $5/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.
Many editors obviously pander for positive feedback, which is just sad.
Advice to Management
You say you won't rewrite students papers, but that's exactly what your editors must do. Also, have someone edit your Quad articles as they don't adhere to the very grammar rules you insist your editors must follow.
I like being able to pick up as much or as little work as I want. Editors have access to a board of jobs that they can view and accept if they so choose. I also like how I can work from home and take a week off if I have other commitments in real life or at my other jobs.
The pay rate is based partially on the turnaround time of the jobs and partially on the number of words contained in the document. Sometimes I can pick up a job that pays 2 or even 3 cents a word, but those are getting harder and harder to find. I have been with Scribendi for the last three years, and I have found myself looking for other jobs to supplement my income because I can no longer depend on making what I used to each month.
The pay is low. Most of the jobs are ESL writers so they take much longer than expected, especially if they are highly technical. I average about 1 cent per word here. That is a terrible rate. Scribendi also has a policy where editors must do 10,000 words each calendar month to remain active. If you don't, your account is deactivated.
For the past six months or so, there has been little work available. With so many remote editors looking for jobs, you have to get online at all hours of the night to find a $10 order and hope that it isn't due in 6 hours. I also feel that the customer service department is more likely to side with the clients instead of the editors if the clients have questions or complaints. It's a difficult situation when your client doesn't speak English as his or her first language yet the quality of your editing is questioned and Scribendi forces you to redo the order (or not get paid at all) without even allowing you to address the client's concerns. I do not feel like a valued employee here; I feel like a number who can be easily replaced. The worst part is that Scribendi keeps about 50% of what they charge the client, so if I get $100 for an order, Scribendi also gets that amount. That is a large commission.
The turnaround times on orders are too short. I usually feel as though if I just had another hour, I could do a much better job. Scribendi allows customers to choose 8-hour, 12-hour, 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour or 1- or 2-week turnaround times, but the editors have a deadline that is shorter than that. For example, an 8-hour order shows up as only 6 hours remaining as soon as it's posted. While this is a great policy for client satisfaction because clients feel as though they get their work back early, it's terrible for editors who already are working second or third jobs or have family responsibilities. I have to pass up many orders because I know I won't have time to do them adequately because the deadline is too soon. I think Scribendi could avoid a lot of complaints by rewarding editors who turn things in early but not rushing the jobs across the board and trading quality for saving a few hours.
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