Microsoft contractors are reportedly paid $12-$14 per hour to transcribe up to 200 clips

What you need to know

  • Some Microsoft contractors reportedly make between $12-$14 per hour to transcribe up to 200 Cortana entries in an hour.
  • Microsoft contractors were recently in the news due to their ability to listen to Skype calls and Cortana queries.
  • The majority of the contractor work in the report is about transcribing Cortana queries.

Yet another report has come out about Microsoft contractors. This time, it's surrounding their pay. According to Vice, some Microsoft contractors make between $12 and $14 an hour to transcribe and categorize up to 200 tasks in an hour.

Leaked documents obtained by Motherboard, an investigative division of Vice, show that contractors are asked to transcribe and categorize large volumes of audio clips. Contractors reportedly need to listen to clips, transcribe them, and categorize them into sections such as "calendar" or "alarm."

The controversy is not surrounding the nature of the work, as many employees are asked to transcribe audio, but the pay rate. Some contractors are reportedly tasked to complete over 200 tasks per hour for a rate between $12 and $14. Some employees can reportedly receive a bonus of $1 per hour as well, bringing their rate to $15 per hour.

Microsoft's use of contractors to listen to audio clips of Skype calls and Cortana queries recently drew criticism. Microsoft contractors listened to clips including phone sex and other intimate details as part of their transcription work. At the time of the first report, it wasn't explicitly stated that Microsoft used humans to listen to these audio recordings. Microsoft later confirmed the use of humans.

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Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at (opens in new tab).

  • It's a Vice story. That's all you need to know.
  • pretty much junk news lol
  • Your minimum wage is a joke.
  • Yeah, it's way too high in so many states.
  • Contractors? Sounds like something more suited for Amazon Turk Workers. Though I guess they are sort of contractors.
  • I don't get how this is news.
  • It's not news. It's Vice. And WC is running with it.
  • Sounds like a fair wage to me.
  • An important part not mentioned. Are they contracted directly through MS or is it a 3rd party arrangement and they work/contract to the company that MS contracts with?