Scribendi Reviews

Updated 8 Jul 2020

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2.9
39%
Recommend to a Friend
26%
Approve of CEO
Scribendi President Patricia Riopel  (no image)
Patricia Riopel
3 Ratings
Pros
  • "high standards for entry and quality (the editing test is hard)(in 27 reviews)

  • "The other remote editors were very friendly and supportive in the forums(in 10 reviews)

Cons
  • "and then watch them give you false assurances that your document has been handled by a qualified person(in 10 reviews)

  • "If an editor can't stay above an 80 average, you get stuck in the ESL dungeon(in 10 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (2)

    "Founded in 1997, stuck in 1997"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chatham, ON
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Scribendi full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    a permanent job with material benefits work life balance

    Cons

    Let's begin: 1) pathetic physical office environment. the interiors and layout is so terrible, one would want to simply get out and not return. management obviously have the best and largest and the most convenient space in the entire office. 2) HR is not a team or department, don't let them fool you outsiders. It's one freshly graduated person supervised by another who is such a generalist that she knows nothing about anything, yet everything about everything. 3) this one is for clients - client servicing (or CS) is a team full of people who are administratively brilliant at best and have no knowledge (I repeat, NO KNOWLEDGE) of the publishing and editing or academic industry. They think being in customer service is qualification enough. 4) the editing manager has been here for over 10 years. this is his first and only job in his life. and surprise surprise, his knowledge of the job and all things related comes from his experience here. when presented with outside knowledge, outside best practices, outside worldviews, he will dismiss them, disregard them, and then cloak them under "this is how things have been done here so far, so since these are being done through our direct experience, let's keep doing that". 5) the upper management, consisting of 3 people, is nothing but an uptight bunch of know-it-alls, when the reality is that none of them have ever stepped out of this tiny town in conservative Ontario to understand what the academic publishing scene actually is. out of these, 2 are purely businesspersons. they know nothing of the industry and they only care about costs and benefits. if it costs to be aware of the most recent events in society, and it doesn't provide any material/financial benefit, then let's not do that. the 3rd has got no other experience in life apart from being in this company, and has made herself director because, well, who else will be in charge? 6) management (including all managers) behave the way they want to. they can be abrupt, they can be rude, they can be elusive. and when confronted, they ask others to act professionally. they take no responsibility for any of their behaviors and actions, and when questioned, they will make it their business to shut down the person and/or the conversation so that nothing else can be said about that. 7) DO NOT let the website presentation and the fake reviews (obviously done by current employees who are either very new or very much under orders (says a lot, doesn't it)). the people seen in the photographs do not exist. except for the management of course, they need the red carpet treatment and show-off. 8) in conclusion, this is a company founded in 1997 and still stuck in 1997, because all said and done, the management is, when you think about it, a few white folks who think they know the world and don't need to know anything else. they have no inclination to improve, grow, change to conform to 2020 standards. and most importantly, they make this clear in every staff meeting. 9) there are absolutely no career opportunities for editors. the in-house editing team is supposed to do as told and not question. and anyway, they hire anyone and everyone as in-house editors. doesn't matter if they are capable professionals as per latest industry standards. so clients, when freelance editors don't pick your order, some random in-house editor will, and he/she may not be remotely knowledgeable about your academic field. and then watch them give you false assurances that your document has been handled by a qualified person. it's just about getting someone who can read and use the computer from this same town or the nearby towns. 10) the pay is worse than horrible. admin and reception people get paid more than this. 11) culture doesn't exist. what culture? when it's just a few people who don't want to get out of this tiny town. who needs to learn, we know the language, we know the industry, why bother going outside.

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  2. Helpful (10)

    "Take, take, take. Give, give, give."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Freelance Copy Editor in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Scribendi part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    For editors who can't find work otherwise, or who want to earn a tiny bit of supplementary income in the evening when they'd rather be spending time with their family, the Scribendi platform connects them with short-term editing projects they wouldn't otherwise have access to. For EFL students who don't want to actually do the work of learning English, or for university students incapable of writing grammatically correct sentences but who feel they should be given a degree anyway, the Scribendi platform offers an inexpensive way out of doing the hard work of studying and applying learned knowledge to a task they'd rather not be bothered with.

    Cons

    I will say this: you are required to go through a THREE-HOUR online "test" for them to consider allowing you onto their platform to take on projects you won't have enough time to complete, for clients who'll pass their EFL course because YOU wrote their essays, for what will end up being a third of the salary you thought you'd make..

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "Great culture and amazing product"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Scribendi full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    - Work life balance - Opportunities to learn and grow - Great culture, employees' voices are heard by management - Amazing product

    Cons

    - Numbers of holidays per year, but it's a standard in Canada

  4. Helpful (4)

    "Pleasant to work with"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Editor in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Scribendi part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    pleasant tone to communications incentives for certain jobs

    Cons

    some very difficult documents new rating system is annoying

  5. Helpful (29)

    "Thought It'd Be Better"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Remote Editor 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Scribendi full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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).

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    Scribendi Response

    January 25, 2019

    Hey there, and thank you for your feedback. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed having control of your schedule and workload. Scribendi’s flexibility and wide variety of documents are often appreciated by freelancers! We are also happy to hear you enjoyed the karma system and its rewards. We understand your desire for further training, but we hire experienced freelance editors who are self-employed contractors, so we do not train them on how to edit. However, while their professional development is their responsibility, we do aim to fully support our editors in meeting our high standards and to provide free access to numerous editing and proofreading resources, which we are always looking to improve. We have also revamped our QA system to account for editors’ effort in revising documents. We are sorry to hear that you found our expectations to be too high. While we do see documents by writers of every experience level, we ensure that documents of any length can only be placed with realistic turnaround times. We expect our editors to edit at the industry standard of 1,000 words per hour, as noted in our application, and many of our editors surpass this without sacrificing quality. Since we provide our editors with full autonomy in terms of the orders they choose to accept, if the turnaround time for an order does not look feasible considering their speed, they do not have to accept the order. It is true that editors will incur karma penalties if they return a document late, but an incomplete or poorly edited document should never be returned to a client; this is clearly against our editorial policy. We value quality above all else and strive to deliver this to our clients every time.

  6. Helpful (27)

    "Copy Editor/Proofreader"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Copy Editor in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Scribendi for more than 10 years

    Pros

    They helped me transition from medical transcription to proofing/copy editing

    Cons

    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.

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    Scribendi Response

    January 25, 2019

    Hello, and thanks for your feedback. We are glad that you were able to enter the editing industry through Scribendi. However, we are sorry to hear that you felt as though you were let go as a result of a changing business model. We never seek editor turnover, as we do value our freelancers; our core group of experienced freelance editors is the backbone of the company. In addition, while the quality system can sometimes seem tough, we find our quality system to be vital, as it ensures that we consistently provide value to our clients. We constantly strive to ensure that our quality system is fair, and we have a review system in place to handle any concerns. Transparency and accountability are key aims of the current administration.

  7. Helpful (69)

    "(Don't) Stand by Me"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Editor 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Scribendi full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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.

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    Scribendi Response

    January 25, 2019

    Hello, and thank you for your feedback. Scribendi aims to provide freelancers with the autonomy to decide what work they wish to accept, so thank you for pointing this out. We are also happy to hear that you had the resources necessary to successfully complete your work. We apologise that you felt there was a lack of support, especially in relation to complaints. However, it is untrue that complaints always result in redos or refunds. We always protect editors from fraudulent (or simply incorrect) complaints, and we look at all complaints objectively through our highly calibrated quality system. A redo is only offered if a specific complaint is valid or if many errors remain in the document, which we believe to be fair. If the error is on the client’s end or Scribendi’s end—and not the editor’s end—the editor will always be paid for the work they have done. If a complaint is valid, however, we do ask our professional editors to take responsibility for their work. Maintaining quality is essential for customer satisfaction, but such satisfaction never occurs at the cost of fairness. It is true that we accept orders from inexperienced and ESL writers. We believe that everyone should have access to our services because everyone deserves the opportunity to communicate clearly and effectively. This does mean that we have to provide a great final product even for challenging documents. However, we never compel freelance editors to accept such documents. Editors only ever have to edit when and what they want, and we believe that this flexibility provides editors with a lot of professional freedom.

  8. Helpful (24)

    "Good for the part-time worker."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Remote Editor 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Scribendi part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Flexibility. Large variety of work. Excellent in-house staff and management who treat their remote editors with the respect and the attention they need.

    Cons

    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.

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  9. Helpful (34)

    "An honest company with room for growth"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Editor in Toronto, ON
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Scribendi

    Pros

    As a former in-house employee turned remote editor, I can now say that I understand both sides of the Scribendi coin. The main perk of working in-house was that it gave me a unique opportunity that truly was not available anywhere else in the region. Editing tends to be a very city-centric profession, so finding a job like this in Chatham, ON really felt like a stroke of luck. If I hadn’t been hired at Scribendi, I likely never would have gained the experience I needed to pursue a career in copyediting. Scribendi is an excellent place for young and ambitious people to start out after finishing school. The benefits of working remotely are quite different. The biggest one would be that remote editors are not obligated to complete any orders they are not interested in doing. If you don’t want to commit to a job that will take up a lot of your time, Scribendi may be a good option for you. I find that working as a remote editor to supplement the income from my full-time job really works well for me. Scribendi takes a lot of the stress out of freelance work, as the Customer Service team handles all communication with clients. You never have to worry about negotiating for your paycheque, either. You can totally rely on Scribendi to send you what you have earned on time each month. (And the pay is in USD, which can definitely be a perk!) Scribendi’s management team is also obsessed with doing things right. As an ISO-certified company, Scribendi has strict processes that it must follow in everything it does. As a former in-houser and as a remote, I have to say that I really appreciate working somewhere where corners are never cut. The quality assurance system, which some other reviewers have complained about, is NOT stacked against editors. In fact, editors are always given a chance to redo or revise any work that has not passed a quality assurance check. Honestly, Scribendi is not some giant corporation out to steal money from the pockets of its editors. It’s a very small group of people in an office in small-town Ontario who work very, very hard to do things right.

    Cons

    There are some cons as well, unfortunately. As an in-house employee, the main cons were the very unusual (and relatively inflexible) schedule and the stress of busy season. Unfortunately, Scribendi is a bit of revolving door when it comes to in-house staff, which can have an impact on the workplace culture at times. There are a few cons specific to remote editors as well. Depending on where you live, you may find it very difficult to make enough money to support yourself without working 10-hour+ days on a regular basis. There are also times when no work is available at all, and this is very stressful for people relying on Scribendi to pay their bills. Pay is also distributed once per month, which could be difficult for budgeting purposes. As some other reviewers have noted, a lot of the work Scribendi receives is in really terrible shape. ESL writers from all around the world use the company’s editing services to help them get through their educations, and I can definitely see how some editors are not down for helping people with such poor English skills receive degrees they may not be ready to earn yet. Moral ambiguity aside, the biggest problem with these orders is that they often do not pay enough to be worth an editor’s time. Scribendi’s pricing is based on two factors: word count and turnaround time. The larger the word count, the more an order costs, while the longer the turnaround time, the less expensive the service. This model has its flaws. Scribendi generally expects its editors to work at a rate of 1,000 words per hour. For ESL orders that essentially need to be re-written, this is not a realistic expectation. A 10,000-word dissertation is two days’ worth of work, not one, but to take the time needed to complete such an order, an editor may end up only making about $10 an hour. In other words, the most difficult orders often pay the least. As someone who only works remotely for supplemental income, this is not a huge problem. I simply don’t pick up the orders that aren’t worth my time. However, for those relying on their Scribendi income to pay their bills, these orders are sometimes the only options. Completing orders like this can definitely make one feel undervalued—or it can lead one to complete subpar work. This also caused me considerable stress when I worked in-house, as the bulk of these orders end up falling on in-house employees, who are paid an hourly rate and who are put under a great amount of pressure during dissertation season to get everything done in very little time. In short, Scribendi sometimes expects too much of its employees, both in-house and remote. Many other reviewers have mentioned the QA system as a con, but I have to disagree. While there may be a bit of learning curve for new editors, ultimately, those who are able to adapt and learn what is expected of them always figure out what it takes to pass a QA. And, as I mentioned before, there is always an opportunity to make up for any mistakes you may have made the first time around. Sometimes I think it’s hard for editors to admit that they are humans who make mistakes, but ranting on Glassdoor certainly isn’t the way to deal with that.

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  10. Helpful (33)

    "Remote editor"

    3.0
     

    I have been working at Scribendi

    Pros

    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.

    Cons

    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.

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Found 21 reviews