How to Start a Career as a Transcriptionist and How to Get Experience

February 4, 2019

How to Start a Career as a Transcriptionist and How to Get Experience

Have you thought about ways to earn a stable flow of income while staying at home? If yes, then you may have come across transcriptions as one of the most popular and in-demand job that you can apply for. There is no shortage of job openings for any aspiring transcriber and you’ll find that the requirements needed for this type of work are usually just a working computer, earphones, and good internet connection. Nowadays, being a certified transcriber is much easier compared to the past since various associations that provide certifications now exist. However, once you start applying for the job, you'll notice that employers usually ask if you have experience as a transcriber or not. Moreover, your employer will test your typing speed, grammar mastery, and auditory skills — gauging your rank and pay grade from there. What then, if you have no experience? Don't fret. Even the best transcribers have to start somewhere.  Although, having ample knowledge about the business of transcriptions will certainly give you an edge on the competition.

You may be thinking that a transcriptionist ties closely to data-entry. While they may belong to the same premise, there is a unique difference. Data entry leans on transferring a written material to a better one, making it more readable and easier to understand, whereas transcriptionists works with a recording and transcribes audio to a written form. Transcriptionists are sought after as they save researchers, niche markets, and a wide range of other businesses, a significant amount of time by producing transcripts of meetings, conference calls, and interviews while they focus on more pressing matters.

Transcriptions can be divided into two separate business platforms: Human and Automated. Human transcriptions offer greater accuracy and quality due to their flexibility and ability to do research, though admittedly, they are slower and more costly compared to automated. On the other hand, automated transcriptions are great if a client requires a rush transcript. However, this risks the quality of the transcript which is why transcription services usually have proofreaders for voice-to-text cleanups. Since machine learning is still a developing technology, humans are still the better option when it comes to accurate transcriptions. In addition, multiple transcription services now offer rush transcripts for those with upcoming deadlines. Knowing the difference between the two is essential since it gives you a hindsight on what to expect for your first few transcription requests, especially if you decide to work for a transcription service.

As a beginning transcriber, starting with general transcription requests is highly recommended. These are usually interviews with very clear audio, with two people speaking in little to neutral accent. The topics in these requests are general in nature and does not include complex terms. An example of this would be interviews about product responses for market research. General transcription requests are great for building up your pace in transcribing and preparing your ear for the more challenging ones like legal and medical transcription. Unlike general transcripts, these are more difficult due to the number of complex terms you need to familiarize yourself with. This is especially apparent in medical transcription. On the other hand, when it comes to legal transcripts, services look for transcribers with a sharper ear who can handle multiple speakers and can catch every little utterance or nuance in the audio recording. Once again, it is highly recommended to start with general transcriptions so you can get a good grip on how things work as well as practice to get to median level, before tackling more challenging requests.

It is also advisable to take note of any terms you may come across. Even the best transcribers keep note of topics they have been assigned to and their experience with them, making the quality and timeliness of their transcripts stand above the rest. There are times that you'll be assigned cases with the same topic you've worked on before so not only will you find it much easier to transcribe it but you’ll also be able to finish them at a faster time frame. You may even find yourself enjoying a topic that was assigned to you. Since transcriptions can cover anything under the sun, you might get something that you are innately familiar with. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll get better and better in quality and speed. Many transcription services offer a reward system for transcribers who consistently put good and quality transcripts. That is why transcription work can become very lucrative for some freelancers.

Knowing your way around transcripts and familiarizing yourself with terms are the keys to starting your transcription work in the right places. Although, getting transcription experience is not as easy as it sounds and the science and art of transcribing has arguably a very steep learning curve due to the variety of topics you would come across. However, there are plenty of ways to build your experience and improve the quality of your transcripts regardless of varying difficulty. With enough practice and experience, you’ll eventually pave your way as a top-notch transcriber.

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