How to Become a Transcriptionist: The Complete Guide
Transcriptionists are in high demand these days. Transcriptionists transcribe audio and video recordings into written words, which people can use for legal documentation, medical records, or simply to help businesses convert audio and video content into text-based formats.
As such, becoming a transcriptionist is an excellent career choice for anyone interested in working remotely and making money from home. Here is what you need to know about how to become a transcriptionist.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Build Your Skillset
One of the most important skills to have if you wish to become a transcriptionist is the ability to listen carefully and accurately transcribe audio recordings into written words. After all, that is the whole idea of this job! You should also have good typing speed to quickly capture what is spoken on an audio or video recording without missing any details.
You should also have a keen eye for detail regarding spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax errors so that your transcriptions accurately represent what was said on an audio or video recording.
Furthermore, you should be able to recognize common phrases used in speech, such as “um” or “uhh,” which may not appear verbatim in the transcription but still provide context for understanding what was said.
In addition to the skills mentioned above, having basic knowledge of software applications such as Microsoft Word, GSuite, or similar ones can be beneficial to make your work more efficient. Having an understanding of audio editing software such as Audacity can also help increase the accuracy and quality of transcriptions.
To acquire all of these skills, check out some online courses that are available for free. You can find a lot of them on YouTube if you prefer video courses to textual ones.
Step 2: Get the Right Equipment
From computers and headsets to software and audio editing tools, you, as a transcriptionist, need several pieces of equipment to do your job effectively and efficiently.
Computer and a Keyboard
As simple as it may sound, the first piece of equipment that any transcriber needs is a computer with reliable internet access. The computer should be powerful enough to handle multiple tasks such as typing, playing audio files, and running audio editing software simultaneously without slowing down or crashing.
Though it may sound like an expensive investment, check your current PC before buying a new one. Even older-generation computers can easily handle a few applications running simultaneously. If that is not the case, try out different software that is less needful for resources.
Additionally, having an ergonomic keyboard can help prevent fatigue while typing for long periods of time. There are various keyboards available in different shapes and button layouts. You should try multiple of them to figure out which is the best fit.
The keyboard will be the device that you will use the most. If it makes your hands tired quickly, you will not be able to transcribe files efficiently.
Since you will need to type out what you are hearing, a good pair of headphones or earbuds is also essential for listening accurately during transcriptions. Good listening equipment can make even mediocre-quality recordings sound way clearer, making your work easier. Also, since people speak in different tones and pitches, a good pair of headphones could make hearing some words easier.
As with computers, even reasonably cheap headphones can provide unexpectedly good results nowadays. Before buying some new ones, check out the ones that came with your smartphone. In most cases, these headphones are of good enough quality to do transcription work.
If you buy new headphones or earbuds, go for the noise-canceling ones, as they provide extra comfort by blocking out background noises from your environment when you’re working remotely from home or other locations.
Audio Editing Software
Finally, a good audio editing program such as Audacity can enhance the sound quality or remove unwanted background noise from recordings. Access to this type of software allows you to provide accurate transcriptions with minimal errors and guaranteed customer satisfaction.
Numerous audio editing applications are available, and many are completely free (like Audacity mentioned above). Since options are vast, you should play around with a few programs and go with your heart. As this process is free, you will not spend a dime and find the perfect tool for yourself!
Step 3: Find Clients
Once your skillset is built and your equipment is ready, it is time to start looking for clients! The most straightforward approach is to check out some popular freelancing platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr. These websites offer a plethora of different gigs, ranging from virtual assistance, proofreading, and, of course — transcribing!
Although the options above are viable, they are not focused solely on transcriptionist gigs and have many users. A big user base means that the competition could be quite fierce. When there is a lot of competition, quickly landing a gig can be difficult.
Thankfully, there are freelancing platforms created specifically for transcription jobs. Surprisingly, quite a large number of them cater to all levels of transcriptionists — from absolute beginners to experts.
Some of the popular transcription-based freelancing platforms are Rev, GoTranscript, and TranscribeMe. To start using Rev, you must transcribe sample audio for a test and complete a quick quiz. Once that is done, you are free to choose from a load of available transcription jobs. As it is a freelancing platform in the transcription industry, you can work on your schedule, whenever you want.
As for GoTranscript, this website offers transcriptionist gigs in many different languages. You can use it to your advantage in case you understand multiple languages. You do not need any previous experience to get started. You just have to take a test and be accepted. The number of jobs available is nearly endless, with new material to transcribe added daily. This website also offers specialized gigs for medical transcriptionists and legal transcriptionists, for example.
And, finally, TranscribeMe. Just as with other examples, this service does not require you to have any previous experience. You have to pass a basic English examination, but, thankfully, it is not difficult. Once you are in, you will get around 5-minute long audio/video files to transcribe. The stream of these does not end, meaning you can work as long (or short) as you wish.
These are just a few examples of websites offering gigs solely for transcriptionists. If these three popular options do not sound right for you, research other similar platforms to find the best one for yourself.
Being a transcriptionist can be a fun way to make extra money and increase your listening and writing skills. Besides, you can also get better at the language you are transcribing, especially if you choose to transcribe material recorded not in your mother tongue.
With an audio file in the background and a document open to write what you hear, you can earn a bit more while working hard on your transcription. As your computer is running, Honeygain is giving you money — all without interrupting you or asking you to do anything!