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So you want to learn how to become a transcriptionist and make money from home? Excellent! Transcribing is a lucrative side income idea, but if you take the transcription job seriously and establish yourself in the transcription field, you could leave your day job and work full-time with the potential for great earnings.
Fortunately, general transcription doesn’t require much investment besides a good computer, internet connection, excellent headset, and perhaps a foot pedal. But if you would like to venture into specialized niches of transcription, such as legal and medical transcription, you may need to invest in training and certificates to become qualified.
Whichever niche you choose, if you are dead serious about earning from transcription jobs, then it pays to know as much as you can about what the job entails, how to get started, and what you can do to excel in this industry.
Transcription refers to the process of turning an audio file into text. The person who works in transcription is often referred to as a transcriptionist or sometimes a transcriber. He or she listens to the audio and then types the words into a word processor.
But the meaning of transcriptionist extends far beyond converting audio into text. As a transcriptionist, you also need to make sure that the text is free from grammatical errors. You are also expected to research the appropriate words or phrases to ensure the quality of the transcript.
Transcripts are essential in several industries and professions, including general business,as well as legal and medical fields. While it can be cumbersome to listen to an audio file to find the information you need, a transcript (the audio file’swritten counterpart) allows for an easier search just by typing in a keyword.
Additionally, it’s more convenient to read (than listen to) a transcript of a meeting, podcast, or video in which the speaker is inaudible. It is easier to make sense of a thought or statement in written form than from an audio file that’s hard to decipher or understand.
Professional transcriptionist services are in high demand, and those who work these jobs can earn a decent to a lucrative amount. According to Indeed, transcriptionists in the United States can make an average of $13.39 per hour. Established companies may pay more, as much as $60 per hour.
Transcriptionists are often paid per project, usually per audio hour or minute of the file you need to transcribe. According to Thumbtack, general transcriptionists charge between 75 cents to $1.50 per minute of the audio file they are working on.
The rates can increase in certain instances, like if you receive a bad-quality audio file. The speaker’s accent, background noise, volume, and clarity of the audio file can impact the rates you set for the job.
Finally, the cost of the transcription service may increase depending on the turnaround time. If the client requests a rush transcript,the text must be sent quicker than your standard turnaround time and you can demand an appropriately higher flat fee for the rush work or increase the standard per audio minute rate.
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How to Become a Transcriptionist: What You Need to Get Started
The market for transcription jobs is relatively easy to enter, IF you have the right attitude, skills, and equipment.
To become a transcriptionist, you need to have the following skills and attitude to flourish in this opportunity:
A good transcriptionist has a firm grasp of English rules, including grammar, punctuation, syntax, and spelling. Some projects may require verbatim copies, that is, you need to type the words in the file in the exact way they were uttered; there are also other transcripts that require non-verbatim. For the latter, you need to be sure to produce a clean, error-free, and easy-to-read transcript, following the proper rules of the English language.
A good transcriptionist must have a good ear for listening. Some audio files may be easier to transcribe than others, but sometimes, you will come across difficult files containing background noise, thick accents, indecipherable speech, and other problems. You have to be able to listen attentively and make sense of what’s being said to produce a clean, high-quality transcript.
Since transcription jobs are paid per every audio hour or minute of the file. It is essential that you can type fast and error-free to earn as much as possible. A lot of transcriptionists are savvy typists, with a good starting speed of 40 words per minute. However, through more practice and training, you can bring your typing speed up considerably to 80 to 100 words per minute. The faster you type, the more work you can do and the more money you can earn.
Transcribing can be very repetitive work. You need to listen to the file, rewind, type, and listen once again to capture the true utterances. In addition, you also have to be patient and diligent in repeating the process to provide outstanding output.
You also need to be accurate in your work to create a high-quality transcript. With that said, you should have a keen eye for detail and be highly precise and diligent in performing research. In this line of work, you will hear words and phrases you’ve never encountered before, such as names of people or places or complicated medical terms. You have to research these words to ascertain that they are the right words uttered by the speaker.
Not only do you need the right skills and attitude, but you should also have the proper equipment to start your career in freelance transcription. You need to have the following to begin offering your services:
A computer is essential for producing digital files of audio. You should also have a word processor like Microsoft Word in order to type in the text.
Most transcriptionists work remotely, so an internet connection is a must-have. It’s good to have a website and business email where you can download the audio file and upload the transcribed content.
A good headset allows you to listen to the audio file more closely. Headsets with noise-canceling features are perfect for this job as they diminish background noise, allowing you to focus more intently on the audio file.
A foot pedal is a device that allows you to play, rewind, and fast forward the audio file by having to step on the levers instead of doing it manually from the audio player or software. This device can help you complete the transcription process quicker than doing it manually.
Once you’ve rounded up all the equipment above, started getting clients, and you can see yourself working in the transcription field for a long time, you may consider investing in a few more devices and equipment that can speed up the process. These may include transcription software (particularly crucial for formatting and time-stamping), an ergonomic keyboard, a very comfortable office chair, time-tracking software, a good dictionary and thesaurus, and a file converter.
Transcription jobs are generally classified into three categories: general, medical, and legal transcription. Depending on your skills, education, and work experience, one of these categories may be better suited for you than the others.
This involves transcribing audio files for interviews, videos, and podcasts. It may also encompass business transcription wherein you transcribe meetings, discussions, and conference calls. You don’t need special training or certification for general transcription work, but you still need to be a fairly fast typist with a good eye for accuracy.
If you want to learn more about general transcription, check out this popular General Transcription course that teaches everything you need to know to start working as a transcriptionist.
For a limited time, Transcribe Anywhere also offers a FREE General Transcription mini-course. See for yourself if this is the right career path for you.
This involves the transcription of court hearings, depositions, and so on. You need to have some legal background to do legal transcription and be knowledgeable of the legal terms and phrases to be proficient at it.
If you want to specialize in legal transcription, this Legal Transcription course could also help you get started setting up a legal transcription business. This course has fourteen modules designed to help you learn the skills you need to land legal transcription jobs.
This involves the transcription of doctors’ dictations, as well as other medical documents. Medical transcription requires specialized training, and you need to be knowledgeable about medical terms and procedures.
Whether you decide to work as a freelancer, independent contractor, or under a transcription agency or company, it’s good to know that transcription jobs are abundant. For remote transcription, you can start looking at these sites for potential money-making opportunities:
- Transcribe Me – Check out our Transcribe Me review!
- AccuTran Global
- Rev.com – Is Rev legit? Check out our Rev Transcription review!
- TigerFish Appen
- Daily Transcription – Check out our Daily Transcription review!
- Castingwords – Check out our Castingwords review!
- Cyber Dictate
- Literably – Check out our Literably Review!
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Does transcription seem like a good fit for you? If yes, you may consider investing in a course that could help you develop your transcription skills, speed, and accuracy so you can offer high-quality and top-notch services to your clients.
Transcribe Anywhere offers popular transcription courses created by an established transcriptionist, teaching beginners how to listen to poor audio, punctuate correctly, and type quickly.
The courses also serve as excellent refreshers for seasoned transcribers. And the best part is you get a certificate after completing the course, which makes you look more professional and credible in the eyes of potential clients.
Transcribe Anywhere also offers free mini-courses that give you an initial look into the transcription world.
You can sign up for the FREE general transcription workshop or mini-course here to see if working as a transcriptionist is right for you.
If you are more interested in legal transcription, they also have a free legal transcription mini-course.
Transcription is one of those work-at-home opportunities that allow you to work at your own pace, set your own hours, and determine your own rates. It’s perfect for moms who are savvy about the English language and grammar, have impeccable typing speed, and are good listeners.
You don’t have to spend toomuch on business equipment to get things moving. And if you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can spend some time and money learning the ropes through certified courses and workshops.
If you’re still wondering ifo becoming a transcriptionist is a great work-at-home gig, the short answer is yes!
All in all, there’s a good demand for high-quality transcriptionists, and you could be one of those people earning a decent income without leaving home or missing family milestones!