How To Become A Transcriptionist

Are you interested in how to become a transcriptionist. Transcription is a line of work that attracts a lot of interest. If you want to become a trancriptionist, we have some useful information on the profession and some details that will help you better understand transcription and how to get into it.

What is Transcription?

Transcribing is the act of converting audio into text. For example, if you have seen a movie and it has subtitles at the bottom of the screen, those had to by typed out by transcribers.

How Transcription Works

If you are going to work as a transcriptionist, arguably the most important thing you need to understand, outside of the transcription work itself, is how payment works. Most transcription jobs pay per audio minute. This means that you get paid for the length of the file that you transcribe. Essentially, you get paid for the task. You do not get paid for how long you work so you are not getting paid per hour but per task.

How fast you can type determines how much money you can make from transcription. The generally accepted ratio for the average transcriber is 6:1. What that means is that to transcribe one minute of audio would take most transcriptionists 6 minutes.

The average typing speed for most people is 40wpm. For transcription, in order to transcribe at the cited ratio, you must have a speed of at least 50 to 60wpm. If you have a slower speed, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot be a transcriber but it will have a big effect on you r earning potential.

Skills Required For Transcription

The skills that you need to do transcription successfully are the following

  • Accuracy and precision
  • Great listening skill
  • Good Grammar and Spelling
  • Fast Typing Skill

How Important Is Typing Speed For Transcription?

A fast typing speed can help a lot in determining how much money you are able to make. Although, most of the tangible work is in typing, typing is not as important as the other skills. Fast typing is more of an advantage than a necessity. Your eligibility for remaining on a transcription program is not affected by your typing speed so long as you are able to submit files before deadlines, which you should be able to do.

Automatic Transcription Technology.

With the development of technology transcription is becoming a lot easier and more time efficient thanks to the advent of auto transcription. Automated transcription is the generating of a transcript by a software programme. Some transcription platforms like Scribe now have automated transcripts that assist the transcriber. Automated transcription has varying degrees so accuracy, determined by things such as the quality of the programme and audio quality. This means that the process still requires a human ear to ensure that the audio is accurately transcribed. For a transcriber, this reduces the workload by between 70 and 99% depending on the quality of the original audio.

How To Be A Good Transcriptionist

When you work for different transcription programs, it is important to keep in mind the style guide for the different programs. Style guides are the stylistic guidelines set out by the different companies that inform how you will transcribe. They cover things like spelling, punctuation, and stylistic differences like the difference between American and British English. So even if you are excellent at English, you have to transcribe according to the style guides because something that is academically correct can still be incorrect on a specific platform.

To be a good transcriptionist, you have to spend some time and energy to get good at it. Regularly take typing test to improve your speed and accuracy. When practicing, you should focus on accuracy first. This is might seem like it takes longer but it is the more effective method. If you are not accurate you have to go back and correct things which ends up taking you longer in the long run.

How To Get Into Transcription

The easiest way to get into transcription is through online transcription platforms like Scribie, TranscribeMe or By virtue of being online, they are available to more people. The platforms I have mentioned are always hiring and they are open to people from anywhere in the world who meet the requirements. Once you have honed your skills on these platforms you can look for higher paying job.

There are a couple of ways to move into higher paying transcription jobs. Firstly, you can market your skills on online marketplaces like FIverr where you get to deal directly with the client and can negotiate your own rates in some instances. Another way is through job vacancies or though forums that relate to literary work. Thirdly, you can market your skill through your own business and even produce your own learning material or guides on transcription.

Complementary/Required Devices

To transcribe you only need to have a typing machine or a computer with a keyboard. Use of a foot pedal used to be recommended but the technology in recent transcription software virtually eliminated the need for a foot pedal.

If you are doing your transcription work online, you will also need a modem and an internet connection.

Advantages of Transcription

Location Independent -Transcription is done on a computer with a keyboard in this day and age. This means that can be done from anywhere. For this reason, most transcription jobs are remote and you can do the work from your home for virtually all companies that you work for.

You can learn a lot during transcription. The subject matter of the audio that you transcribe can cover a wide variety of subjects and you are bound to find very interesting topics and learn a lot. I gained a lot of knowledge on Artificial intelligence because I transcribed an hour long interview of a consultant by an AI company

Flexible Hours – Transcription work only comes with a due date and time for submission. You can do it at a time that is convenient to you.

No Specific Qualifications Needed – To be a transcriptionist, you only need to have a good literary grasp of the language that you are transcribing in. There are also no age or physical limitations that affect your ability to do the job.

Disadvantages of Transcription

Low Pay Rates – While there are some transcription jobs that can pay a decent hourly rate, most of the platform that you find online will pay very low wages

Time Consuming – Transcription is a very time-consuming job. If you do not have a very fast type speed then you will make a lot less than people who do. An hour of audio transcription can take a person between 5 and 12 hours to do depending on their typing speed.

Variable Quality Of Audio –  The audio files that you find on online transcription  are usually of a bad quality. You have to spend a lot of time looking for one that is of an acceptable quality, which is time wasted that you are not paid for.

Overall, transcription is a decent way to get started in earning online. But is is not a viable way to earn in the long term. If you are looking for a way to earn a full-time income from home, then check out my number one recommendation. It is free to get started with no risks on you part.

Bottom Line

Transcription is an option for anyone who enjoys typing and is good with the grammatical and spelling aspects of a language. It is easy to get into no matter where you are in the world. As you improve your skills and learn more, you can progress onto better paying better paying roles or even freelancing. For a list of transcription companies, check out our reviews of different transcription platforms. If you are looking for something that gives you a consistent income to cover all your needs, then transcription is likely not it. Bu is a good start.

Have you done transcription before and have tips to share? You can share some tips or leave your own transcription insights in the comments below.

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