Transcription: Everything You Need To Know

Transcription companies are in dire need of Transcriptionists. This need is just so high that some companies will gladly hire a novice, train him/her for free and pay this person for jobs. Most people faced with the challenges of unemployment have been able to get gainful employment with transcription companies. People have asked about transcription and so I have taken it up to myself to explain everything you need to know as a novice in this multimillion-dollar industry.

Transcription is the act of turning an audio file into text, word for word. A Transcriptionist or Transcriber is a professional that practices transcription. It is one of the work from home jobs that have changed the lives of so many people. Something that is supposed to be a mere side hustle is now a full-time job for some people.

Benefits of Being a Transcriptionist

The benefit of being a transcriptionist is unimaginable. Without waste of time, let’s check them out.

1. Employment Opportunities

Just as I stated earlier, there’re countless openings for transcriptionists in this industry. This is primarily because people do not know about this role. It doesn’t get numerous applications like professions like customer service.

It is easier getting a job via transcription companies than freelancing on your own.

2. Work-Life Balance

It’s not a lie that transcription offers you an outstanding work-life balance. You work from home and decide when to work. It’s not always time demanding if you go for projects that you can execute. If you want to travel, probably go for a picnic or go see your favourite person, you can always do that and continue work from there.

3. Flexibility

Transcription offers you the privilege to choose your schedule. Most people take this as a part-time job and decide how many hours they want to work per day. Payment is sometimes per project. Transcription companies offer you jobs based on your schedule so forget about working 9-5.

Spoiler Alert: It’s not advisable to take transcription as a joke. Most of the jobs here are time-bound. So if you have a job or project finish it within a stipulated timeframe to avoid sanctions from your employer.

4. Easy Application

If you want to become a transcriptionist, head on to one of the sites, take a test if necessary to see if you are good enough, if you pass the test, apply online and get your offer letter almost immediately. The reason for this is that most transcription companies automate their recruitment process. The system does almost everything.

You do not need a degree to do this job. So there’s no room to go through the hassle of checking your certificate. All you need is the skill set that we will be talking about in this article.

5. Supplement income

If the bills are way too much or debts don’t seem to be coming down, transcription can give you the leverage to make extra income while you pursue your dream in your chosen career. Remember I stated earlier that most people take this as a part-time job. And it’s not a problem for transcription companies or agencies.

Transcription Skillset

For you to be a good transcriptionist, certain skills are both necessary and compulsory for you to possess. The skills are as follows:

1. Listening skills

Recall that as a transcriptionist, you turn audio into text. You need to have very strong listening skills to do this. Listening is paramount because it enables the transcriptionist to understand what is being said in the audio file. If you cannot listen to what is being said, you’ll find transcription a frustrating job.

2. Accurate Typing

You need to be a fast typist. This is as important as active listening. I recommend at least 75WPM (words per minute) for a beginner transcriptionist. If you cannot do this, software like Marvis beacon, typing and Co can help you grow to as high as 88WPM. This software will also teach you the standard way of typing if use only two or three fingers to type. I advise you to learn and adapt to using your ten fingers because it’s like you decide to use two teeth to chew when you have 32.

Becoming a good typist primarily depends on your dedication to the goal.

3. Proofreading

One thing is to type another thing is to get the correct spellings. When proofreading as a transcriptionist, you only look at your spelling errors, not grammatical blunders. This is because you are expected to type what you hear verbatim, hence if the speaker makes an error, you don’t correct the error.

My favourite tool for this is Grammarly. Grammarly will correct every typographical error for you without ado. But you have to be very careful using this tool as a transcriptionist because Grammarly also corrects grammatical errors which you do not need.

4. Focus and Determination

Transcription demands a high level of focus for you to succeed. You need to focus on what you are listening to so that you’ll not miss words. Keep every form of distraction away from you; your phone, TV, kids (if any), friends and so on. You sincerely need to be on your own to do this, trust me.

Sincerely speaking, transcription can be a very frustrating job at times. Especially when you are given an audio file with poor sound. Or when the speaker’s accent is a problem. You’ll get so frustrated that you’d want to give up.

You also need to be patient enough to play back. Don’t think pro transcriptionists don’t playback, they do. So when you need to playback… please do.

This job is mentally demanding. When you feel exhausted, give yourself a break. You can work for maybe 30mins and take a 5 mins break and rest. Go grab that coffee, juice or water. Stretch your legs or return that call you missed while you were busy with work. These things help you rest your brain.

5. Computer Literacy

You also need to know how to use a computer, preferably a laptop. You don’t need to go learn programming or computer architecture. What you need is basic computer skills like how to open software, navigate through a computer system, email, Google search, Microsoft Word, etcetera.

6. Time Management

As a transcriptionist, you are not expected to spend too much time on one audio file when you have other audio jobs assigned to you by your company. Set a deadline and stick to it.

7. Multitasking

Multitasking is the ability to perform different tasks simultaneously. Multitasking skills help an individual balance and keep track of multiple tasks at once. Your ability to use your ears and fingers simultaneously is paramount. Most times, you listen, type and proofread on the go. This helps you in meeting up with time.

Transcription Tools

Can you imagine yourself typing as you listen to an audio or video track? Gush, the first time I tried it, I found myself moving from one window to another every minute because I want to replay what I heard 30secs ago, lol. So here we go with top tools that will make your transcription job a smooth ride.


InqScribe is a really good transcription tool that you can use to transcribe files from different sources both online (audio or video URL) and offline (from a file on your computer or attached memory chip). With InqScribe you do all your transcription work from one window. The audio or video appears on your left with the controller and a built-in typing pad appears on your right.

InqScribe has clickable timestamps that will take you to that exact point in your video or audio. This tool got great keyboard customisations that you do not want to miss. Download InqScribe here.

FTW Transcriber

The FTW Transcriber is downloadable software for transcriptionists. With FTW, you type as you listen with ease. This tool is just so beautiful that it has mobile versions just that it is only available for Windows and Android users, apple version will be available soon don’t be scared. It appears as a media control app floating on your screen. So you can type on your Microsoft Word open and control the audio with the floating FTW Transcriber. It has all media control options like play, pause, volume, forward skip, backward skip etcetera. It’s also compatible with video files like MPEG, WMV, Flv, etc

So you can go to the FTW website and get a free version today by using this link.

Express Scribe

Express Scribe Transcription Software is a free transcription software for newbies and professional transcriptionists. This is the only tool that gives you the room to use a foot pedal to control the audio/video. It supports most audio formats and encrypted dictation files including MP3, M4A, DSS, WAV etcetera. It also supports Video File Formats like 3G2, 3GP, ASF, AVI, DivX, DV, FLV, M4V, MKV, MOV, MP4, MPEG and WMV.

With Express Scribe, you can adjust the speed of the audio clip to fit your typing speed.

Get Express Scribe by clicking the link for mobile or web versions here: mobile (android) or web purchase.

Basic Equipment Required For Every Transcriptionist

The following are the basic requirements you need to get started.

  • A computer set
  • Headset (with environmental noise cancellation)
  • Quiet Environment
  • Footpedal (optional)
  • Office chair (ergonomically designed)
  • Thesaurus
  • Industry manuals
  • Time tracking software (eg TimeCamp)
  • Transcription Tool (any of the tools mentioned above)
  • Microsoft office

Final Words

Transcription is one of those online jobs that is gradually taking hold of the online labour market and is worth giving a trial. So go get started before it becomes too late.

If you have any suggestions or enquiries, I’ll be glad to respond in the comment section.

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