• Joanna B.

8 Skills Every Transcriptionist Must Have

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Becoming a transcriptionist, like every other career out there, requires a few skills in order to upgrade from a newbie to a professional. In order to become a highly effective and highly professional transcriptionist, there are a few skills that need to be picked up, practiced, and mastered before being able to reach a level of professionalism.


Just like when playing baseball, one does not just become a professional by swinging the bat but also knowing how to hit the ball, how to run from base to base, and how to pace oneself for the full ride. Becoming a professional transcriptionist is quite similar.


Transcription has become one of the most popular side-line gigs that a lot of people have slowly gotten into but what most people don’t know is that this can actually be a legitimate source of sufficient income. Professional transcriptionists make a decent amount of money not just from the rate that they are charging but also from the efficiency of their system that allows them to take on more workload.



Here are 8 skills that every transcriptionist must have:

  • Good listening skills

Since transcription is the art of turning audio to text, it is only natural that effective transcriptionists have a good ear for the details in the given transcription material. Naturally, this is the most fundamental skill that beginner transcriptionists have to work on.


Although listening can be quite easy and done by almost everyone, attentive listening means paying attention not just to the word itself but also to the context in order to properly transcribe the given material. A professional transcriptionist must be able to indulge enough for them to be able to understand but not to the point where it could either be too stressful or become inefficient.

  • Sharp memory

Most of the time, transcriptionists have to catch up with the audio especially when the speakers in the audio file are talking fast. Naturally, people who talk have to catch their breath and this is a way for transcriptionists to fill in for the text that has fallen behind. A good memory allows the transcriptionist to smoothly lay out the words that fell behind from memory while attentively still paying attention to the conversation.


Most of the time, memory is improved with attentiveness. This is why this goes hand in hand with good listening skills. In order to have a sharp memory, newbies would also need to have good listening skills.

  • Fast typing

To become an effective transcriptionist that earns a decent amount of money, beginners would have to work more and in order to do so, they need to type faster. There are a couple of training videos online not just for transcriptionists but for those that want to improve their typing skills.


The faster a transcriptionist can type, the more transcription can be done in a given amount of time. This results in a very efficient system that will allow the transcriptionist to make more money while accomplishing more without having to increase their stress levels.

  • High accuracy

High-quality transcription comes with high accuracy. Although there is still a chance of making mistakes, those mistakes should be made less often as a transcriptionist gradually upgrades from a newbie to a professional. This still comes hand-in-hand with good listening skills since this is the basis for transcription work itself.


In order to improve the accuracy of transcription, it is also important to understand the context of the transcription itself. Asking notes or other additional details about the context of the transcription could be a way to improve this specific skill.

  • Good grammar

Naturally, not everything that is transcribed will be grammatically correct and this is sometimes okay (depending on the demands of the client if it includes grammatical editing). There is actually another use for grammar, since there will be grammatical errors that the transcriptionist can hear. This also improves their memory and allows them to note in their mind these errors when catching up with the audio.


Good grammar, of course, minimizes the time that a transcriptionist spends thinking as to whether or not they are writing something correctly. Good grammar also improves typing speed because of the minimization of doubts in the sentence structure.

  • Eye for detail

It is very easy to lose oneself in the vast amounts of information given in a specific audio file that needs to be transcribed. The key to keeping track is to pay attention to specific details. These details allow the transcriptionist to go with the flow of the file allowing for a more effective transcription.


Certain words that stand out in a sentence allow the transcriptionist to keep with the conversation and minimize the times that a transcriptionist loses focus. Beginner or professional, there are times when a transcriptionist has to go back to a certain segment in order to make an effective transcription.

  • Tolerance

Let’s face it, transcription work is not technically that easy at first especially for newbies that are not used to focus on an audio file for a few hours at a time. Although this is something that can be built on, most beginners do not have the tolerance for longer transcription work.


The ability to focus can be cultivated over time and for professional transcriptionists, their tolerance to work is bigger which allows them to do even more within a certain amount of time as opposed to a beginner. The effective way of becoming a professional transcriptionist is to do the most work with the least amount of time.

  • Technologically proficient

There are certain tools that can assist transcriptionists to be able to work more and work come up with high-quality effective transcription. These tools cut the majority of the work which then allows transcriptionists to do only the finishing touches.


Certain tools, of course, require the beginner to adjust to this level of technology. Some of these tools are easy to use while others could take a while to get used to.


Follow our blog for more useful tips and guidelines to become a professional transcriptionist.

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