All You Need To Know About Becoming A Transcriptionist

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Becoming a transcriptionist may seem quite complicated. However, there are actually a few things about transcription that any beginner would need to know in order to transcribe their first transcription. These key information nuggets make the transcription process much easier and can speed up the process of becoming a professional transcriptionist.

What is a transcriptionist?

First of all, it is important to know exactly what you are getting into. The job is basically listening to a certain audio recording and transcribing or converting the content of the audio input into text format or written documentation. This requires patience as well as some serious training in order to both improve the quality and make the process more efficient.

For transcriptionists, efficiency and accuracy are two key points to help them both earn more money and grow their career.

What are the types of transcription?

Transcription work can be wide and vast as professionals transcribe anything from personal audios to corporate audios.

Here’s a list of the possible types of transcriptions:

  1. College lectures

  2. Personal conversations

  3. Court hearings

  4. Business meetings

  5. Phone calls

  6. Teleconferences

  7. Articles

  8. Speeches

  9. Script correspondence

  10. Forums

  11. Dictations

  12. Meetings

  13. Reports

  14. Manuscripts

  15. Narrations

  16. Interviews

  17. Reports

This is not the whole list as transcription can open doors to even more opportunities. This means that there are still a number of other transcription works available for future transcriptionists.

Different transcriptionist work

There are also other types of work arrangements for transcriptionists. While some are fixed, others are flexible.

Here are the different types of transcriptionist work arrangement:

  • Freelance

The benefits of freelance transcriptionists are that they are in control of both their time and their effort. This means that they are able to scale up their work by working efficiently. The pros also include being able to agree on a price that the client is willing to pay and the transcriptionist is willing to work with.

The cons, however, are that the finding work might be quite hard since there is a huge competition out there. Freelance transcriptionists rarely get a bulk of transcription to transcribe.

  • Contract

There are actually two types of contract transcriptionists:

Fixed contract

A fixed contract includes more rules that the transcriptionist has to abide to. This can sometimes be limiting. But with this setup, a little more consistent workload is provided for the transcriptionist. A company could have a contract with a transcriptionist to cover the interviews done through their hiring process.

If the transcriptionist and the client work together for a fixed price, the transcriptionist will have to fulfill the requirements of the client but will also be protected should there be scarce workload since it is protected by the contract.

Flexible contract

A transcriptionist that works with a flexible contract is somewhat similar to a freelance transcriptionist. With this setup, the transcriptionist might still be able to get multiple clients and work on their projects by fitting these projects into their schedule.

Fixed contracts are usually given by a company that does not want to go through the effort of finding different freelancers over and over again should they need transcription done. The cons could be that the workload could arrive at a very busy time in which the transcriptionist would have to squeeze everything into their schedule in order to fulfill the contract.

  • Employed

Employed transcriptionists are usually protected by their employment agreement and is the safest type of work agreement that a transcriptionist can get. Although sometimes the transcriptionists would need to transcribe a huge amount of audio files, there might be times that the workload will be light and the transcriptionist will usually be paid the same amount of money.

This type of work agreement is really rare. However, it is still practiced by some companies and organizations that deal with industries that would need consistent transcriptions. This setup may be utilized by courtrooms, surveillance companies, and others.

How to become a transcriptionist

Before going out on the limb and trying to apply for any transcription job you see, there are a few things you can do in order to land a job as a transcriptionist.

1. Certificates

There are a few places to get certificates online. These certificates are usually given after a person completes a certain class, training, or seminar. Pick out the right certificates that would be useful for building your credibility.

Paid certificates oftentimes give really good training but this still depends on the one providing the training. These kinds of training are usually done on platforms like Udemy and others. A misconception is that the courses that aspiring transcriptionists need to take are strict “transcription” courses. Aspiring transcriptionists can also take courses in grammar, efficiency, and others.

Free certificates may not be as effective as paid certificates but they are still good for those aspiring transcriptionists on a budget. There is a particular app called TubeStudy that provides short classes with free certificates upon completion that beginner transcriptionists can use.

2. Positioning

Positioning is the process of making yourself attractive to the client. This can be done by having a website, LinkedIn profile, or other online profiles that could host samples, show certificates, and even promote yourself a little bit more. To build a little more reputation, it would be wise to go on a limb and start with those transcription jobs that although are a little low on pay, still provide significant experience and could add to your portfolio.

Best transcription tools

Of course, a professional transcriptionist wouldn’t be professional without a set of tools that help them work more efficiently and accurately. A key to becoming a better transcriptionist is to focus more on quality instead of blindly doing all the work.

There is a specific transcription tool called that can instantly turn audio into text which transcriptionists can polish later on. This would save time and in turn allow the transcriptionist to do even with the same effort. Instead of doing the dirty work, all transcriptionists would have to do is a few edits here and there in order to make sure that the transcript is accurate.

Do you want to become a transcriptionist? Looking for an easier way to transcribe? Simplify your transcription journey with

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