Transcription Myths: Expectation vs. Reality

Updated: May 24, 2021

In the world of work, transcription has definitely made itself known as a welcoming but also very professional and fulfilling career path. There are quite a lot of choices in the vast world of transcription firms today, from certain low-cost consumer quality human transcription all the way to high-quality publishable transcriptions. It’s important to understand that transcription in itself can’t really be caged in small limitations since in general, the career path holds a number of different possibilities.

There are certain transcription myths that have been talked about for many years now and are even believed by those who haven’t tried to transcribe anything at all. Transcriptionists, on the other hand, know better and can see what the truth really is regarding how transcription is like as a career, what the work-life is like, and how the work should be done.

There are a number of transcription myths widely believed and this article will clarify the misconceptions that people have.

Top 4 transcription myths

1. Transcription is easy

Transcription, in general, may seem very easy since it is simply listening to words then typing it out. However, most people do not know that the average human being actually takes about 3-4 minutes in order to type out one minute of sound. This would mean that for a one-hour meeting, it would take roughly 3 to 4 hours to encode.

What makes things worse is that this estimate was done with fairly okay audio. What if the audio itself was very bad and in order to transcribe it, the person transcribing would have to go again and again listening over to the same sentence that can’t seem to be cracked.

Aside from faulty audio, there are also other factors that make transcription complicated like people talking at once, background noise, thick accents, audio faults, and a whole lot of other factors.

2. Technology killed transcription

What most people think when it comes to the transcription industry is that it is dying due to automated transcription and transcriptionists are struggling to get jobs. While this is partly true with regards to the competition, technology has also made the lives of transcriptionists much easier as transcription tools allow the transcriptionist to leverage their time and efforts giving them more resources to work on a bigger workload.

Since an average person takes 3-4 hours to transcribe one hour of audio, using a transcription tool to get automated transcription would allow the transcriptionist to spend less time manually transcribing and more time editing the final output. This would cut the workload by an enormous amount and in turn provide the transcriptionist with an easier platform to edit and finalize the given transcription.

In the end, a transcription tool is a positive thing for transcriptionists as it provides not only an easier way for them to be able to transcribe, it also provides a faster way for them to come up with their transcription. Technology is a tool when used wisely and it can improve transcription efficiency by a significant amount.

3. Typing fast is a requirement to be a transcriptionist

Although typing fast would give the transcriptionist an advantage when it comes to their field of work, this does not necessarily work as a requirement to be a professional transcriptionist. While there are certain niches that require a transcriptionist to type fast like if they are doing a live transcription while keeping up with the conversation, the majority of transcription jobs usually focus more on quality.

Although there is a given deadline, with the use of transcription tools that provide automated transcription, the transcriptionist would have to put most of their efforts in the quality and editing of the transcription instead of actually typing the whole thing. Instead of being fast at typing, one trait that would serve the transcriptionist better is if they have a keen ear for detail and they are good listeners.

In general, transcription is about typing out what the transcriptionist would hear and this means that the transcriptionist should be able to pay close attention to detail. While one major enemy of transcription is thick accents and other audio faults, a transcriptionist that is capable of playing by ear will do great at editing and ensuring the final quality of the transcription.

4. Every transcription is the same

There are a lot of types of transcription and they usually differ depending on client demands, industry, and logical format. The exciting part about being a transcriptionist is that they can either decide to specialize on one specific niche or go all out and explore. While exploring and learning different formats and other important things with regards to transcription like how to put timestamps, speaker indication, and others, for those transcriptionists that would favor security, they usually focus on what the industry would require.

Learning the different elements of transcription is essential to not only compete with other transcriptionists but rather to come up with high-quality transcription that would please the client and could be good for the overall growth of a transcriptionist. While being the cheapest might help out during the beginning, offering the best quality transcription at a reasonable price still wins.

There are a lot of types of transcriptionists when it comes to the workload they choose. Some transcriptionists would choose to be employed as a full-time transcriptionist, some would choose to be a part-time transcriptionist, some would choose to be a contractual transcriptionist, and some would choose to be a freelance transcriptionist. There are both advantages and disadvantages in every area.

In general, being a transcriptionist in this day and age is a viable option for a career as not only would the transcriptionist be able to set the terms, with the right techniques, work ethic, and attention to quality, transcription in general can provide the transcriptionist with a decent source of income.

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