How to Become a Transcriptionist

How to Become a Transcriptionist

Content how to become a transcriptionist

How to Become a Transcriptionist & Start Working from Home

Today, many people wonder how to become a transcriptionist. This is quite a demanding job, but those who became transcriptionists say that this job is very rewarding. This job deals with documentation, so one just listens to voice recordings and converts them into text documents. It seems easy at first sight, but this job needs serious training and lots of passion. Read on and become a successful transcriptionist.


Types of Transcription 

Like in many other jobs, one should choose their niche. People who become transcriptionists also prefer becoming experts in a special field such as medicine, art, law, etc. But you can opt for general transcription, especially if you just started. This is a good idea because one can try different topics and understand which one is more interesting for you. Later, just maintain the general profile or specialize in one of the topics.


For the start, listen many kinds of files. Some examples are business meetings, university lectures, court hearings, personal conversations, business briefs, and many more. The clients will ask to transfer them into the text for further use. Also, specialists listen and transcribe phone conversations, dictations, forums. Read best translation services reviews and read what documents they work with. They can deal with manuscripts, speeches, script correspondence, meetings, interviews, and many, many more.


Also, there exist many transcription types for different spheres of human knowledge. A specialist may start as an expert in academic, business, conference, interview, focus group, market research transcription, and be successful.


What is a Transcriptionist and How to Become One?

To become a transcriptionist, one should receive a certain degree of education. If you want to specialize in one specific sphere, get some knowledge about it. Doing medical or legal transcription without education can be very hard and even dangerous. Without a special education, do general transcription.


If you already have education, use it in your transcription career. Many wonder about transcriptionist jobs, but not many think about their education. If you have studied for a manager, do business meeting transcriptions and other related spheres. Not everyone can handle it, so if you can, find your niche before starting.


Apart from choosing a niche, get transcription training. There are online courses that can help a person start working as a transcriptionist. Still, if you want a specialization, get a degree or a certificate in legal, court reporting, or similar transcription. If you are from the U.S., remember that some states require a license or certification for medical and legal transcription, so get one before the start.


Required Skills for Becoming a Transcriptionist

Like in every other profession, one should have certain skills. They depend both on training and your strong points:


Patience. When you're patient, transcription work is much more rewarding and easy. When you get audios, you cannot choose their quality. So, in many cases, there are audios that have bad quality. That means you will listen to them again and again and again. Such audios are usually paid higher, so get ready for some elbow grease.


Fast typing. Before becoming an audio transcriptionist, make sure that you can type fast. Use one of the fast typing programs and learn blind typing. This will save hours of work. Your typing speed should reach 60 or 75 words per minute. In addition, be accurate - around 98% of the text should be error-free.


Great listening skills. People are not born with these skills. Only practice improves your listening abilities. Be attentive, patient, and concentrated. Don’t miss a single word of an audio or video. Great listeners get the job.


Computer skills. Transcriptionists and website localization services work with computers. They download files, do research, use word programs, and send emails. Use writing editors for checking your texts for possible mistakes in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.


Language skills. In order to know how to become a transcriber, read specific forums. Be a fluent speaker of audio language. Also, know the target culture and understand many nuances of the audio. In other words, know the language well enough to understand every word. Larn a lot about formal and informal styles. Your spelling, punctuation, and grammar should be good. Otherwise, the text may suffer.

Become a Transcriptionist Quick: Tips for Beginners

So, you've read the requirements above and saw that transcription work should fit well. To check if a transcription work is okay for you, here are some tips:


First of all, try transcribing and audio by yourself. Do not use special equipment - just take a good pair of headphones and a Word editor. Listen to a file and try transcribing it now. It is okay to stop the recording, restart it, listen again - the skill comes with time.


If you feel that transcribing will go well without anything but headphones and a word editor, take your time. Is this what you want? If yes, go on and take an online transcription course or visit the best healthcare translation services for your benefit. Also, take an associate degree or a certificate to specialize in a certain industry. In the course of study, you will understand transcription work much better and get all necessary skills that are necessary for becoming a great professional.


Remember that you need lots of practice. Start as a freelancer or apply to language companies to understand what does a transcriber do. Anyways, use all possibilities to listen more and transcribe more.


When you deal with audios, notice details. For example, note the number of people speaking in the recording and grasp the meaning of the conversation. This way, you will produce better-quality texts that your clients will fancy. Don’t be afraid of the accents. Most companies are now international, so a transcriptionist listens to the speech of people around the world.

Read also: Experts review of Swedish translation services.


How Hard Is It to Be a Transcriptionist?

Becoming a transcriptionist sounds easy at start. First of all, listen to the audio and type the words. However, this is not so easy as it sounds. It is quite complicated, as it needs full involvement in the job. Also, one needs lots of commitment to start and stay afloat.


The first complicated thing is the quality of audio. Of course, you might be a lucky thing and always get perfect quality audio with clearly speaking people. Still, it doesn’t always happen. In many cases, recordings are very complicated. They have unknown terminology, professional jargon, or audio quality. If you transcribe for software localization services, learn professional IT jargon. There are people with accents. If you haven’t heard them before, they might be harder to understand. Also, there might be multiple speakers who interrupt each other, and their words will overlap. This is difficult to transcribe.


Of course, when there is difficult audio, it'll take much longer. By doing difficult transcriptions, you’ll understand what is a transcriptionist job. Transcribing such files takes more time because we should listen to such files many times, stop them, or repeat some parts. Be patient.


Also, clients can have their style guides. Follow them very strictly to complete your transcription. Attention to detail is essential if you want a successful career.


Essential Tools for Becoming a Transcriptionist

If you plan to become a transcriptionist at the professional level, be sure to have these tools:



This is one of the first things you'll need. The good news is that anyone can download and use them for free and later pay for the premium version - this is great for beginners. Still, if you are a professional, choose one of the more advanced options. They might cost from $50 to $100, so take time to choose one for your budget. Compare it with your earnings to understand is being a transcriptionist worth it. There are different kinds of OSX or Windows. Pay attention to the functionality - your program should be able to play files in different formats, like wav, data, mp3, wma. Also, it should have time code settings and plenty of useful functions.



Headphones are essential because this way, you hear the words much better and transcribe them faster. You might already have a favorite brand of headphones, so they will go perfectly. Still, if you have no preferences, there’s advice.


Buy headphones with 3.5 mm jack. It is better than USB headphones because they don’t make pauses or glitches while listening. This is fine when you listen to it but it might disrupt your work. Plus, the sound card might break down quite easily. Also, don’t buy earbuds. They are okay for a short period and cancel noise perfectly. But using them for a long time might affect your hearing.


Word editor

Is it hard to be a transcriptionist without necessary tools? Yes! Before you start, make sure that you have the powerful word processing program that you will use for editing the document.


Foot pedal

Foot pedal is very convenient. Instead of turning the audio on and off, use the foot pedal. It may play, rewind, pause, or fast forward the audio using your foot, which helps to concentrate on typing.


Stable Internet connection

Most people who acquire profession of transcriptionists start to work from home. If you search for remote work, don’t ask yourself. Is transcribing a good job?” Instead, just try it. You need a really good Internet to take orders, receive files, and download them.


10 Things To Know Before Becoming a Transcriptionist From Home

10. It takes lots of time - or excellent time management skills.


Transcription is perfect when you want to earn some money in extra time. Still, remember that it might take much time depending on the quality of the audio. Only take the amount of work you may accomplish to get everything ready by the deadline.

9. Invest in the equipment.


For remote transcriptionist home offices, you need fast computers with good Internet connection. Recording system, foot pedal, printer, desk, and chair are a must-have if you want to be more productive.

8. Pay taxes.


If you work for the transcription company on a contract basis, they pay your taxes. However, when you are self-employed, care to pay taxes for yourself - consult with a specialist.

7. You'll need to find work on your own.


There are many jobs available now. We recommend that you provide your information to professional groups near you. Often, the best technical translation companies search for people who became transcriptionists. Search the Internet for transcription companies that are hiring.

6. You’ll need training.


It's hard to just start transcribing with no professional basis. To simplify the process, receive proper training, and become certified.

5. Don’t forget to grow professionally.


To grow in your sphere, choose industries and develop within them. For example, legal, corporate, or medical spheres are better-paying for transcriptionists meaning that they are better paid.

4. Know your prices.


Your earnings might fluctuate with your skill level or expertise, but you might easily earn anything from $20 per hour at home.

3. Know your benefits.


In most cases, transcription means working from home. There, you may work according to your timing, schedule, and pace. Plus, you don’t have to commute!

2. What skills do you need?


Like any profession, transcription requires a certain set of skills. For example, one needs to meet tight deadlines, be efficient and accurate. Many wonder do you have to be certified to be a transcriptionist. The answer is, if you want to deal with law or medicine - yes, but for the other spheres, you don’t have to do that.



1. Will you fit in?


If you work quickly and render text accurately, transcription work is the best choice. If you respect confidentiality and have discretion, try transcription - you might as well like it!


Recent posts
Content 7 ways to say sorry in spanish
7 Ways to Say Sorry in Spanish: Piece of Advice for Every Situation
Content dead languages
Everything There Is To Know About Dead Languages
Content translators and interpreters working in conflict zones
Translators and Interpreters Working in Conflict Zones