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Transcription Jobs: Skills and Outlook

Transcription Jobs: Skills and Outlook

A transcriptionist is a researcher, linguist, and conversationalist all-in-one. Typically a transcriber is tasked to listen to a recording and type the contents into a document, inserting appropriate footnotes, time slots, and identifiers. There are many specializations in the transcribing industry, like medical transcriptionists who are familiar with pharmaceutical terms and their spelling, and legal transcriptionists who are able to quickly transcribe spoken words in a courtroom.


Traditionally, transcriptionists used recorded tapes and a pedal to play and rewind tapes. Even though many transcriptionist still use traditional hardware, the internet has galvanized and equipped transcribers with the tools to streamline the transcribing process. Instead of tapes, most recordings are now delivered via MP3s, with special software and function keys replacing the transcriber’s foot pedal.


What Are Some of the Skills Needed to Be an Efficient Transcriber?


  • Strong typing skills. Depending on the specialty, you may be required to transcribe in a real-time setting, effectively taking the role of dictation. Transcribers work with recorded audio, allowing them to work more conveniently. However, quick delivery of a complete transcript is expected, requiring that most transcribers type fast and accurately to meet stringent deadlines.


  • Familiarity with the spoken language. Transcribers would need to be able to type and be aware of proper punctuation and the correct spelling of words. Clients want transcripts that are not only accurate, but are free of grammar mistakes.


  • Listening skills. Transcribers need to aware of dialects and accents, properly transcribing spoken-word onto the document. Transcriptionists must understand what people are saying in the audio file, being able to scrutinize spoken word from background noise.


Industry-specific skills. A transcriber will eventually find a niche that they are comfortable working in. However, reaching that level of expertise may require some exploring. For example, many who work in the medical industry may feel more comfortable working as a transcriptionist for pathological anatomy. Legal transcription covers subjects that may be familiar with lawyers and attorneys, as the terminology can be intimidating for those who aren’t familiar with the court of law.


Job Prospects For Transcribers


There has been a shift on the transcribing industry, with many jobs now being allocated online. Even though medical transcriptionist and legal transcriptionists are greatly sought after, general transcriptionist are still a viable option especially for stay-at-home moms and students who are getting a feel of the industry before they dive into a specialty.