Transcription: Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Transcriber

The Penny Matters occasionally hold WhatsApp discussions on ways to make money online, and this week’s guest was Amel, who took us through Working From Home Transcription Process. Amel was one of the Ajira Digital trainers who handled the Transcription topic.

The other day we had a group discussion regarding transcription as a means of earning online.  So many questions were asked and answers provided. This article will serve as a clarification of any topic that members didn’t get clear as well as a recap for those who missed the session.

Read also: How to Use WhatsApp for Business

This is a detailed description of how to become a transcriptionist and work from home. This post is meant to be a basic an overview of the general transcription industry.

Let’s Begin, What Is Transcription?

Basically, transcription is  listening to an audio file and typing out what you hear. Transcription topics vary with the field of the client. This means that you can find a transcription file of medical nature, law, accounting, or just general field. It is generally much easier to get started doing general transcription than it is a medical transcription or other fields.

This is because medical and the rest of the fields requires experience and/or transcription certification before most companies will hire you. In general transcription one finds him/herself listening to personal conversations, business meetings, court hearings, college lectures, and any number of other audio files.

Verbatim and Non Verbatim Transcription.

Transcription is subdivided into verbatim and non-verbatim transcription. Verbatim entails transcribing every single word or line mumbled or spoken needs to be recorded as it is spoken by the speaker in the audio file. It requires the transcriber to write out even those half sentences and phrases that were spoken in the recording.

While working on a verbatim transcription project, the transcriber needs to pay close attention to all kind of emotions displayed in the audio recorded file. Even those- mmmm…, hmmm. I mean…, I know… The fillers, right?

Non-verbatim, on the other hand, involves cleaning up of the audio files to exclude unnecessary utterance. The transcription aim is to remove any “thinking noises” – “um,” “ah,” “uh – “and typically any partial words or stuttering is left out as well. The decision to use verbatim or non-verbatim way of transcription solely lies on the discretion of the client.

Who Is Qualified To Do General Transcription?

Anybody can do transcription work. If you are a good typist with excellent listening skills and you have a good typing speed then transcription may be a good option for you. Transcription also favors persons who are patient to get through audio which seems to have pathetic backgrounds. Transcription is a great venture for people who like to work from home as many companies require one to do it at home. It’s only a few that require transcribers to do it on site.

Working From Home Transcription work is fairly flexible and a lot of companies do consider beginners hence no experience is required. This usually means that if you can pass preliminary transcription test, you can get a job.

How Does General Working From Home Transcription Pay?

Payment varies depending on the transcription company. Most general transcriber’s earnings average anywhere from $10 to $20 or even more hourly.  Lower paying companies hire anybody and it’s hard to make a minimum wage from them. I recommend the lower-paying companies for training purposes and maybe a way to earn some extra money, but not really as a career option.

Also, note that when doing transcription you are often paid per audio hour. For example, you may see a company presenting a pay rate of $60 per audio hour, but this necessarily doesn’t mean you will be making $60 an hour. It just means that you will make $60 for working on an hour of audio — and that could take you quite a while subject to how difficult the audio is to translate and how skilled you are.

When being paid per audio hour, most experts consider anything below $45-50 an audio hour to be a very low rate of pay. Transcription companies do pay per page and a low rate there is usually anything less than $1 per page.

What Equipment Are Needed For Working From Home Transcription  Work?

The most important thing here is a high-speed, reliable internet connection. The Internet will help you in sending and receiving of audio files without any problems. If you’re financially able you can also invest in a foot pedal.

Foot pedal will assist you in improving your speed of transcribing. Failure to have one, you will go MUCH slower because the foot pedal enables you to fast forward, stop, start, and rewind audio files with your feet. This sets free your hands so that all they do is typing the file. To add on this, first and foremost, a transcriber needs to have a transcription account.

Some of the  transcription sites to consider:

For those working on site, they need to apply and get interviewed to get a slot.

You will need to download and use Express Scribe software — the software is free to download. Express Scribe connects your foot pedal to your computer and controls audio playback and comes with other features like variable speed playback, multi-channel control, playing video, file management, and much more.

Working From Home Transcription

The most important gadget every Working From Home Transcription worker must have is a headset. Headset helps the transcriber to focus on the sound and block out other disturbances around. Headsets and foot pedals can be bought from Amazon or check eBay if you’re OK with buying secondhand equipment.

Last and not the least, you need a computer. This may come in form of a laptop, desktop or any other form of a pc. Some companies will allow you to do it from your iPhone or a smartphone but most of them only work on a pc. Ensure you have a PC with recommended specifications of transcription.

Where Do You Get Practicing Files?

As stated above, a lot of companies do consider beginners if you can pass their simple tests. It’s not recommended to just dive into any of the tests without first getting some practice. Here is how to kick start:

Express Scribe have practice files accompanying it. StenoSpeed, a transcription site has some sound files you can download to practice transcribing. Pick up a few transcription hits on Amazon Mechanical Turk. This is a good way to exercise transcribing short files while also being paid for it. Companies like Scribie, Quicktate, Transcribe Me, and Rev doesn’t pay well at all for transcription, but it’s not difficult to get accepted and you can use them for extra money and practice. More practice will improve your confidence and experience while testing for the higher paying companies.

In a Nutshell…

Working From Home Transcription work undeniably sounds easy! After all, how hard could it be to listen to an audio file and type it out? Well, it’s actually a lot stiffer and more complicated than just that…

Audio files are not necessarily created equally. Some are easy to type out while others are more complicated. Sometimes you’re attending to file where people are talking over each other, some have heavy accents that you can’t understand, and poor audio that aren’t clear to make out. Obviously, files like this will take longer and require a lot of listening to the same extracts over and over again. It can be stressful — especially for a trainee.

Another thing to think about is the fact that these companies you work for have style guides in place. You need to know these style guides backward and forward so you can be sure you’re formatting everything correctly.

Over time, it will get easier and you’ll get better and better. But at first it can be really intimidating and you may resolve transcription isn’t for you. But if you’re determined to stick out, you’ll likely find it’s something you can master with enough practice.

It’s a wrap for this compilation! It’s my expectation that this overview will be helpful to anyone with an interest in undertaking general transcription from home.

Your Turn…

What do you think of Working From Home Transcription work? Got questions? Feel free to leave a comment below

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Posted by Wakaba Samuel

Wakaba Samuel is a self-trained freelancer. He specializes in Transcription, Academic Research Writing, Article Writing, and SEO. Like his page on Facebook Academic Writing Consultant, Call/WhatsApp/Sms: +254724105950.

8 Replies to “Transcription: Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Transcriber”

  1. Your article is mind-blowing and very informative. Thanks lots.

    Reply

    1. Thanks Job,
      Happy Freelancing

  2. wow, very helpful

    Reply

  3. Thanks for the article

    Reply

  4. Am a newbie, would love to learn more & get started

    Reply

    1. Welcome Josephine,
      Start off by following the guidelines and tips outlined in this article

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