How to Become an Online Transcriptionist - TypeWhizz


become a transcriptionist

How to Become an Online Transcriptionist

How to Become an Online Transcriptionist

If you are an avid language services enthusiast and you are looking to get into the industry, becoming a transcriptionist is one of the choices available to you. The job can be serious, but rewarding.

What is a Transcriber / Transcriptionist?

A transcriber is an expert in converting and writing documented audio into text format. The job entails listening to voice or video recordings and converting them into written documents. Transcribing requires patience and extensive training.

The role may involve transcribing recordings of legal, medical, and various topics. Becoming a transcriptionist requires having exceptional typing skills and acute hearing. You are required to be accurate and committed to producing a written document of outstanding quality.

What Transcription Work Should You Expect?

Oftentimes professional transcriptionists will specialize and dedicate themselves to a specific niche, such as law, medicine, or general transcription services.

Transcribing for law is by going forward with spoken-word audio or video file from a legal proceeding, converting the audio into written text. These documents need to be thoroughly formatted so your client can easily find information.

Transcribing for medicine is taking medical reports from physicians, nurses, or relevant healthcare workers that have curated a medical report on an audio file. These files will need attentive ears to be transcribed word for word. Healthcare workers have a lot to do and the last topic on their to-do list is transcribing, that is where you fit in.
When doing general transcription work, you’ll frequently listen to recordings of court hearings, college lectures, personal recordings, business meetings, and other various categories of recordings that will require a written reference.

Required Skills To Become a Transcriber / Transcriptionist

Becoming a transcriptionist requires patience. When you receive a recording, you cannot choose the quality of the recording you’ll transcribe, so there would be moments where you will receive audio files that are low quality and may be difficult to understand.

Without a certificate and training, you will at least need to know the basic requirements of transcription. You should be a good typist and have a keen ear. If you are good with your computer you will have no problem, a basic level of computer skill is required.

As a transcriber, you should aim to have a typing speed of roughly 60 to 75 words per minute, with an accuracy of at least 98%. Working as a transcriber, you should be a fluent speaker of the language of recordings you receive. A certificate is not a must for transcribers but it is definitely appreciated and puts you ahead of the majority of transcribers out there.

To outline the respective requirements you need, you will need;

  1. Strong listening skills
  2. Strong language skills
  3. Fast and accurate typing
  4. Entry-level computer skills
  5. Editing, grammar check, and proofreading skills
  6. Time management skills

Now you know the fundamentals of what is required to become a Transcriber. Let’s dive in further.

Is Transcribing Simple or Hard?

Transcription work sounds easy, be it that, it seems you only are required to listen to audio files and type what you hear. In reality, becoming a transcriber and working as one, can be complicated. Who doesn’t like a challenge? The job requires you to be committed and responsible in order to produce high-quality work.

As discussed before, one of the tricky scenarios in the transcription process is the quality of the audio files. You can consider yourself lucky if the audio files you receive from your clients are crisp and clear. Working with a good quality audio file can cut the time you produce your document in half. People speaking with strong accents can also slow the process by having to listen second by second for the articulation of words. With these scenarios, you will need to exercise patience as the reward can be gratifying.

Essential Tools For Transcribing

Here are the tools that will come in handy when becoming a transcriber:

1. Transcribing software

The first investment you make in your transcribing career will go towards your transcription software. A lot of transcription software is free and downloadable, which is ideal for beginners. Other premium software will cost between $50 and $100. Whether you are using Windows or OS X, you will need to choose the right software for your operating system. The preferred transcribing software should be able to process different video and audio file types, such as wma, dct, mp3 or wav files, with customizable timestamps.

2. Headset

An excellent pair of headphones is essential for transcribers, so you should invest in a headset that is above-average quality.

Here are some tips to help you to make the right decision for choosing your headset.

It is best to have a pair of headphones that come with a 3.5mm jack, as with USB headphones and a sound card. The sound card attached will break easily. If you are looking at going with earbuds over headphones, your earbuds may be comfortable for only a short period of time, until they start falling out, and hurting your ears.

On-ear headphones may be an option but these are still not as good as over-ear headphones, as they rest on your ears, and can be quite uncomfortable for big-eared people.

Over-ear or closed-ear headphones have ear cups with soft and thickened padding, wearing these headphones is quite comfortable. When you are working in a quiet room, these are the best headphones to transcribe with. A lot of noise rejection features on these headphones aren’t that good, so when you are working in a noisy environment, you want to be sure you have the right headphones with the best noise-canceling features.

So, be sure to test your headphones for comfort, noise-canceling, durability, and can process a mid-range, between 250 Hz and 2000 Hz, this is the frequency of the human voice.

3. Word processing

You will need a word processing application to type and edit the final document. Make sure the word processing application you use to transcribe with can produce files in the format your clients request for.

4. Internet connection

If you are reading this article, you have an internet connection, great. Your internet connection should be a mid to high-speed internet connection. So as most transcribers are working from home, you will need to test your connection to allow you to receive and send files securely and quickly.

On that note, becoming a transcriber requires you to be a fast and structured worker who will deliver accurate transcriptions within the deadline. You should be discreet and make your client comfortable by assuring the client that their transcription project remains confidential.


To help you decide if transcription work is the career for you, here are some ideas. Try doing transcription work on your own, without the use of special equipment, be sure to have a set of headphones.

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider looking for an online transcription course with a certificate. The course will help you understand transcription, enabling you to use the skills learned to work better.

You will need constant training to gain the confidence you need to apply and deliver for language service companies. Alternatively, find direct clients, should you decide to go freelance.
Getting good with the number of people speaking in the recording and the intended meaning is a quality habit to nurture.

Become a Transcriber today!

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