So, do you want to be a stay at home transcriptionist? Great! But I have to warn you, jumping head first in the world of transcribing isn’t an easy undertaking. So many people every day are looking for jobs that have the flexibility and earning potential.
These job seekers often can get lost in the shuffle without proper research or practice. So many people think that they can be a transcriptionist but usually, aren’t suited for the job.
What is Transcriptionist?
Okay, so you’re all primed and ready to learn about the arcane transformation into a transcriptionist. Just wait a bit before you sprint to the job boards and draw up your business cards. Let’s talk about what transcriptionists are and some of the expectations of their role.
Transcriptionists are people who take audio or video and convert it into written format.
Why Do People Need Transcriptionists?
There are so many different industries that need transcriptionists. Most of them are podcasters, orators, marketing consultants, and even authors.
It’s a grab bag of clients, and there’s a massive market for transcription services, so it is expected to work with all kinds of people.
With the different needs and different standards, there are entirely different experiences that vary from client to client. You may never know what you’re going to do next!
Can a Stay-at-Home Mother Be a Transcriptionist?
You might have some doubts (as should anyone) about jumping into a new career but reflect on what it means to be a transcriptionist. Are you a detail-oriented person? Do you love that little rush when you get someplace on time or make a deadline? Did you cringe in school when the teachers uttered the word “group project”? Being a transcriptionist might be for you!
The reality of starting a transcription career from home means being home often, working alone, and sitting for long periods. You have to be able to be a self-starter, set your own goals, and stick to them.
Working with different clients also requires a level of customer service and professionalism. You’ll never know what your next job will be, and it’s essential to be prepared for anything! It’s not something everyone can handle, but understanding the reality of being a transcriptionist can help you know if it’s meant for you.
There is this misinformation floating around that you need some fancy transcriptionist workshop to gain the skills you need to be successful in the field or at home. They’re flying around because of the people who are trying to sell you these workshops.
Don’t get me wrong. If you have the resources to get some certification from a workshop, you should take advantage of the knowledge they have to offer.
That being said, these online courses are not necessary to go out and get a transcriptionist job today! This kind of work is less about acquiring new skills but more about fine-tuning the capabilities that most people already have and applying them to the role of being a transcriptionist.
Let’s dive into the skills of a transcriptionist and how you can fine-tune your own for it.
Typing is the number one skill to have for being a transcriptionist. Being an accurate typist is primary, but being faster than average will give you a competitive edge.
Most clients that hire transcriptionists are expecting quick and precise results, so being able to type quickly physically helps the process.
The average transcriptionist can type at over 75 WPM (Words Per Minute). Typing is one of those skills that are formed through repetition that will pick up over time. Don’t be discouraged from starting now just because you’re not quite up to that speed. There are plenty of free online typing programs you can use for practice!
Having a keen eye for research is understated in this trade but being able to find and capitalize on accurately trusted sources is a valuable skill to have.
We can guarantee you that of the thousands of clients in need of transcriptionist services, there will be many from far away places and strange names and ways of speaking.
Being able to search for the necessary terms and formulate how to search for the proper source materials is exceptionally advantageous.
Research is another skill that you can fine-tune as you go. Be mindful of how to phrase something to get exactly what you need and flex those problem-solving skills and you’ll have a headstart on the average transcriber.
Language and Grammar
Along the same vein, being an excellent speller is a huge help as well. Researching a term to understand how it’s spelt or what it means is second to knowing already. It saves time and makes you an attractive candidate for potential clients.
It’s more than just spelling and grammar. Understanding language has to do with being able to process different dialects, inflexions, and mainly reading between the lines.
This also means being a good reader and writer. An excellent exercise for increasing your language and grammar skills is just writing.
Try to write every day to sharpen those writing abilities. They will be helpful later on. Reading is so critical too. The mark of a great writer is a great reader.
It doesn’t have to be specifically about transcriptionist work, but reading will help you pick up your language and grammar exponentially.
Being an excellent communicator is the perfect way to impress your very first client immediately.
What format do they prefer? Do they want the transcript verbatim? When do they want it by? What is it for?
Asking these questions is a great way to be very upfront about their expectations so you can adequately meet and (hopefully!) exceed them.
Continuing the line of communication is essential as well. It makes your clients feel like there is progress and that they’re working with someone thorough and professional.
A great way to practice this is before you even approach a potential job think of all of the questions you may have for that person. Think of the questions that I listed in the paragraph prior but take it even further.
Always try to ask as many questions upfront. Exhaust every line of thinking before even starting the project. There will be no guesswork when you finally do start.
These are the top skills that transcriptionists exercise every day. Being mindful of every step of the process is really what can set you apart from the pack.
It may seem like a lot, but these are skills that most everyone already has; it’s only a matter of fine-tuning them to the key of a great transcriptionist.
Tools? All you need is an internet connection and a computer, right?
Well, not necessarily. Does the average transcriptionist is armed with nothing but their laptop, Wi-Fi connection, and a dream?
No, to produce great work, you have to have a top-notch support system. Not all of these things are necessary, but that doesn’t mean it hurts to invest in them.
Ergonomic Mouse, Chair, and Keyboard
One thing that too many writer programmers and transcribers lack is the proper ergonomic equipment necessary to do their jobs.
You might think that your wrist is alright now. But you won’t be saying that after tapping away at your keyboard hunched over your computer for days on end.
For a transcriptionist, having an actual chair with actual back support and a proper support system for your wrists is not just for comfort; it’s an insurance policy.
This piece of equipment is definitely worth the investment, especially those working with audio, find that this makes their lives much more comfortable.
With a foot pedal, you can pause rewind and fast forward audio or video. You don’t have to click away from your document. The foot pedal it’s operating those functions with your feet under your desk.
Having to pause or rewind a file constantly can get cumbersome, especially if you’re continually clicking away from your place in the transcription.
As you get better and better at transcribing, it does come down to the seconds and minutes to making your process quicker and your clients happier.
Unfortunately, not every job you will get will be clear audio and perfect language. Often it will not, a good set of headphones is the difference between finishing your job and those mumblers on that file.
A good set of headphones should have everything you need:
- the ability to block outside noises
- a large frequency range for picking up even the faintest sounds
Text Expander Software
So a text expander software is very widely used in the transcription community. Did you finally work your butt off to type at over 70, 80, or even 90 WPM? Great!
Now you have to be even faster than that. That’s where text expanders come in. You can type in the short form for common words and phrases and save a lot of time.
Some transcriptionists go as far as to create their own language! For example, a phrase that most people would use is “I went to the…”. Instead of typing that out just type “I wt t th” and the text expander will convert that into full form. A text expander is such a valuable tool that you shouldn’t miss out on.
How Do I Get My First Job?
Okay, so you know what a transcriptionist does, how they do it, why the world needs them, and some of the tools and skills you need to thrive. Now you’re ready for your very first job. So where to look?
Job boards are a great place to start and, at the very least, practice. There are plenty of job boards around the internet you can search through. Some are larger job boards where anyone can post a job about anything (think Monster.com or Indeed), but others are more explicitly tailored to gigs for transcriptionists.
Something we recommend if you are going to try out the job boards is to try to be the first person to apply. Most jobs are posted very early or very late to prepare for the next day, being the first to see them is always an advantage.
This is the time to really tap into those writing skills to set yourself apart! With a proper client base, there will never be a shortage of work.
It’s also nice to work with long-term clients directly because you’re familiar with their expectations and subject matter; which can make you indispensable to them.
Another way to get consistent work is to get hired by a company. Most companies don’t really require experience; they’d rather be able to test you to see for themselves.
They are hardly challenging, and if you hone in on those skills from earlier, then you should never shy away from the opportunity.
Some companies have their private job board for clients looking for specific types of work or clients that want some guarantee of professional service. Just starting as a transcriptionist and having a company that can hold you up as a professional is never the wrong way to go either.
Other companies funnel jobs straight to you, so there isn’t much work in hunting for your next gig. And most companies are a hybrid of the two: having private job boards but always recommending you for your next job.
Something especially admirable about being a transcriptionist is that there is no gatekeeping; anyone can do it if they’d like to!
Being an at-home mother means having an opportunity to turn your time into an extra income or even a good living if that is what you want. If there’s anything to take away from this article, it’s to look at the realities of working as a transcriptionist.
Thank you for reading with us today! Interested in teaching as well as a job from home? Check out “Best Paying Online Teaching Jobs For Stay at Home Moms” to see how you can spread your knowledge to others online by teaching!
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