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A Guide to Home-based Transcription Work

A Guide to Home-based Transcription Work

Individuals and companies alike will pay to have their recorded audio (which can come in the form of dictations, meetings, interviews, lectures, podcasts, webinars, videos & more) transcribed into an electronic text document. Other industries such as healthcare and law will require a degree of industry knowledge in order to produce accurate transcripts. General transcription jobs, however, will mainly require a handful of skills.


What general skills are required to become a transcriptionist?

  • Good command of the English language: In order to produce accurate transcriptions and keep your clients happy, having an excellent grasp on the English language is a must. Close attention to detail when it comes to punctuation, grammar and spelling are a must when it comes to becoming an expert transcriptionist. 
  • Sharp listening skills: you will often be handling recordings where speakers have different accents, the volume levels are inconsistent and there may even be a degree of background noise (particularly if users are not using a noise-canceling dictation device). Some people also speak more quickly than others so strong listening skills are a must when it comes to saving time and producing accurate transcripts of audio recordings. 
  • Research: you might come across words that you will not have heard before. The words might be in another language or a specialist, industry specific term. The ability to research words that you do not understand (e.g. obscure place names, advanced terminology) will ensure that your transcriptions are accurate. 
  • Typing speed: The bottom line is the faster you type, the more work you can get through. If you are able to turn around documents quicker you are able to keep your clients happy, encouraging repeat business along with allowing you to take on more jobs. 


What equipment will a home-based transcriptionist need?

Along with a solid foundational skill set, the modern transcriptionist will also require equipment & software to ensure their typing work is as efficient as possible. Here is an overview of the basic equipment needed to start work as a home-based typist:

  • Your PC
  • Transcription software: yes, you can play back audio files in a media player but this comes with a number of drawbacks. Media players do not support a number of file formats, mainly DSS/DS2 files - you will come across these file types time and time again as they are used by nearly all modern dictation devices (the files are small & easily editable compared to other audio formats). Using a transcription software package that not only allows you to playback a number of file formats but also allows you to manage your transcription jobs is essential for home-based transcription. 
  • Foot pedal: making use of a professional transcription foot control frees up your hands for typing. You won't want to be reaching for your mouse every time you need to pause, rewind or resume typing. Using a foot pedal to control playback in your transcription software will ensure that you can get through jobs more quickly and a lot more easily. 
  • Transcription headset: you will want to make sure you can hear the audio clearly to ensure that you can capture every word accurately in your transcriptions. You will want your headset to be comfortable for long periods of use and you may wish to consider a noise-canceling headset to block out any background noise. 
  • Spellchecker software: most word processing applications have a built-in spellchecking function. Accuracy is key when it comes to producing transcripts so making use of these is essential. The only downfall here is that the standard spellcheckers do not support many industry-specific words/terminology. If you find that you are receiving work that contains a lot of advanced medical or legal vernacular/terminology you might consider making use of an advanced spellchecking package. This will reduce the amount of time spent on researching specific terms or phrases. 

Need assistance in getting started? Give us a call on 0121 456 7800 to talk to a member of the team for advice and support on our range of transcription equipment & software. 

Our Express Scribe Professional Transcription Kit is an extremely popular starter kit for both professional and home-based transcriptionists. This software allows typists to play back audio and video files an a large variety of formats and include a professional foot control for intuitive control over the audio file and a transcription headset for outstanding audio quality. 



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