This article details the essential skills needed to be a transcriptionist. Transcribers listen to recorded audio or video and convert what they hear into a written document.
Audio files can vary from meetings, interviews, focus groups, zoom calls, phone calls, lectures, YouTube videos, court transcripts and more. Learning what skills are needed to be a transcriptionist will get you hired quickly.
While you don’t need training to work as a transcriptionist, taking the time to go through a transcription course helps to secure higher-paying work.
Transcription is a great remote career. You can work the hours that suit you, work from anywhere, enjoy high pay and have a constant flow of regular work. Let’s take a look at the essential skills needed for a successful transcription career.
10 Essential Skills Needed to Be a Transcriptionist
- Great Listening Skills
- Accurate Typing Skills
- Good Memory
- Decent Computer Skills
- Editing and Grammar
- Ability to Multi-Task
- Time Management
- Attention to Detail
- Ability to Problem Solve
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Skills Needed to Be a High Paid Transcriptionist from Home
1. Great Listening Skills
As a professional transcriber, you’ll be required to actively listen for long periods of time and transcribe what you hear into text. Good listening skills are essential to deciphering conversations that may be muffled, spoken with an accent or contain background noise.
In some cases, the transcriber may be required to make an intelligent guess for some hard to understand parts of the audio.
Read this blog post from Scribie on how to improve your listening skills and get comfortable with accents.
2. Accurate Typing Skills
While transcribing an audio file, you are required to type everything you hear into an easy to understand document. To do this effectively, you need to type fast and accurately.
The only way to become a better typist is to practice and then practice some more. Start by typing slowly to learn accuracy. And when you get used to the hand placement, challenge yourself to speed up and increase your goals for WPM (words per minute).
Improve your skill by typing out the conversations from your favourite TV shows and using free typing practice software.
3. Good Memory
Having a great memory helps improve the work of a general transcriptionist. When you can remember what someone has said, without constantly pausing the audio, the time it takes to transcribe a file decreases.
This in turn increases your earning potential, allowing you to take on more work and get it done more quickly. Don’t worry if you get flustered in the beginning. You will need to pause audio files more frequently as a beginner to catch up.
But, work on improving your memory and your transcription earnings will grow.
4. Decent Computer Skills
Decent computer skills are needed to be a successful transcriptionist. These include the ability to open and listen to audio files, use common software such as Microsoft Word and Google Docs and use email.
But, don’t let this put you off. All these skills and tools can be learned with a little practice.
Check out these Free Basic Computer Skills classes from Skillshare.
5. Editing and Grammar
The files written up by a transcriptionist need to be clear and error free. This means your grammar and editing skills should be strong. Starting out as a new transcriber, mistakes happen and will need correcting.
If you hand in shoddy work to your employer, you won’t be working for them for very long. The good news is, you can use free grammar tools such as Grammarly, which corrects your mistakes as you write.
To get more practice, offer to edit friends and colleague’s texts for free. And, in your spare time, take on these free proofreading and grammar tests.
6. Ability to Multi-Task
Multi-tasking is the ability to deal with one or more tasks at the same time. Having this skill allows you to be more productive, getting more done in less time. As a transcriber, you will be listening, typing and editing all at one time.
Improving your ability to multi-task is only going to make your more successful. Some people are natural multi-taskers and others may need to work at it a little.
You will become a better multi-tasker with practice. Other ways to improve your ability here include removing distractions and working in blocks of time with a short break after.
Check out the Pomodoro Technique for tips on how to make this work.
7. Time Management
Having good time management means you organise and complete tasks in an efficient timeframe. By controlling your time, you increase productivity, meet deadlines and earn more money.
Transcriptionists work alone and need to manage their time effectively. If it’s your first time working from home, it can take some time to get used to it and you may initially get distracted frequently.
Develop good habits to manage your day to day work schedule. These include writing a to-do list the night before, with the hardest tasks at the top of the list. It’s also a good idea to give yourself a time limit to transcribe each file, to resist the urge to slack off.
8. Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is the art of completing a task and having a concern for every aspect. An example is ensuring the thorough accuracy of every typed file you upload for a client.
Attention to detail is super important for transcriptionists. It means you’ll be uploading quality work consistently, keeping the client happy and repeat work coming your way.
Improve your attention to detail skills by removing distractions, taking regular breaks and getting organised.
9. Ability to Problem Solve
Problem-solving is one of the top skills needed to be a successful transcriptionist. Transcriptionists work alone and need to troubleshoot problems when they arise.
The ability to adapt and be patient is key here. If you’re not tech-savvy, some problems may stop you in your tracks initially. But, if you’re open to learning and problem solving, you can find most answers with a quick Google search.
Self-motivation is key to excel as a transcriptionist. You will be working on your own for long periods, without anyone keeping you in check. Motivational skills help you finish tasks, even if you’d rather be lounging on the sofa.
Find self-motivation by breaking down your transcription tasks into bite-sized chunks. Reward each task done with a small break. Establish a dedicated workspace and minimise distractions.
Another way to keep self-motivated is to practice gratitude and remind yourself that transcription is now your business. You are working for yourself and only let yourself down if you don’t get things done.
Check out this post from Very Well Mind on how to stay motivated working from home.
Final Thoughts on Skills Needed to Be a Transcriptionist
Now you know the essential skills needed to be a transcriptionist. Many of these skills will come naturally and others you can develop with time and practice. As you take on increased amounts of work, you’ll get faster and more capable.
Just like any new career, it takes time to become the best. But, if you stick with it, transcription can pay your bills and give you a comfortable life.
If you struggle to make ends meet as a new transcriptionist, earn extra cash with easy side hustles such as:
Have you worked as a transcriptionist?
Did I miss any skills needed off the list? Let me know in the comments..
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