Apr 13 2021

How to Become a Professional Transcriber

Danilo Coviello

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Being a professional transcriber can be a rewarding job. In most cases, transcriptionists can work from the comfort of their own home. It’s a profession that has plenty of opportunities for freelancers as well, allowing for increased flexibility in scheduling and hours. 

For those who enjoy typing and working on a computer, professionally transcribing audio and videos might be right for you. 

What Skills Does a Professional Transcriber Need

The single most important skill that you need to become a professional transcriber is typing. You may already be fast at typing if you have experience using a computer. However, there are things you can do to improve your typing skills. 

There are many websites available to practice typing and keep track of how fast you're typing. If you already think that you’re fairly good at typing, this is a good place to start. Not only can you gauge where your typing skills are currently at, but you can also improve by continuously practicing. 

Professional Transcriber

For those who aren’t great at typing, it would be beneficial to enroll in a typing class. There are plenty of options out there for online and in person typing classes, tutors, and more. As a transcriber will tell you, there is a correct way of typing and plenty of incorrect ways. Typing with the correct form will make you more efficient as a transcriber.

Besides having typing skills, a professional transcriber also needs to be a strong listener. Depending on what you’ll be transcribing, listening skills become more and more important. For example, you may need to transcribe a conversation between more than one person. You may also run into recordings with poor sound quality where it’s harder to make out what’s being said. 

How to Start as a Professional Transcriber

There are a couple of options for those who want to become a professional transcriber. This is of course given that you have the skills that the job requires. Among those options are becoming a freelance transcriptionist and applying for entry-level positions. 

Working as a freelancer has several benefits, such as being your own boss, working from home, and choosing your own schedule. On the downside, you will have to invest in things like a healthcare plan on your own, and your taxes might be a little more tricky. As you start with freelancing, keep your work rates low, and slowly build them up as you develop a client base and a reputation. 

If you don’t want to be a freelancer, you can also apply for entry-level positions as a transcriber. There are many companies who will take chances on people without experience. In these types of jobs, just expect a lower pay rate and potentially lower quality work. You’ll want to start off by building a resume and tailoring it towards transcribing by listing any relevant skills and education. Once you’ve made your resume, browse popular job boards for transcribing jobs and apply to as many as possible.

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