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What is a Source-to-Text Transcriptionist

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Basics about a Career in Transcription

An online transcriptionist or source-to-text transcriptionist is a person who converts documents from either a recording or a written source. There is a high demand for freelancers and this is a great job if you have excellent typing and grammar skills. A transcriptionist's salary is generally around $15 per hour, while an advanced transcriptionist earns around $25 to $30 per hour. With this rate, you can easily earn $1,500 every month if you work 2.5 hours per day for 24 days. Thanks to the internet, it makes for a very good business for people who want to work at home or remotely. The hours are flexible, but you will need the proper equipment and software in order to break into this market. Another benefit of the transcription business is that there are very few barriers to entry. However, there are still a number of challenges any person interested in starting a transcription business will encounter.

How to be Successful as a Transcriptionist

The most important element of starting a successful transcription business is having the typing skills necessary to do the work for your clients. As a professional who offers transcription services, you’ll be required to type extremely fast and accurately. The basic requirements are:

  • You need to be able to transcribe over 200 lines per hour at 98% accuracy.

  • You need to be able to type over 65 words per minute.

  • You need to type with accuracy, using grammar and correct spelling.

  • You will also want to test your typing for speed and accuracy. There are a number of websites where you can do this, or you can schedule a typing test with a local company or educational service.

Make sure to improve your typing speed and accuracy. This can only really be done through practice, practice, practice.

  • Consider enrolling in a typing class at a local junior college to improve your typing skills.

  • Consider spending time practicing as much as you can. Type newspaper articles, recipes and other forms of text to challenge yourself. Retype old hand-written letters. Try to transcribe your favorite television show. Just about anything will do.

How Much Money Will I Need to Start

People think that transcription is a no-investment field and transcribers simply use MS Word or other similar programs. This is often incorrect. Transcribers need to invest in specific equipment and software to meet the needs of specific industries they work for and to increase their productivity and efficiency. For example:

  • Transcription software will give you a huge advantage over programs like MS Word because their auto correct features are often better, they have short cuts, macros, hotkeys and other things that will increase your efficiency and accuracy. They also include integrated video and audio playback and file storage solutions.

  • A foot pedal. Your foot pedal will enable you to efficiently control the speed and sound level of your audio playback.

  • A headset.

How Do I Make y Skills Marketable

While working on improving your general skills, think about the specific field you want to practice transcription in. While you can market yourself in several fields, it's best to focus on one to begin with and become an expert in that field of transcription.

  • Many business owners require the use of a transcriptionist, but they also need transcribers who are familiar with their operations.

  • Understanding the industry means that you will recognize those technicalities of the industry, including terms and vocabulary.

  • Decide whether you want to transcribe for the medical field, the legal field or a general field.

Will I Need Training to become a Transcriptionist

There are a wide variety of transcription courses offered on the internet as well as a traditional brick-and-mortar setting. Many transcription courses are field or industry specific, and will focus on educating you for that field. Transcript courses will teach you:

  • Industry specific terminology. If you don't already know legal or medical vocabulary, enroll in a terminology course at a community college or apply to an online transcription school like Transcribe Anywhere

  • Industry specific style and format.

  • General transcription practices. You may also enroll in a program that teaches every aspect of transcription.

While your transcription course might fulfill the requirements of certification for a specific field, it also might not. If it does not, you need to research the requirements of certification in your chosen field and become certified. In some fields, like medical transcription or legal transcription, certification is often required for work. If it is not required, it will at least make you much more competitive.

How Do I Find Work as Transcriptionist

Just because you’ve started a transcription business does not just mean that companies will come to you with work. You’ll need to be very proactive about getting experience. In order to get enough experience and to get your name out, you should apply to some transcription jobs in your community or nationally. This could mean a variety of things. Consider:

  • Taking on a full-time transcription job in an office setting.

  • Seek out contract work online. There are a number of websites that deal specifically with free-lance transcription jobs such as Go Transcript. Take on this contract work as a way of building experience and as attracting other work.

  • Look for contract work in your community. Actively go out, look through your newspaper and other publications, and try to identify free-lance or contract transcription work in your community

You can market yourself locally if you want to pick up work. Recognize that in the online transcription business you can work for clients nationally and around the world. You just need to set yourself up electronically to meet those demands.

  • Create a website or hire a professional to do it for you. Most hosting companies provide templates that you can set up and maintain easily.

  • Use job boards like Fiverr and transcription services to find clients

  • Print brochures and business cards, and send them to potential clients. You can also leave them at local businesses.

  • Research your competitors in the area and find out what a competitive hourly or project rate is for your field.

I have touched on the general areas you will need to focus on when starting your business plan, and I hope this helps. Whether you want to work part time or full time, this is a solid field to work and grow in. If you aren't already a member, please subscribe to this blog to get more information about the market for transcriptionists. If you have questions about this field, please drop me and email and I will try to get you an answer.

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