5 Major Skills a Transcriptionist Require

Transcription is basically listening to a recorded audio and converting the speech into text format, and the person who does that is called a transcriptionist. A transcriptionist’s job is challenging and need to have certain special skills to perform their role effectively. Let us look at five key skills needed to take up transcription as a profession.

5 Major Skills a Transcriptionist Require

Listening: Transcriptionists primarily need to be very good at listening and should be very attentive. They should not get easily distracted while transcribing long audio recordings. To clearly interpret what speakers are conveying, they need to be very attentive and should also possess subject knowledge on what they are transcribing. They also have to type down simultaneously while listening to the audio, so they need to perform multitasking as well.

Typing: Good transcription professionals need to have the ability to type fast and accurately. Bad typing skills compel them to delete and retype quite often, thus slowing down the whole transcription process.

Researching : It is very important for transcription professionals to have good researching skills. Doing research beforehand helps to easily find words or phrases related to the subject that is discussed in the audio.

Grammar & Punctuation: Transcriptionists should have a good grip on grammar and punctuation. This is of utmost importance as a wrong punctuation or grammar can completely change the meaning of a sentence. Grammar and punctuation errors are considered to be grave in a transcript.

Computer Knowledge with Good Formatting Skills: Good working knowledge of computers is essential for transcriptionists. They need to be thorough with the formatting styles specified by their clients.

5 Myths about Transcription

There are lot of misconceptions on air about transcription, let us look at five major myths.

5 myths about transcription

1.It is all about listening to an audio and simply typing them out.

This is a myth. Audio recordings are not always perfectly done for transcriptionists to just type them out. Transcriptionists often come across poor audio quality, thick accents, multiple speakers crossing over each other, etc. A good transcriptionist has to understand the concept clearly and has to correlate with the concept most of the times to make sense out of what is spoken. Perfect grammar and spelling with proper formatting are major aspects of quality transcripts.

2.Speaker identification is quite easy.

Not at all. You can imagine how difficult it is to identify speakers during an earnings conference call, especially when multiple speakers with same accent. Most transcriptionists say that it is very difficult to distinguish between female speakers when they have same voice and accent. Good transcriptionists need to make intelligent guesses while identifying speakers; for instance they need to know how to distinguish between what a CFO or CEO address during an earnings conference call.

3.Time required to create a transcript is same as the length of the recording.

This is not true. Time required to create a transcript is always greater than the length of the recording. Transcribing an audio involves stoppages and rewinding to allow transcriptionists to decipher sentences and accurately convert them to text. There are times when a transcriptionist slows down the pace of dictation using transcription tools in order to clearly understand what is being said. Research and proofreading are other aspects of transcription that slows down the pace of transcription process. As an industry standard, it takes 3 minutes to transcribe 1 minute of clear audio recording.

4.Proofreading is a simple task and anyone can do it.

No, proofreading is not at all a simple task and it has to be done by professionals. Proofreaders need to have a lot of concentration and subject knowledge. They need to check for spellings and grammatical errors because these errors are considered to be grave when it comes to the quality of transcripts. Proofreaders are the decisive set of eyes and ears; poor proofreading can cost a lot to the transcript providers.

5.Formatting a transcript is very simple.

Formatting a transcript is not at all a simple task. Formatting the text according to client requirements is of utmost importance. Formatting requirements vary from client to client. An editor has to be sure of each client’s formatting style. They need to have thorough knowledge of the style guides provided by each client. Medical, legal or business transcript formats are entirely different from each other.

A good transcription service provider has to have a perfect combination of transcriptionists, editors and proof readers to deliver high quality transcripts. It is very important for them to have thorough professionals with specialized knowledge in each domain.

Necessities for Transcription Jobs

To be a freelance transcriptionist, you have to be equipped with certain basic necessities. Let us look at some must-haves for you to start with freelance transcription jobs. You can always buy the basic ones to start with and later on can be upgraded.

Computer: For transcription jobs, your computer does not require a lot of computing power. You don’t really need high-end CPU or lot of storage space as long as you are not using the system for any other purpose. Even an Intel Celeron Process would do if money is a decisive factor. You can choose a laptop or a desktop, it doesn’t really matter.

Necessities for Transcription Jobs

Internet Connection: It is necessary for you to have high-speed Internet connectivity as sometimes you would have to work on software provided by the transcription companies that would allow you to connect fast and secure. You would be uploading and downloading audio files and text documents and would also require a lot of research. It is also preferred to have a backup internet connection so that your work is not distracted even if your primary connection fails.

Transcription Software: There are quite a few transcription tools readily available in the market, some are free and some require a nominal fee. Express Scribe is one of the popular software you can think of.
Microsoft Word: It is preferred to have Microsoft Word though you have alternatives. Most of the transcription software, guides and tutorials used by transcription companies are based on Word.

Headphones: Stethoscope style headphones are commonly used by transcriptionists; however, you can use any as long as the audio output is clear and loud enough for you to transcribe.

Foot Pedal: Though a foot pedal is not a must, it is good to have. Controlling audio playback with function keys while transcribing could slow down your efficiency, so it is always better to have one.

Comfortable Seating: Ergonomically suitable work space is much needed. This is something you need to carefully choose since transcription jobs demand extensive sitting and is definitely not a sit-on-the-couch type of job. Uncomfortable seating can lead you to develop neck or back pain.