Speech-to-text technology has become sophisticated over the years that dictation and voice recognition software are doing a tremendous job of speeding up audio typing and documentation. If that’s the case, why is there still a high demand for human transcribers? Why can’t companies just load all their audio files and wait for the software to do its magic?
Although impressive, the software will never be 100% accurate. Even if the audio file has zero background noise and has no interruptions, crosstalks, jargons, and acronyms, the software will always be sub-par when compared to human listening skills.
With that said, doing transcription could be a great freelancing take off point for you. If you can type fast enough and have a keen sense of hearing, you can take advantage of the high demand for transcribers. In fact, the outlook is quite positive because companies in the fields of medicine, law, insurance, business, and media are requiring more digitally documented information daily.
Here are some tips to help get your freelance transcription career off the ground.
Transcription: Basic Requirements
To earn a decent amount of money with transcription, you need to have an above average typing skills, about 50 words per minute (wpm). But if you want to earn more, you need to get to the professional average of 65-75 wpm. This is because time is of the essence. If you spend too much time on one file, you’ll find that the rate per minute would be much smaller.
English proficiency and grammar skills play a big part in transcription. Spoken words are sometimes difficult to hear, but you can make sense of them if you know the nuances of the English language.
Keen listening skill and memory skill. The ability to separate spoken words from background noise is a skill that can be acquired through repeated practice.
Proficiency in the use of a word processing program and a transcription software.
Word processing package. Microsoft Word is the most popular word processor and many clients require documents in this file format.
Transcription software. You need a software that allows you to easily control the playback of audio or video.
File hosting service. This is a way to receive and send huge audio and video files. Email services like Yahoo and Gmail have limited capacity. Dropbox.com and Hightail.com offer services that allow you to send and receive huge files.
Foot Pedal. This device allows you to control audio playback using your foot. It’s compatible with most transcription software. This can drastically increase your speed and turnaround time.
What Kind of Transcription Jobs are Available Out There?
Journalists interviewing personalities, politicians, and celebrities
University students and academics interviews
Corporate board meetings, annual meetings, speeches, and analyst interviews
Conference presentations and panel interviews
Telecasts and teleseminars
Content for books
Market research discussions and
This requires converting voice-recorded reports from lawyers and legal professionals into text format. It requires knowledge of legal terms to ensure accuracy. They include, but are not limited to the following:
Data Entry Transcription
Some companies require documents to be presented in certain formats. Examples include, but not limited to:
Data entries transferred or entered into spreadsheet like Excel or Google Sheets
Copying hand-written documents into a computerized format
Straight transcription that needs to be entered into digital or electronic format
Recorded information that need to be presented in correct format as specified by the client
This turns the content of the radio show into text format. Audio clips are converted into readable text so that the radio stations can have a wider audience reach. Those who are not able to tune in to the radio show can read the entire transcripts or excerpts made available to them.
Closed Captioning and Subtitling
Closed Captioning (CC) and Subtitling are processes that display on-screen text on video screens, television, and other visual display to help the deaf and the hard of hearing.
This requires converting voice-recorded reports dictated by doctors or healthcare professionals into text format. It requires knowledge of medical terms to ensure accuracy. Examples are medical reports, hospital reports, progress notes, consultation notes,
How to Get Transcription Jobs
Use Social Media. Join Facebook groups that look for transcribers. Go to Twitter and follow companies that post transcription jobs. Connect with transcriber groups on LinkedIn
Create an Online Presence. Set up a website or an online CV and present your qualifications and credentials. Share on social media.
Join reputable freelance websites. These are platforms that connect freelancers with companies. Examples are Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, and Outsourcely.
Networking. Tell your family, friends, and professionals within the industry. Word-of-mouth is still a powerful way to advertise.
This guide can more or less help you decide if you are well-suited for a career in transcription. If you are certain that it’s the freelance job for you, then all you need is to get started.
Umritun Transciption offers opportunities for freelance transcribers. Contact Umritun Transcription Services for details.