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Does Typing Speed Matter in Transcription?

The speed of transcriptionists is crucial to the success of their work. This means speed matters considerably in the transcription process. That’s why typing speed is one of the key factors in evaluating the skill and efficiency of a transcriptionist. But the real question is, how fast is fast?

Typing Speed of a Transcriptionist

Transcriptionists work to transcribe hours and hours of audio recording that need to be processed within a strict deadline. In order to perform these tasks, transcriptionists need to be skilled typists. If you’re wondering if typing speed matters in transcription, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.

But what should be the typing speed of transcriptionists?

Typing speed is measured in words per minute (WPM) or keystrokes per minute (KPM). Because the turnaround of transcription work is typically 24 hours (more or less, depending on the length of audio), it’s important for transcriptionists to have an above-average typing speed.

The average typing speed for transcriptionists is 40 to 60 words per minute. Transcriptionists with above-average typing skills can type more than 80 words per minute. Many professional transcriptionists can type 80-100 words per minute. If you think that’s impressive, you haven’t met real-time transcriptionists and court reporters who can type more than 100 words per minute.

Typing speeds vary greatly, but it’s safe to say that transcriptionists should have a typing speed of at least 60 words per minute, which is equivalent to 120 keystrokes per minute. Transcribers have to type every word as they hear it, so their typing skills are in sync with their listening skills.

Why does typing speed matter in Transcription Work?

The speed at which transcribers are typing has become an important topic of discussion. As technology advances, it is becoming increasingly difficult for professionals to keep up with the ever-changing world of communication.

Transcripts are often requested in a matter of hours or minutes, and if they are not completed in time, many stakeholders will be affected. Organizations need to make sure that their transcriptionists are able to work fast enough in order to meet demand.

In order to best serve their clients, it is important for transcriptionists to have a fast typing speed so that the customer receives a product in a timely manner.

So, what do these typing speeds mean in terms of output?

According to the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT), it takes 1 hour to transcribe 15 minutes of audio. This is the industry standard for a transcriptionist with typing speed of 50-60 wpm. Transcribers who can type more than 80 words per minute can finish in 6 hours or less.

So, a 1-hour audio file will take about 6-8 hrs to transcribe into text form. The process is time-consuming and tedious, which is why there's a high demand for freelance transcriptionists.

If you are a transcriber who wants to earn a regular income consistently, you need to work on your typing speed. The faster you are at typing, the more output you have in less time. Of course, transcription work is not just about speed. There are other factors that affect your performance, including the quality of the audio, the number of speakers, accents, and complexity of the topic. But if you got the typing speed covered, it’s much easier to address the other issues.

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