First and foremost, what is transcription?
Simply put, transcription is the process whereby the words being spoken in an audio recording or a video recording, are literally typed down word for word in a word processing software for later use.
A person who does this type of work is called a transcriptionist or a transcriber. These people utilize specialized machinery and software such as transcription foot pedals and transcription play back software to do their job. In the old days, this job was done completely manual using pen and paper literally writing down rather than typing whatever is being said.
What do I do to become a transcriptionist?
Now how can someone looking to come into the field of transcription, and do so with ease?
Their lives are made easy by the fact that there is no official license that is required to become a transcriptionist, this task can be done by anyone who fancies it without worrying about certification.
However, there are many transcription companies out there who prefer to hire those people who are professional and certified transcriptionists, especially if the transcription company needs to send in their transcriptionists for medical or legal transcription jobs.
This is because transcriptionists at these fields need to be spot on and error free.
But do not get discouraged, this does not mean that you cannot be a transcriptionist if you do not have a certificate for it. There are many transcriptionists out there that have become renowned without proper training, but have learned and adopted the tricks and how-to’s of the trade while on the job.
That said, if you would prefer to first train yourself in the field, there are quite a lot of institutes out there who offer training services for prospective transcriptionists.
In fact, there is a subfield of transcription called “general transcription”, which requires very little, actually almost no training. General transcription deals with almost any type of transcription including messages, interviews, phone answering machines and conferences.
In our opinion, that is probably a good place to start your own transcription career.
There are, however, a few set of skills that are a necessity if one wants to enter this field.
Most significant among these are typing skills.
You can’t easily transcribe a 30 minute video if you do not have good typing skills. You need to be able to type fast, preferably as fast as the words are being spoken in the audio or video recording.
Although devices such as the transcription foot pedal allows the recording to slow down, you still need to be able to type fast if you want to get a certain amount of work done.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the good Transcriptionists get a lot of work!
To build typing speed you should learn how to place your hands correctly on the keyboard of your laptop or pc so as to allow your fingers to move freely and quickly around the keys. Practice makes perfect.
In addition to typing speed, you need to have a good set of ears in order to be able to listen attentively about whatever is being said in the recording or in a live speech. A transcriptionist cannot afford to miss out on a lot of words, patience and attentiveness are key here.
Now that you have figured out you have the skill set. Apply to a transcription company in your area or even better, start of as a freelance transcriptionist. Websites such as www.elance.com have a lot of opportunities for you to groom yourself as a good transcriptionist.