Trans what? You ask? When I came to the full realization that I was interested in working online in Kenya doing transcription work, I wanted to learn more about it. So naturally, I Googled the term, transcription and came up with this, from Wikipedia:
“Transcription is the first step of gene expression, in which a particular segment of DNA is copied into RNA by the enzyme, RNA polymerase. Both RNA and DNA …blah, blah, blah
And I thought no way! This can’t be what I’m looking for. Well, let me ask you this? Do you consider you’re English to be perfect? Do you have a typing speed of at least 50 wpm? Do you know the difference between stationery and stationary, precedent and president, too and two? Last but not least, do you love to learn new things? You just might be the best person for transcription.
Transcription is all about converting audio to written text. As simple as that. All you do is listen to an audio or video file and type out its contents. Transcription services are usually provided for business, legal, or medical purposes
Brief History of Transcription
Before the introduction of the Dictaphone, transcription was a very difficult job. Back in the 1970’s secretaries would write down the speech as they heard it by using skills such as shorthand. It was a necessity to be at the location where the service was required. But since the advent of the mp3 based Dictaphone – a software that is used to record sound – transcription work has become much easier. Once a person has made the recording, it is then uploaded to a PC and emailed to someone to transcribe. The person who does the transcription, thanks to the internet nowadays, can be thousands of miles away, in fact maybe in another continent. The completed document – the transcript – is then emailed back and printed out or whatever the client chooses to do with it. All this can be done in a matter of hours. Oh, thank God for technology!!
Good Command of English
A transcriptionist must possess an excellent command of the English language. You must have the ability to recognize and differentiate words. As I stated before, words such as their/there or complement/compliment for example. You need to be a linguist, a language professional, one who is familiar with the English language and speech. Actually grammar can make or break a transcript. Possessing good grammar ensures that the final document that you deliver to the client will read well and will make sense to the reader.
Transcription entails listening to an audio recording, word for word. Each word needs to be heard and typed correctly. So, your goal as a transcriptionist is to type as fast as you can with very few errors. An accuracy rate of 98 to 99% is recommended. Your good listening skills will come in handy when you encounter speakers who are either nearly inaudible, speaking with a heavy accent, speaking over each other, or when there is background noise in the audio.
Google is your friend. I repeat, Google is your best friend. You will come across names of streets, towns and places and it will therefore become necessary for you to research those terms to limit the number of “unclears” – words that were not clear – and to ensure the correct spelling. This occurs as a result of interfering. A transcriber must apply research skills to fill in these blanks by researching the sound, the place, the name…whatever is required to find and fill the correct word with correct spelling. Certainly, the more knowledgeable and well-read a transcriber is, the more words that will be recognized in a recording. But research is a common and necessary component of a high quality transcript. Therefore, a high quality transcript will be thoroughly researched.
Need I say more? A comfortable speed of about 40 wpm and above is needed for you to work efficiently at this work. There are clients who need rush jobs, and if you will be working on rush jobs, speed will be needed.
Starting your transcription business takes very little setup. Basically this is what you need:
A simple PC. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I started out with a basic computer, which served me well. Be careful about the keyboard though. Ensure that the keys are soft because you will be typing a lot and the soft keys will ensure speed.
Good quality headphones are a must. This is helpful and vital equipment through which you will hear the audio. You need to hear the speakers well for the final output/ transcript. And they also need to be comfortable on your head considering you will be wearing them sometimes for hours. Buy good quality headphones that will serve you for long.
You can always save your documents on the desktop or my documents right? Then what you dread happens. Power goes off and your left wondering what you will tell the client with only 15 minutes left to the deadline. Frantic calls to the electricity company are living you and the customer service people tired and frustrated. No need for that. When you have that flash, you just might be able to rush to another place where you may get a cyber café and send the job.
Good Internet Connection
You need a reliable internet connection to be able to download the audios. Sometimes you will need to download large files. Ensure the price you charge factors that in.
I have had some funny moments too transcribing. From those clients who make jokes and leave me unable to type for about five minutes because what they said was so funny to those who want to blast my ear drums every few minutes by coughing like crazy. Now, the big question, is there a market for transcribers? Are they needed in this time and age? Like never before. Currently, 300 hours of content is uploaded into YouTube every minute! Video lectures and webinars abound. Transcription solutions are needed rapidly. You are needed to transcribe those videos and audios. Will you answer the call? Don’t waste any more time. Sign up with the following sites and get to work:
Rev.com – Read a review of the company here.
Speechpad.com – Pay starts from $15 per audio hour.
TranscribeMe.com – A very newbie friendly transcription site.
Scribie.com – Read a review of this site here. Requires that you pass a short test first before you can start working.
Gotranscript.com – Requires that you pass a short test before becoming their transcriber. There are opportunities for growth in GT, as you start by becoming a transcriber and you can later become an editor. Apply here.
Other sites include Upwork [formerly called Odesk] Fiverr, PeoplePerHour – a UK company, among others.
Also, feel free to get my Transcribe Like A Pro ecourse and…lets make some money.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment. Would love to hear from you!