Becoming a transcriptionist is a very straightforward way for people to make money from home. However, getting started in transcription can be tough due to the high competition in the industry and the increasing demand of general transcriptionists day by day.

If you are a newbie in the transcription industry or are looking for answers on how to become a transcriptionist, then you're in the right place. This is a complete guide for you to learn everything from front to back about how to become a transcriptionist.

What is Transcription?

Although AI has made significant progress in speech recognition and natural language processing in recent years, it still lags behind humans when it comes to accurately transcribe spoken words. The reason for this is that humans possess unique skills that are challenging for AI to replicate, such as contextual understanding, the ability to identify multiple speakers, recognizing non-verbal cues, and adapting to different accents and dialects

A skilled transcriptionist can not only accurately transcribe spoken words but also interpret the meaning and context behind them. They can identify different speakers, decipher accents and dialects, and accurately transcribe industry-specific terminology.

Furthermore, human transcriptionists can also provide additional value-added services such as editing, proofreading, and formatting, ensuring that the final transcript is accurate and ready for use. They can easily identify and correct errors, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies that an automated system might miss, thereby ensuring a more accurate and reliable transcript. Additionally, humans can also provide context to the transcribed text, which is essential for accurately capturing the meaning of a conversation or speech.

While AI and software can assist in the transcription process, human transcriptionists will still be required for more complex and nuanced projects. Transcriptionists with specialized knowledge and expertise will continue to play an important role in industries such as legal and academic research, where accuracy and attention to detail are crucial.

What Does a Transcriptionist Do?

Key Responsibilities:

A transcriptionist transcribes audio or video recordings into written or electronic format. The key responsibilities of a transcriptionist include the following:

  • Listening carefully to the audio or video recording and accurately transcribing the spoken words into text format: This is the core responsibility of a transcriptionist. The transcriptionist must have excellent listening skills to capture every word in the audio or video recording accurately. They must be able to distinguish between different speakers, identify non-verbal cues, and transcribe the recording logically and coherently.
  • Reviewing the transcribed text to ensure accuracy and completeness and making any necessary corrections: After transcribing the audio or video recording, the transcriptionist must review the transcript to ensure accuracy and completeness. They must cross-check the text against the recording to ensure no errors or omissions. If there are any errors, the transcriptionist must correct them to produce a final, accurate, complete transcript. Human transcriptionists are better than automated transcription systems when it comes to reviewing and correcting the transcribed text.
  • Formatting the transcribed text to make it easy to read and understand: Once the text has been transcribed and reviewed for accuracy, the transcriptionist must format it to make it easy to read and understand. This includes organizing the transcript into paragraphs, breaking it into sections, and using appropriate punctuation and grammar to ensure readability.
  • Maintaining confidentiality and privacy of the transcribed information: Transcriptionists are responsible for handling sensitive and confidential information and, therefore, must maintain the confidentiality and privacy of the transcribed data. They must ensure that the transcript is only accessible to authorized personnel and follow industry standards and guidelines for handling confidential information.
  • Meeting deadlines and delivering high-quality work: Transcriptionists must meet deadlines and deliver high-quality work. They must manage their time effectively to ensure they can have the transcript within the agreed-upon timeframe. They must also ensure that the final transcript is high quality, error-free, and meets the client's requirements.

A transcriptionist's key responsibilities involve listening and accurately transcribing audio or video recordings, reviewing and correcting the text, formatting the transcript for readability, maintaining confidentiality, and delivering high-quality work within the agreed-upon timeframe.

Is a Career in Transcription Right for Me?

The first step to get started as a transcriptionist is to decide if a career in transcription is the right choice for you. The best way is to take the FREE TRANSCRIPTION QUIZ by Transcription Certification Institute and find out if you're a good match to become a transcriptionist. 

Decide If Transcription Is a Good Fit For You

What are the Benefits of Becoming a Transcriptionist?

According to industry trends and work-from-home experts like Angie from The Work At Home Wife, specialized transcription is one of the best work-at-home jobs for 2018. As a work-from-home transcriptionist, you can support the go green initiative - helping the world go green.

When you get started in general transcription work, in particular, you'll learn about different topics fast. This will help you fulfill your desire to learn new things. Let's learn more about the benefits you are missing out on by not working in transcription.

Transcription Process:

Transcription involves converting audio or video recordings into written or electronic formats. The process typically follows several steps to ensure accuracy and completeness:

  • Listening to the audio or video recording carefully: The first step in transcription is to listen carefully and transcribe the spoken words into text format. This requires active listening skills to capture every word spoken, including any background noise or interruptions.
  • Editing the transcribed text: Once the transcription is complete, the next step is to review and edit the text to ensure accuracy and completeness. This involves correcting spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors and ensuring that the transcript reflects what was actually said in the recording.
  • Formatting the text: After editing, the reader is formatted to make it easy to read and understand. This includes adding line breaks and paragraph breaks and using consistent font sizes and styles.
  • Reviewing the final transcript: The last step is to review the transcript again to ensure accuracy and completeness. This involves checking for errors that may have been missed in the previous actions and providing a high-quality final transcript.

Overall, the transcription process requires a high degree of attention to detail and accuracy to ensure that the final transcript accurately represents the original recording.

Types of Transcription:

There are several types of transcription, including:

1. General Transcription:

General transcription involves transcribing audio or video recordings of conversations, interviews, meetings, and other non-specific topic recordings. General transcriptionists usually work with clients in different industries, such as marketing, research, media, and education.

General transcriptionists must have excellent listening skills, typing skills, and a good command of language to ensure accurate recording transcribing. They also need to be familiar with different transcription software and tools.

2. Medical Transcription:

Medical transcription involves transcribing audio or video recordings of medical reports, patient history, and other medical-related documentation. Medical transcriptionists work for healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

Medical transcriptionists need to understand medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology well. They also need to be familiar with medical transcription software and tools.

3. Legal Transcription:

Legal transcription involves audio or video recordings of court proceedings, depositions, and other legal-related documentation. Legal transcriptionists work for law firms, courts, and legal departments.

Legal transcriptionists need to have a good understanding of legal terminology and procedures. They also need to have excellent listening skills and attention to detail.

4. Academic Transcription:

Academic transcription involves transcribing audio or video recordings of lectures, seminars, and other academic-related documentation. Academic transcriptionists work for universities, colleges, and educational institutions.

Academic transcriptionists need to have a good understanding of educational terminology and subjects. They also need to have excellent listening skills and attention to detail.

5. Captioning and Subtitling:

Captioning and subtitling involve transcribing audio or video recordings and adding captions or subtitles to make them accessible to people with hearing impairments or viewers who speak a different language. Captioners and subtitlers work for media companies, streaming services, and broadcasting networks.

Captioners and subtitlers must have excellent listening skills, a good command of the language, and the ability to work with different captioning and subtitling software and tools. They also need to have a good understanding of other languages and cultures.

How Much Does a Transcriptionist Make?

The average base pay for a transcriptionist in the United States is $31,691 per year. However, the salary range can vary widely depending on factors such as experience level, location, industry, and company size.

Entry-level transcriptionists with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average annual salary of $26,000. In contrast, experienced transcriptionists with 5-10 years of experience can earn up to $50,000 per year or more. Additionally, transcriptionists who specialize in medical or legal transcription may earn higher salaries due to the specialized knowledge and terminology required in these fields.

Location can also impact the salary range for a transcriptionist. For example, transcriptionists in cities with higher living costs may earn higher salaries to offset the increased expenses.

It's important to note that the above figures are just averages and can vary depending on many factors. It's best to research specific job openings and companies in your area to get a more accurate idea of what you can expect to earn as a transcriptionist.

Pro Tip: Set up a consistent workflow with dedicated time, a comfortable workspace, and organized file management to maximize productivity.

Skills Required for Transcription

The skills required for transcription include the following:

  • Active Listening: Active listening is a crucial skill for transcriptionists. It involves paying close attention to the audio or video recording, not just hearing the words but actively processing them to create an accurate transcription. Active listening consists of a range of skills, including understanding the context of the recording, the speaker's tone, and inflection. One of the critical components of active listening is accurately discerning the speaker's tone and inflection. The style of a speaker's voice can give clues about their emotional state, the level of formality, or urgency.
  • Typing Skills: Transcriptionists must be able to type quickly and accurately, with a minimum typing speed of 60 words per minute. Familiarity with keyboard shortcuts and transcription software can also be helpful. Typing skills are essential for transcriptionists since their primary job is transcribing audio or video recordings into written or typed documents. They must be able to type quickly and accurately to keep up with the pace of the recording and produce a complete and accurate transcript.
  • Computer Skills: In today's digital age, transcriptionists must have computer skills to excel. Most transcription work is done on computers, and transcriptionists must be comfortable using various software programs, including word processing software. Transcriptionists need to have the ability to type quickly and accurately.
  • Attention to Detail: Transcriptionists need to have excellent attention to detail to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the transcript. They should be able to catch and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Attention to detail is a crucial skill for transcriptionists, as the accuracy and completeness of the transcript depend on it. Transcriptionists must be able to pay close attention to every detail of the audio or video recording they are transcribing to ensure that the transcript is free of errors and meets the required standards. Transcriptionists must be able to spell words accurately, including names, technical terms, and other specialized vocabulary that may be used in the recording.
  • Sharp Memory: Transcriptionists may need to remember specific details from the recording, such as names. As a transcriptionist, it is essential to have a sharp memory to transcribe the recording you are working on accurately. One of the critical skills required for this job is remembering specific details from the recording, such as names, dates, and technical terms. Sometimes, the recording may contain multiple speakers, and it can be challenging to remember who said what.
  • Research Skills: Transcriptionists may need to research to clarify any unclear words or phrases in the recording. Research skills are an essential part of a transcriptionist's job. Transcriptionists need to quickly and efficiently conduct research to clarify any unclear words or phrases in the recording and ensure that the transcript is accurate and complete. They may also need to research industry-specific terminology or jargon to ensure accuracy in the transcript. In some cases, the recordings that transcriptionists work with may contain technical or industry-specific language that requires additional research to understand. For example, a transcriptionist working on a medical dictation may need to research medical terminology to transcribe the recording accurately. Similarly, a transcriptionist working on a legal deposition may need to research legal jargon to ensure the transcript is accurate and complete.

Tools and Equipment required

  • PC or Laptop
  • Headphones
  • Foot Pedal
  • Ergonomic Chair
  • Ergonomic Keyboard
  • Grammarly
  • Audio Converters
  • Transcription Software

Pro Tip: If you're a transcriptionist or someone who spends a lot of time working with audio and text, investing in high-quality tools and equipment can significantly improve your productivity and reduce your chances of developing repetitive strain injuries.

How to Get Started as a Transcriptionist?

As working from home trend is getting popular, more and more people want to earn money from home as a transcriptionist but don't know how to get started. Here's a walkthrough about what you need to get started on a transcription career.

  • Training: It's essential to receive proper training to learn the skills and tools required for transcription. There are various online courses and training programs available that can help you learn transcription.
  • Practice: Practice is crucial to improve your transcription skills. You can start by transcribing short audio or video files and gradually increase the length and complexity of the recordings.
  • Finding Work: You can work as a transcriptionist through various online platforms connecting freelancers with clients. Some examples include Upwork, Fiverr, and Rev.
  • Building Your Portfolio: As you gain experience in transcription, you can build a portfolio of your work to showcase your skills to potential clients.

The next question that might come up in your mind is whether transcription training is required to become a professional transcriber. Well, the answer obviously depends on what your future goals are. If you are thinking of a full-time work-from-home transcription career, it's recommended to learn the ins and outs of the industry with a professional transcription course. Here is how you can start earning from home as a pro transcriber in just 3 weeks.

Become a Professional Transcriptionist

Tips for Success

  • Time Management: Time management is essential to meet deadlines and ensure productivity. It's important to schedule your work hours and prioritize tasks accordingly.
  • Quality Assurance: Quality assurance is vital to ensure the accuracy and completeness of your work. Always proofread and edit your transcripts before submitting them to clients.
  • Staying Organized: Staying organized can help you manage your workload more effectively. You can use calendars and to-do lists to prioritize your tasks.
  • Building a Professional Network: A professional network can help you find new clients and opportunities. You can join online communities, attend networking events, and connect with other transcriptionists to expand your network.

Related Reads:

Career Opportunities in The Transcription Industry

Transcription is a work-from-home profession with plenty of benefits and opportunities. You can start as a home-based transcriptionist, be an independent contractor, do it as a part-time side-gig, or even launch your own transcription business. Here you can learn in brief about finding online transcription jobs and the options for you.


Despite the introduction of AI in the transcription industry, human transcriptionists remain essential due to their ability to provide accurate and contextualized transcripts. Transcriptionists will need to analyze and review AI-generated transcripts and add contextual information such as timestamps and relevant keywords. They will also be required for more complex projects that require specialized knowledge, such as legal or medical transcription. Overall, human transcriptionists' skills and expertise will continue to be vital in ensuring high-quality transcribed content.

To get started in the transcription industry, you should receive proper training and practice, find work through online platforms, and build a portfolio. Tips for success in transcription include time management, quality assurance, staying organized, and creating a professional network.

In conclusion, the introduction of AI and transcription software has not diminished the role of human transcriptionists. Instead, it has provided new opportunities for transcriptionists to enhance their skills and expertise, and continue to play a vital role in the transcription industry.

Encouragement for Beginners

Starting a new career in transcription can be challenging, but with dedication, perseverance, and hard work, you can succeed. Remember to stay positive, be patient with yourself, and seek opportunities for growth and development. With time and experience, you can become a skilled and successful transcriptionist.

Ready to start a new career in transcription? Consider getting certified through our reputable Transcription Certification Institute. Not only will it provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge, but it will also enhance your credibility and marketability in the industry. Enroll now to take the first step toward your new career today!

Want to learn more? Check these out:

In Part 2 of this series, we are going to dig deep into the tips and tricks for landing a transcription job. We are coming up next with the hacks to beat the competition for transcription employment.

To be continued…