What Does a Transcriber do? Everything You Need To Know About The Transcription Career

    Danilo Coviello

    You may have recently come across the job title “transcriber,” which seemed like an unfamiliar but interesting word.

    So, you were wondering what does a general transcriptionist do? Well, throughout this article, we’re going to give you a detailed answer to that question and show you everything you need to know about the role of a general transcriptionist and an overview of general transcription work.

    If you have been looking for a career in transcription services that allows you to work remotely, you should also stick through this article, as that’s just one of the benefits that this career offers.

    What Is a Transcription?

    Before we talk about the role of a transcriber, we wanted first to explain what transcription is.

    A transcription is what the process of converting an audio or video file to text format is called. If you have an audio file and would like it to “translate” into text format, you need a transcription.

    As you can imagine, many people do not like doing the transcriptions of the audio files themselves. And, that brings us to the main question of this article…

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    What Does a Transcriber Do?

    A transcriber is someone who transcribes audio files into text format. Over the last couple of decades, this career has become popular because of the increased demand for these services in various industries such as medical or law.

    Transcribers can earn anywhere from $20 to $30 per hour, which, combined with other benefits such as work from home and having a low entry barrier, make it an attractive job.

    Why Are Transcriptions Needed?

    Transcriptions are needed to make audio files accessible to people who might not understand them. Additionally, they can also serve as notes and make these audio files easier to read for many people.

    They can also serve as communication between professionals so that the person receiving it does not have to sit there and listen to a long audio file.

    Who Needs Transcription Work Done?

    Many businesses and professionals often have audio files that they need to convert into text format to make it easier to read or make notes. Some common and detailed examples of this are below.

    Doctors – Doctors often need to transcribe their audio recordings into text format to communicate with other healthcare professionals. This often includes things like the patient’s records.

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    Legal firms – Legal firms also commonly need transcriptions. This is usually for conference calls, meetings, court proceedings, or legal briefs.

    Podcasters -Podcasters also need transcriptions, as it allows them to reach a wider audience by converting their podcast episodes into text. This also makes it readable to search engines, which can help them generate more traffic.

    Of course, not all of these professionals have the time to transcribe their audio themselves, which is where the transcriber’s role comes in.

    How Do You Transcribe Audio Files?

    There are many ways you can transcribe files. However, what will provide the most accurate transcription is a human typing out what they hear.

    There are AI technology solutions. However, these are not developed to the point that they can provide an accurate transcription. They misunderstand many words so that they won’t be very useful.

    Instead, you should get out a simple word processing software like Word and start typing whatever you can hear. Don’t worry; many online transcription tools help transcribers complete their work faster.

    Even inside of Word, you can use shortcuts to insert entire words or phrases by just typing in certain keys that you configure.

    Plus, you can also use a foot pedal to help you control the audio while keeping your hand on the keyboard. As you can imagine, this makes transcribing a lot easier and efficient, so it’s a great tool for transcriptionists.

    Then, it’s just a case of getting practice until you’re good at it. Once you are and can show off your skills, you shouldn’t find it too hard to get a general transcription job.

    But we’ll talk more about getting a job later.

    If you would like to read about transcribing audio and video files in more detail, you can check some of our related transcription tutorials below.

    How To Transcribe Audio To Text

    Podcast Transcript: Why & How To Create One

    What Is Audio Transcription?

    Everything Else You Need To Know About The Transcribers Role

    Of course, there is more to transcription than simply typing. Below, we’ve explained everything else you need to know about transcriptionists.

    If you think that transcribing may be too much effort for you and you’re looking for a transcriptionist to help you, you can check out our transcription services here.

    What Skills Do Transcriptionists (Transcribers) Need?

    Transcriptionists need to have the following skills:

    • Great language and literature skills
    • Good hearing
    • Fast typing
    • Multi-tasking

    These skills allow a transcriptionist to convert their audio files to text quickly. Don’t get us wrong though, skills like typing and multi-tasking do get better through practice.

    So, if you just tried transcribing for the first time and you’re worried about your typing speed, then keep practicing until it’s better.

    How Much Do Transcriptionists Charge?

    Most transcription companies charge anywhere from $1 to $2.50 per audio minute, depending on the file type.

    The harder the file is to understand, the longer it will probably take for the transcriptionist. So, files that are hard to understand will usually be more expensive to transcribe.

    Additionally, if the client needs a specialist, for example, for a legal or medical transcription. This can also cause the price to be higher.

    If you would like to learn how this works in more detail, you can check our article on transcription services and rates. That will give you a detailed explanation of how it works.

    How To Become a Transcriber

    Regardless of if you’re looking to head into a specialist industry such as medical transcription, you’ll probably need to start with general transcription to gain some experience. This is because specialist industries often require experienced transcriptionists, so you’ll have to satisfy that requirement.

    General transcription jobs usually have quite a low entry barrier than other professions in the same earning bracket.

    If you want to become a transcriptionist, you have two options: getting a job or becoming a freelancer. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, but the choice is yours.

    Below, we’ve briefly explained how you can become a transcriptionist as a freelancer or through a job.

    Find a Transcriptionist Job

    Firms and agencies offer job opportunities. You can find them by searching on your usual job opening platforms like Google or Indeed.

    There are also sites like the TCI job board, a site made specifically for transcribers with a list of open jobs available.

    The requirements will vary. Some agencies and firms will ask for certain accuracy levels, while others will want to ensure that you have certain computer specs.

    You might also need a certain transcription certificate that you can acquire online for more experienced positions.

    It varies, but the best way to prepare yourself for them is to check out some job openings and then go after whatever you need.

    For example, if you commonly notice that companies require that you have a certain certification, you can research that certification and get it. There is no official or standard requirement for transcription jobs, so it’s quite hard for us to give you a general idea.

    However, the best way is to see what companies often require and then go after that. In many cases, it will only be computer specs, great reading skills, fast typing, and English fluency.

    Become a Transcription Freelancer/Start Your Own Business

    The second option carries a lot more responsibility with it, as everything is reliant on you. In one sense, the entry barrier is lower as you don’t need to be accepted for a job. However, on the other hand, it’s a lot higher, as you have to do everything around the transcription as well, for example, finding clients.

    The good thing about being a freelancer or starting your own business is that you have more control over what clients you work with, when you work, etc.

    However, the negative is the responsibility and the lack of security compared to a transcription position in an agency or firm.

    Which One Is Best For a Beginner?

    Unless you have many contacts that will use your services, we recommend going for an entry-level position at a transcription company when you’re not yet established as a freelancer.

    You should find it a lot easier to get accepted, especially if you have practiced on your own. Once you work at a transcription company, you’re gaining experience, which will benefit you in the future as you’ll find it easier to get other positions as well.

    If you feel passionate about transcription later down the line and want to start your own business or become a freelancer, it will be much easier to get clients because you have a network, experience, and reputation.

    Get Updates From Our Job-Openings

    Here at Espresso Translations, we’re an international translation and transcription agency. We work with many clients around the world, some small and others that are globally recognized.

    This means we often have job opportunities available for transcriptionists of all experience levels.

    If you’re interested in working with us, you can fill out this form. We also suggest following us on social media, where we share all our job opportunities and allow our followers to apply straight away.




    Final Thoughts

    That’s it! We hope you have enjoyed this article about what a transcriber does. Remember that if you’re looking for transcription services yourself, check out our service here.

    Or, if you would like to read more on general transcription, you can check out some of our related articles below.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Lastly, we also wanted to answer some frequently asked questions about transcriptionists.

    Can a Transcriber Work From Home?

    Yes! Professional Transcriptionists can work remotely.

    Rarely, a professional transcriptionist can’t work from home, as they need to deliver documents that can be sent online.

    In fact, many transcription jobs require you to work from home.

    Additionally, you can also often work your own hours, as long as you can meet the required deadline.

    What Is The Difference Between a Transcriber & Transcriptionist?

    There is no difference between the two terms. Both refer to someone who converts audio recordings into text format.

    How Long Does It Take To Transcribe 1 Hours Worth of Audio?

    Most transcriptionists say it takes them around 3-4 hours for every hour’s worth of audio, as a very broad rule of thumb.

    However, this varies heavily based on the type of audio. For example, if the audio file is tough to understand, then it will take the transcriptionist additional time, as they have to rewind the audio recording several times to understand it.

    If the transcription is in an industry like medical or law, it will also often take longer, as you need to learn the specialist terminology first.

    How Can I Easily Gain Transcription Experience & Learn The Right Skills?

    By far, the easiest way to gain experience is to transcribe audio files for yourself. Maybe you can practice with a YouTube video and start typing it out into your preferred word processing file, for example, Word.

    You don’t even need a lot of time for this; spending 1 to 3 hours per day doing this can teach you everything you need to know quite quickly.

    Once you have found a setup and a combination of software pieces that work well for you, you can then start applying for jobs and show off your skills.

    How Can I Earn More As a Transcriptionist?

    The best way to earn more as a transcriptionist is to specialize in a more complex industry such as legal or medical.

    Or, you can also focus on transcribing faster, as this will increase your hourly rate. Apart from that, the main thing you’ll want to do is consistently gain experience, allowing you to apply for higher-paying transcription jobs.

    Once you can prove that you have some experience under your belt, companies will not have a problem with hiring you.