Man Typing and Listening to Headphones - Transcription Equipment

Transcription work is a great option for those interested in remote work. There are many online platforms offering transcription job opportunities to independent contractors and many don’t require any prior experience.

Getting started on your transcription career path is fairly straightforward. To start with, you will need access to a stable internet connection and a computer or laptop. Beyond this, there are various other transcription equipment items that could aid you in working efficiently and effectively.

Listed below are some of the most widely used, highly regarded items used by transcription specialists. You probably won’t need to invest in all of them, but consider which ones are likely to best fit your needs, increase your productivity, and in turn boost your earnings.

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Transcription Equipment

1. Computer

First and foremost, you’re going to need a computer of some type. Whether you choose to use a desktop or a laptop is entirely up to you and both will work equally well. Of course, with a laptop, you have more mobility and freedom to work from wherever you choose – which is one of the great perks of remote work! But as long as your computer is reliable and fully functioning, you’re all good!

Some transcription software is compatible only with Windows PCs, so this is definitely something to consider. If you’re looking into starting your transcription career and want to invest in a new computer, a PC might be the best option, as they tend to be universally compatible with most transcription software.

However, if you already have a Mac and don’t want to invest in a new computer, there are definitely plenty of transcription opportunities available out there that will be available.

2. Headset

A good quality headset is essential transcription equipment. Not only do they make it much easier to listen to the audio, but they also drown out any background noise that you might need to contend with while working remotely.

Noise-canceling headphones are an excellent choice and there are many available to buy at reasonable prices. These will really allow you to focus on the audio file without any distractions. Transcription work requires high levels of focus and concentration, so being able to work without background noise is incredibly valuable.

It’s also worth considering the comfort level of your chosen headset. You’re likely to be wearing it for extended periods of time while working, so it’s important to find an option that fits comfortably and works well.

3. Foot Pedal

Ask any transcription specialist for their holy-grail item of transcription equipment, and they’re all likely to tell you the same thing. A foot pedal.

In truth, it is absolutely possible to complete transcription work without one of these, but investing in a foot pedal is likely to significantly increase your efficiency, accuracy, and in turn, your earnings.

Foot pedals are used as quick and easy audio controls. Pausing, playing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding can all be done through a foot pedal. This means your hands are free to type continuously and makes it easy to control the audio clips and speed up your progress.

Often, online transcription platforms place high demands on their freelancers, requiring exceptionally quick completion times on many jobs, so having a foot pedal is extremely useful. Affordable foot pedals can be found, but make sure you read plenty of reviews to check the item’s effectiveness and durability. You’ll also want to make sure it’s compatible with your chosen software and computer.

4. Ergonomic Keyboard

When working at a computer or desk for extended periods of time, your comfort is of paramount importance. We’ve all been there after a long day’s work; your back hurts, your neck hurts, your wrists hurt. Sitting in unnatural or uncomfortable positions while working all day can have detrimental effects on various aspects of your life.

It can lead to long-term injuries or strains, reduced sleep-quality, irritability and even loss of mobility. It’s clear then, that investing in some basic items that will reduce any strain on your body will mean that your work is more enjoyable, you’re able to work longer and earn more, and your overall quality of life will not suffer.

Ergonomic keyboards are designed specifically to reduce any strain on your wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders. When using an ergonomic keyboard, your hands sit in a natural, comfortable position.

Even if you haven’t yet noticed any muscular strain as a result of sitting at your desk, it might be worth looking into one of these as a preventative measure. Prevention is key!

5. Transcription Software

There is a huge range of transcription software options available to choose from. Express Scribe is the most popular, but there are many others as well. When it comes to deciding which one is the right option for you, you’ll need to consider a few different factors.

First, your budget. There are many free transcription software options out there, and most of them work pretty well, however, they’re likely to have specific limits and might not allow you to access the full range of tools. If you’re willing to invest a little in your software, there are also lots of options available with great usability and functions that are extremely affordable.

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Second, you’ll need to ensure that the software you’re looking to purchase is compatible with your computer. As stated earlier, some software is available for use solely on windows-based PCs, so if you’ve got a Mac you might end up wasting your money on incompatible equipment. Just be sure to check this out before purchasing.

Finally, you need to consider your specific work requirements. Not all software is the same, some have more functions and some have less. Depending on the type of jobs you take on, for example legal, medical or general transcription, be sure to check that your chosen software carries all of the necessary tools.

Specialized transcription software is likely to make your work much easier and more efficient, but a basic word processor like Microsoft Word will work too. Again, the right choice for you depends on your specialty and the requirements of your clients or employer.

6. Text Expander Software

Text expanders are used by transcriptionists to speed up their work. This kind of software means you’re able to input shortened, or abbreviated versions of words and the software will translate these into their proper format. This could be compared to autocorrect that pops up as your typing a text message on your smartphone, completing the words before you have typed them out in full.

This software isn’t necessarily essential but it is extremely helpful in allowing you to complete jobs more quickly and eliminate spelling mistakes. In terms of transcription equipment, text appander software is highly recommended by not absolutely critical.

Of course, the software is vulnerable to mistakes and might not always complete words accurately. You’ll need to check this as you work and definitely read up on plenty of reviews before purchasing this kind of software. It needs to be highly accurate and effective, otherwise, it may end up having the opposite effect and slowing you down.

7. Ergonomic Chair

Much like ergonomic keyboards, ergonomic chairs are designed specifically to reduce any strain or fatigue that you might experience during or after a long day of sitting at your computer.

Using an ergonomic chair allows you to passively optimize your posture, comfort, and even your productivity. The chair will provide adequate support and provide a comfortable and natural seated position.

Again, this means you’re able to work for longer without discomfort and work on maintaining good posture. As well as this, a high-quality ergonomic chair will also reduce levels of fatigue throughout the day, leading to higher levels of productivity and therefore more potential earnings.

8. Dictionary and Thesaurus

If you’re looking into transcription work, you’re likely to have a pretty solid foundation of knowledge when it comes to the English language (or any other language you choose to work in). However, language is ever-growing, and for that reason, it is believed that not a single person on earth could possibly know every word in the dictionary. So even with the highest level of intellect and language-based knowledge, you might still require access to a dictionary or thesaurus every now and then.

As a transcription specialist, you’re likely to work on a wide range of documents from various different origins. The likelihood is that at some point you will come across an unfamiliar word or phrase, particularly if you’re transcribing complex medical or legal documents. Here, a dictionary or thesaurus could prove invaluable with assistance in spelling and grammar.

It’s not necessarily essential that you head out and purchase a hard copy. In fact, given that most widely-available dictionaries are updated multiple times a year, you might be much better off accessing an online version. This will reduce costs and ensure you’re always looking at an up-to-date copy.

9. Time Tracking Software or App

This one is definitely not essential and many transcription specialists get by fine without it, however, it can prove very helpful.

Time tracking software allows freelancers to record the time spent on specific jobs or projects. Transcriptionists are often paid for the audio minutes transcribed, but for those that work on an hourly rate, time tracking software ensures that you get paid adequately for all of the hours you have worked. Even if you’re paid per audio minute or audio hour, it’s worthwhile to track your time so you know what you’re actually earning per hour of your time.

Final Thoughts on Transcription Equipment

By investing in some of the basic transcription equipment listed in this article, you could significantly increase your productivity and the efficiency with which you’re able to complete transcription jobs.

How necessary these items are for you and your work will depend on various factors, but all in all, they could enable you to greatly boost your earnings and increase your expertise in this field of work.

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