What is a Transcriber? - Woman Working on Laptop

The number of people looking for the best transcription jobs has grown significantly in recent years. With the rise of remote working opportunities and the increased use of digital technologies in our daily lives, it makes sense that so many of us are drawn towards a job that gives high levels of flexibility, the freedom to set our own schedule in many cases, and the opportunity to work on highly engaging projects that could be extremely rewarding.

Here, we are going to answer the question, “What is a transcriber?” We’ll look at the prerequisites that come along with this kind of work. To learn the steps for getting started, please see our article on how to become a transcriptionist.

What is a Transcriber?

A transcriber or transcriptionist essentially takes audio or video files and puts them into text format. They will create written documents of any spoken words within the audio or video file. Typically, they do this using specialist transcription software that allows them to quickly navigate and move through the file and transcribe the text efficiently and accurately.

The work itself is likely to vary pretty widely depending on the specific job or client. Transcriptionists might transcribe recordings from corporate meetings, courtrooms, police interviews, movies, telephone calls, or a number of other situations or documents.

The transcriber will use their own preferred format or one specified by the client to create clear, concise, and easy to decipher text documents. Some clients will ask that the transcriber uses specific codes or spacing, again, this will depend on the job that is being completed.

Why is Transcription Such a Popular Career Option?

Transcription work is in consistently high demand. Lots of companies have files transcribed to make them more accessible to audiences who are hard of hearing or to make the archival of records or documents more straightforward. Lots of authors also use transcription when writing memoirs, as it makes it easy to record anecdotes or information that can be drawn upon at a later date. It’s a job that is extremely varied and can be highly rewarding.

It’s a job that also lends itself particularly well to remote working. Lots of people are drawn towards transcription work due to the high levels of flexibility that it affords them. As a transcriber, you could work as a freelancer, a regularly hired contractor, or a company employee. The choice is entirely up to you and will likely depend on your current lifestyle and any existing commitments or responsibilities.

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What Skills Does a Transcriber Have?

In terms of the required skills or experience that transcription work calls for, there are a few things all transcribers will need.

  • Firstly, you will need an excellent understanding of the English language, or the language you are transcribing. In lots of cases, the audio or video file you are working on may have poor clarity levels and you might have to decipher conversations in which participants talk over one another or voices are not completely clear. To do this effectively, you will need an excellent grasp of the vocabulary, phrasing, and tone that is being used.
  • You will also need good typing skills. Some jobs might ask that you meet a certain typing speed requirement, such as 70 words per minute, however, this isn’t always the case and it is possible to gain transcription work without an especially fast typing speed. With that being said, having the ability to touch type or to type quickly and accurately will save you a lot of time and will mean it is much easier to complete jobs successfully and efficiently. (Need to improve your typing skills. Read this and learn how to type faster.)
  • Required experience levels will vary from job to job. Some clients might be looking for transcribers with extensive prior experience, but it is also possible to find transcription work that asks for no professional experience at all. It’s a great job for beginners as there are so many entry-level jobs available in this field.
  • You might be asked to provide some of your own transcription equipment, particularly if you are working as a freelancer. In this case, a good quality foot-pedal will be of great use. These allow you to control the file easily, without disrupting the typing flow. A headset will also make it easier to hear the audio more clearly and avoid any distractions, something that is particularly important if you’re going to be working from home.

What is a Transcriber? Final Thoughts

Now that you have some initial insights into what is a transcriber, it’s a great idea to go ahead and carry out some more research to figure out whether this seems like a viable career option for you.

Things to consider when looking into transcription jobs include the payment rates, job complexity, deadlines or turnaround times, and the consistency of the workload. Once you’ve looked into each of these factors, you should be well equipped to decide whether this is the right choice for you.

Get started by taking some free online typing tests and see how you do.

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