Transcriber – What are they?

Today a lot more people prefer to work remotely than in the past, and many are earning $60,000 or more providing transcription services and working as a transcriber. Several job titles use the word “transcriber” when describing job skills. This article will explore the role of individuals with superior typing and listening skills who transcribe audio into a written format.

Over the past few decades, transcribers have converted spoken words and gestures through multiple means. The first transcribers, thousands of years ago, transcribed using their manual handwriting skills. Then it evolved to shorthand stenography, followed by stenograph machines, and finally to computers. 

The transcriber’s role, and all the job entails, is probably a lot more than you realize.

What Is a Transcriber?

Today’s transcribers convert an audio file or video content into written formats.  Transcribers, also called transcriptionists, need superior listening and typing skills, developed through time and practice.

Transcriptionists come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are former court reporters, and many have college degrees or completed online transcription courses, while others are self-taught. An eye for detail, a desire to learn and practice are the essential ingredients for any successful transcriptionist.

There are even new Google books that teach transcriber basics. Most transcribers work from the comfort of their homes on their own schedule. In contrast, a few may work in professional environments such as healthcare facilities or legal offices. Trained musicians can usually make good transcriptionists, especially if they have an ear for sound.

Professional Transcribers Can Earn $60K Plus

Well-trained and experienced transcriptionists can earn $60,000 or more annually. The amount of money earned as a transcription scribe also varies by project and availability.

The majority of freelance transcription jobs are based on a per-project or on a per-hour basis. Transcription companies usually charge their clients and compensate transcribers by the audio minute. See more about finding the best transcription jobs here.

However, transcribing one minute of an audio recording usually takes several minutes. Factors such as complex sounds of speech, listening to particular voices, and transcribing multiple speech sounds are factors that impact transcription time. 

A new or beginning transcriber typically earns between $.30 and $1.10 per audio minute. Remember, an inexperienced transcriptionist may take an hour or longer to transcribe 15 minutes of a simple audio file and around four hours to transcribe 60 minutes of audio with multiple people speaking or files that are difficult to understand. 

The best way to become an experienced transcriber and earn more money is to develop your transcription skills with practice and time. The more you transcribe, the better you’ll become and the more money you’ll earn.

Most transcriptionists are compensated weekly via direct deposit or through payment services such as PayPal or Venmo.

Types of Transcription

There are several types of transcription, such as general, business, medical, legal, law enforcement, and academic. 

As the name implies, general transcribers work on a variety of projects. One day they might transcribe a corporate sales meeting and the next day work on a college lecture or a series of vlogs and podcasts.

Transcriptionists specializing in business transcription work on projects such as corporate investor calls, sales meetings, board of director meetings, focus group research projects, among others. 

Legal transcribers are assigned depositions, courtroom jury trials, custody and sentencing hearings, or appeals court hearings. There are many other types of legal transcription. 

Law enforcement transcribers usually work on interrogation and interview audio files, which are essential to police departments and law enforcement agencies investigating criminal activity. 

Medical transcriptionists transcribe physician notes created by doctors and other healthcare providers who treat patients in practically every medical specialty. 

Transcribers specializing in academic work transcribe lecture audio and video files, research projects, or focus groups for graduate-level dissertation and thesis work.

Transcriber Equipment

Transcriptionists need access to a high-speed, reliable internet connection. A laptop or desktop computer with sufficient RAM and a few specialized tools make transcribing audio files easier. Below are several other recommendations to gain peak performance.

Access to a high-speed internet system is important when downloading and uploading audio files. A minimum download speed of 10mbps is required, although 100mbps or more is recommended. Minimum upload speeds of 10mbps are also highly recommended.

Laptop or desktop computers with sufficient RAM and adequate storage will make transcribing large files more manageable. We recommend a minimum of 8 RAM with 16 or higher for optimal performance. Transcriptionists can use either Apple or PC systems.

Transcribers also use several software programs, including Microsoft Word, which is available on a monthly or annual subscription plan. The use of text expander software will increase a transcriber’s speed. Using keyboard shortcuts can also equate to increased earnings. Express Scribe is another software program used by most transcriptionists. It is available for around $40, and there are professional and free versions. 

We recommend using Google Chrome for your browser since it best accommodates standard transcription software programs. A text editor will help correct common mistakes.

There are also a few tools that make manual transcription more effortless and faster. One such tool is a foot pedal, which allows the transcriptionist to keep their hands on the keyboard when it’s necessary to listen to certain portions of the audio transcript multiple times.

Studies show that each time a transcriptionist takes their hand away from the keyboard they lose seven characters every second. Since accuracy and speed are essential components for transcription, you’ll want to master these tools.

Obtaining a high-quality headset is also recommended. For example, suppose you’re transcribing focus groups with multiple people occasionally speaking over one another. In that case, a good headset allows you to hear every sound or word more accurately. Capturing every sound is vital in verbatim transcription.

Transcriber Jobs

There is a growing demand for transcribers. Seasoned transcriptionists who can type between 75 and 90 words per minute (wpm) with a 99 percent accuracy rate earn the most money. 

Transcribing an audio file into a final transcript is a rewarding occupation in many ways. Not only do transcribers earn good money, most work from the convenience of their work and set their own schedule. 

The best way to obtain the necessary skills of a successful transcriber is to start today. Whether you enroll in an online transcription course or teach yourself, the transcription industry remains a viable and attractive freelance occupation. 

If you possess the ability to focus for long periods of time, have excellent listening skills, and can master typing skills, you will increase your opportunity for success as a transcriber.

Ditto Transcripts Wants Experienced Transcribers

If you’re an experienced, U.S.-based transcriber, then we encourage you to complete our online form. 

We employ only the best transcriptionist. Each person must pass a comprehensive criminal background check which demonstrates our professionalism and commitment to the transcription industry. 

What are you waiting for? Begin a productive and successful career as a transcriber today!

Looking For A Transcription Service?

Ditto Transcripts is a U.S.-based HIPAA and CJIS compliant company with experienced U.S. transcriptionists. Learn how we can help with your next project!