How to Become a TranscriptionistHome Business Ideas Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
If you have a good set of ears and fast pair of hands, you can easily become a transcriptionist and start a transcription services business right from the comfort of your home. A transcriptionist is a person who transcribes recorded notes, memos and manuscripts to digital text which can be seen on computer or printed out. The two most common and high in demand forms of transcription are legal transcription and medical transcription.
Why a Transcriptionist is Required?
A transcriptionist is required by people who, due to lack of time, prefer to dictate and record their notes, letters, memos etc. This may include lawyers, doctors, authors, etc. Transcription services are also required by companies that record notes from meetings and conference calls etc. An example of this could be a quarterly earnings call by a company that can be recorded and later transcribed for publishing and archiving. Another example for requirement of transcription services is speeches delivered at academic institutions which can be transcribed and stored for reference or publishing.
Requirements for Becoming a Transcriptionist
If you wish to become a transcriptionist, you will need:
- The ability to understand different accents
- Good command over the language
- Fast typing speed
- Understanding of technical terms used in the fields in which you wish to offer your services, for eg: knowledge of financial terms if you plan to offer earnings call transcription services
- A transcription machine that includes a foot pedal which is a special equipment that allows controlling the audio playback with your foot
- A computer with Internet connectivity
- A Word Processing application such as MS-Word
- An audio player such as Windows Media Player or VLC Media Player
A transcriptionist usually receives audio files in a CD, tapes or in digital format over the Internet. The job of a transcriptionist is to listen to the audio and transcribe it in a word processing application and provide the transcript in digital and/or printed format. The performance of a transcriptionist is measured on the basis of speed and accuracy of transcription. A good transcriptionist will be able to quickly and accurately transcribe an audio. Another very important measure of performance in transcription business is the turnaround time. A lot of times, clients require the transcript within few hours and you should make provisions to be able to deliver the transcript within the specified turnaround time.
It is always advisable for the transcriptionist to be familiar with the language and terminology of the domain to be able to accurately transcribe the audio. You can purchase dictionaries for specific industries to gain understanding of the terminology.
You can also use a voice to text conversion tool that can quickly convert any audio into text format. The text produced using this conversion can be far from accurate depending on the speaker’s voice and accent and will require editing on your part to ensure accuracy. This technique, if used properly, can help you transcribe very quickly.
The marketing for transcription services business will involve contacting the individual professionals such as lawyers and doctors directly and offering your services. Another method is to publish an advertisement in industry magazines.
Students and researchers can be a big market for a transcription services business as they require their notes to be transcribed. You can consider advertising inside colleges and within student communities.
Online freelance job boards such as ODesk.com and Elance.com also have lots of potential buyers of transcription services. You can create your profile on these sites and contact the buyers.
Upfront Cost to Start
You will need to invest in good quality transcription equipments that will make your work as a transcriptionist easy and quick to perform. The choice of the transcription machine will depend on the format in which you receive the audio. You may have to own more than one if you wish to cater to different types such as CDs, digital files and tapes. Other expenses include the software that you will need to purchase such as MS-Word, Voice to text conversion software etc.
The work of a transcriptionist is usually priced by hour. A premium over the standard hourly rate can be charged for specialty jobs such as highly technical transcription and urgent requirements. You should mark up the cost of printing and postage if the output is to be delivered in print format or if you need to send the tapes or CDs back to the customer.
Regulatory and Insurance Requirements
While there are no statutory requirements, you should safeguard yourself against liability for loss or damage to customer’s audio files which is an intellectual property.
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