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Online Transcription Jobs: Become a Professional General Transcriber

Getting into online transcription jobs

Getting into online transcription jobs

What Is Transcription?

Transcription involves listening to a recorded or live speech, for example, presentations, conversation, interviews, sermon, lectures, podcast, conference proceedings, etc, and typing what you hear into a text editor to produce an electronic text version of the speech.

A transcriptionist (transcriber) is the person offering the service of converting audio or speech into a written text form: Online transcription business is growing so fast, and today, there are a number of online companies that connect professional transcribers and employers: Ideally, there are two major types of transcriptions that one can choose to specialize in:

  • General
  • Medical

Each transcription type has its own skill sets that a transcriber needs to certify in order to be able to successfully transcribe as a professional.

Becoming a medical transcriptionist is very hard as you will need to have medical education background: To add to that, medical transcription requires extensive training and additional equipment that is not needed in general transcription.

However, all the skills and equipment that are needed to work as a general transcriber discussed below also apply to medical transcription.

How to Become a Professional General Transcriber

Becoming a professional transcriber means that you can be hired by well-paying transcription companies: Acquiring skill sets that will enable you to find online transcription jobs needs training in different areas; experience comes by.

General transcription is any transcription project that is non-medical or does not involve medical stuff. It is the easiest transcription job that one can venture in, as it requires no specific educational qualification to get started. Here are the major specialties in general transcription:

  • Academic transcription
  • Business transcription
  • Media production transcription
  • Legal transcription

Legal transcription is considered general transcription since it is non-medical: However, to be hired by a legal transcription company, extra legal qualifications may be required.

Before you get started as a professional general transcriptionist that can be hired for paid transcription jobs, the hiring companies will need some qualifications at least for the entry level.

Most popular and well-paying companies require experience before employing a new transcriber: However, there are a few companies that hire qualified new transcribers without any hands-on experience.

Entry-Level Skill Sets for New General Transcribers

As noted earlier, general transcription does not require any educational qualification to be able to work as a professional transcriptionist. However, there are a few general transcription skills that all hiring general transcription companies will need before offering any transcription job to a new transcriber. Here are the skill sets that you need to certify to get started as a general transcriber:

1. Language Check

General transcription may be offered in different languages depending on what the employer need: You may be required to transcribe audio into one language or another. Most of the jobs will require transcribing audio into English text: However, some will need to be done in languages other than English.

As such, ensure that you are well conversant with the language that you need to transcribe into before applying for any transcription job. Some transcription companies are very strict and only employ native speakers. However, most of these companies offer language tests, and one may get a transcription job if they pass the test.

2. General Transcription Style Guide

Like any other freelance writing, a general transcription style guide is required to be able to work as a professional transcriber. Styles and formatting are the most difficult part of transcription and need extra training before getting started.

All transcription companies will consider grammar, speech format, and punctuation before employing new transcribers. Knowing when to use punctuation and the correct speech format when transcribing audio is not an easy task without the right style guide in place, and this is one of the transcription tests that is tested before getting employed.

3. Listening Skills

Listening skills are a necessity as this is what will make you complete your assignment on time. Keeping up with the deadlines is the secret to succeeding in making money as a freelancer.

Most transcription companies will test your listening power using a short audio sample. You need to be careful to hear every single word that the speaker is uttering so that you write down the correct words: Unclear words should be noted with the correct speech formatting to avoid inaccuracy in your transcription.

4. Typing Speed

Typing speed is a very important requirement for becoming a transcriptionist. This is in line with the deadline needs. On the other hand, the faster you can type, the more jobs you will be able to complete in time and make more money as a transcriber.

You need to ensure that you practice typing before applying for any transcription job, as most companies will test your typing speed. The average typing speed that will get you hired is about 80 words per minute, which is not difficult to attain with enough practice.

Writing a Compelling General Transcription Résumé

Just like any professional job application process out there, you need a transcription résumé even without transcription experience at hand. Most of the transcription companies that are hiring need your résumé that includes:

  • Your full name and address
  • Career objective
  • Personal experience
  • Skillset
  • Achievements
  • Education
  • References, if any

You can arrange these headings in the order that they appear. Here are a few résumé formatting points to put at your fingertips when writing a general transcription résumé:

  • The résumé should be easy to read; you can use Arial or New Times Roman with a font size of 12
  • Summarize all your information on one page for easy reading.
  • Only include job experience and skill sets that are related to transcription, like typing, proofreading, editing, and note taking.
  • Make your résumé up to date with relevant job experience that involves transcription-related jobs.

Some companies will need you to copy and paste your résumé into their sites: As such, ensure that you have your résumé in a well-organized format that will keep the original format. You can use text editors that allow for easy copy and paste, like MS Word or Notepad.

Equipment for Online Transcription Jobs

1. Computer and Internet Connection

You need to have a computer to be able to work as a transcriber. A computer is what you will use to download and listen to audio files that are to be transcribed. A computer will also enable you to type your assignment into a text document before submitting your work for payment.

To work online, you also need to access a faster internet connection that will enable you to receive audio online, work on them and submit them through the internet.

2. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

To listen to audio files, you will need to have a good pair of headphones that will make the speech more audible. The clearer the words are, the more accurate your transcription work will be.

Using headsets designed specifically for transcription purposes always produce high and quality audio playback that will make it easier to clearly hear the speeches.

This is because these headphones are designed with high-quality materials that cancel noises both in the audio and in the background to promote quality listening of speeches when transcribing.

One of the best and most affordable is ECS WordHear Headset, which comes with high noise-cancelling capability producing high-quality output that even a small child can hear clearly.

3. Transcription Software and Foot Pedal

Transcription software such as ExpressScribe can be very useful for more clear and faster transcription. Transcription software makes managing your audio files easier as it allows one to receive audio and video files in different formats, including MP3, WAV, WMA, AIFF, MP2, VOX and more.

ExpressScribe also has several other features, such as video and audio playback, which enables you to slow down or speed up the speech audio to levels that you are comfortable working with in order to produce high-quality work within the time specified. There is also a free version of ExpressScribe for both Windows and Mac users, but with fewer transcription features.

For faster typing, a foot pedal is used in transcription to control the audio and video playback features such as; fast forwarding, rewinding, starting, and stopping. This equipment increases typing speed by allowing hands to concentrate on typing only while you control the audio with your foot. The type of foot pedal use USB connectors, unlike the older ones that use serial port connectors.

Foot pedal controllers

Foot pedal controllers

Transcription companies hiring worldwide

Transcription companies hiring worldwide

Top 8 Online General Transcription Companies That Hire Worldwide

The recruitment process in all transcription companies is always thorough to ensure that only qualified transcribers are employed. The recruitment process for hiring transcription companies usually involves a number of tests before getting jobs.

If you are a non-United States, Canada, and UK resident, getting online transcription jobs can be very hectic as most of the hiring companies are US based, and they need either US, Canada, or Uk residents for transcription jobs.

Moreover, most of these companies will only hire native English speakers, and it is difficult to get hired if you reside out of the mentioned countries. However, there are a few general transcription companies that hire transcriptionists worldwide.

Some will need hands-on experience and the necessary qualifications before offering jobs to new transcribers. On the other hand, there are a few who will hire new transcribers with no experience but with all the necessary skills only after taking a thorough audio transcription test, grammar and style formatting test prior to finding paying jobs.

Here are general transcription companies that hire transcribers from all over the world with all the requirements that they need:

1. TranscribeMe

TranscribeMe is one of the best general transcription companies that hires transcribers worldwide: TranscribeMe also offers further specialization, such as medical and legal transcription, with higher pay scales than general transcription.

This transcription company hires new transcribers with a strong command of the English language, excellent understanding of English syntactical and grammatical rules, and ability to clearly hear American English accents and high typing speed.

TranscribeMe pays general transcribers USD 20 per audio hour (specialized transcription may earn higher) through PayPal on a weekly basis. To get started, please register with TranscribeMe and take their test and training program.

2. Rev

Rev is an entirely online-based transcription company that hires transcribers worldwide. To work for Rev, you need no special equipment other than your computer, internet connection, and headset.

Rev application is short and thorough: It includes contact details, work information, grammar test, writing test, and transcription test. You are also expected to upload your résumé as the last process of the application.

If your application is successful, you will be notified through your email address after a few days. Rev also pays transcribers on a weekly basis through PayPal. To get started, register with Rev today and take the short test.

3. Accutranglobal

Accutranglobal is one of the general transcription companies that are hiring transcribers globally: They are interested in new and highly skilled transcriptionists who can work independently and deliver on time.

They offer a simple questionnaire and test process for interested candidates. Accutranglobal pays either in US dollars and Canadian dollars.

4. Transcription Outsourcing

Transcription Outsourcing is a great transcription platform where you can benefit as a paid transcriber or get your transcription work done with qualified professionals. Transcription Outsourcing covers medical, legal, law enforcement, business or general transcriptions. Their registration and application processes are simple, and anyone can go through successfully.

5. Same Day Transcription

Same Day Transcription is also hiring general transcriptionists worldwide who have a good command of the English language. Their application process is simple and involves filling out a short form and forwarding a transcription resume. They also need all the transcription equipment, including a headset, foot pedal, and transcription software.

6. SpeechPad

SpeechPad is also one of the general transcription companies hiring worldwide. Their application process is the simplest, and it involves filling in a short form. However, there is a verification process that new transcribers are taken through before getting jobs.

7. eTranscription

eTranscription is a general transcription company that hires independent contractors worldwide. Their minimum requirements include typing speed of 80 words per minute, good command of the English language, excellent grammar and transcription document formatting. They encourage the use of transcription equipment, including a start/stop foot pedal, for accurate transcription.

8. Etranscriptionjob

Etranscriptionjob is also a general online transcription company hiring transcribers worldwide. The application process is simple, and the applicants are required to fill in their personal details and send their résumé through their site. Once the application is submitted, the applicant will receive a short audio about 3–5 minutes long to transcribe. If you pass the transcription test, you get the job.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Barack James (author) from Green City in the Sun on February 20, 2015:

Marie Flint: I agree with you, to be successful in online transcription, you need to have some passion for it before investing a lot. Also, some accent are so difficult to get if you are not native speaker of the language in question. The job however is easier when done with the equipments needed; they may be costly for a starter but they improve the quality of work and time to complete the work. Thanks for your comment.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on February 20, 2015:

Perusing this piece, I see you have done an excellent job covering the subject. I am a former medical transcriptionist, but have never done paid work on the internet. My paid work was also minimal with experience in psychiatric and pathological transcription.

The toughest part of the job is being able to hear what is being dictated. Also, the special equipment needed for internet transcription is relatively expensive. So, if you don't love the work to begin with, the investment isn't going to be worth it.

Voted UP.