This is a guest post from Alicia Jay. I’ve trusted Alicia with all of my transcription needs here at Sparkplugging and she rocks it out everytime. I’m glad she’s training others to do the same excellent work! - Kelly
It’s 2:00 in the afternoon on a Saturday. You’re sitting in front of your computer catching up with friends on Facebook, writing, blogging or some other fun online activity. Your fingers are happily click-clacking away and you don’t even need to glance at your keyboard as you type. You’re in sweats and a t-shirt. All is right with the world.
Then you start daydreaming about a lifestyle where you could do this at 2:00 in the afternoon on a weekday. No in-person meetings. No standing up in front of anyone to give a presentation. Just you, your computer and your sweats—and you’re getting paid. You think this could never be your reality? Well, you’re wrong!
I live that lifestyle. As a general transcriptionist working from home, I’m able to do a job that I love without leaving the comfort of my home office. Let me tell you a little more about transcription.
What is General Transcription?
General transcription is not to be confused with medical or legal transcription. They are similar in that the job consists of listening to an audio file and typing what you hear. However, it is not as often that a general transcriptionist will be called upon for a verbatim transcript. A verbatim transcript is an exact written version of the audio file. It includes any and all false starts, unfinished sentences and instances where the speaker says “um” or “uh.”
Most clients working with a general transcriptionist will want a cleaned-up version of a transcript. They want all of the above mentioned items removed. They want you to fix sentence structure and create a nice, clean, easy-to-read version of the audio.
Who Needs General Transcription?
There are a lot of people out there who work with general transcriptionists, such as:
- Business coaches
- Virtual assistants
The list goes on and on but that should give you an idea. These people often hold webinars, teleseminars, podcasts and interviews. They can use the transcript of these files to give away for free, repurpose on their website or bundle with other products/services that they can charge for.
Skills Needed for General Transcription
Now that you have an idea of what general transcription is and who will pay you for this service, let’s get into the skills that you need. Great typing skills are first on the list but there are other things like:
- Being a great listener
- The ability to follow client directions
- Typing accuracy
- Good grasp of the English language
- Excellent grammar and spelling skills
- Proofreading ability
- Willingness to research unfamiliar terms
You might be thinking, “This sounds great but I don’t have all of those skills you listed and I definitely don’t have the experience.” I didn’t have all of that either when I started out. I was a super-fast typist with great grammar and listening skills, but I didn’t have any experience with transcription. I employed the trial-by-fire method when taking on my first client (which I don’t necessarily recommend) and I learned a lot. Practice really does make perfect in this field. The more you do it, the faster you get and the more accurate you will be. Having someone to critique sample files was also really helpful in honing my skills.
Today, I confidently take on transcription work knowing that clients will be thrilled with the outcome—and that I get to stay in my sweats! If you’re happy being the one behind-the-scenes getting things done and you enjoy typing then a career in general transcription is right for you!
What do you say we stop daydreaming about the lifestyle you want to have and start making it happen?