Some truths about transcription

By Learn to Transcribe

We wanted some facts, indisputable facts.  So we pulled from our own expertise in the business over 40 years and did a little checking with other working transcriptionists to uncover a few truths and facts.

Here’s a few to get started.

Is transcription “for everyone”?

No.  It is not.  Some people are simply not cut out for this type of work.

What are a few barriers to this type of work?  Some truths about those?

  • Health issues that interfere with long hours of sitting and working on a computer.
  • Personal situation that does not provide enough uninterrupted work time.
  • Language issues where the command of English is too weak.
  • Poor typing or keyboarding skills, simply not fast nor accurate enough.

I am a really fast and accurate typist.  Isn’t that the most important criteria?

Not at all.  While excellent keyboarding skills are certainly super important, there’s much more involved in transcribing.

  • Excellent English language knowledge, including grammar and punctuation.
  • A good vocabulary to figure out the exact spoken words.
  • Really good hearing and/or the use of audio enhancing software or equipment.
  • Physical stamina and ability to sit and work uninterrupted, sometimes for hours.
  • Ability to decipher various speaker accents and understand them.
  • Willingness to research and check spellings, capitalizations, company names, etc.

What about watching YouTube videos and reading blogs for my training?

YouTube videos and blogs are not proper training, no.  In fact, many blogs and videos are merely someone’s personal opinion and not grounded in any facts whatsoever.

Further, a large number of blogs exist for the purpose of gaining followers who click blog links that enrich the blogger.  How?  Many bloggers are merely affiliates receiving a monetary commission when a reader purchases something mentioned in their blog.  Quite often, the blogger knows absolutely nothing about the product or service recommended.

Is medical transcription a viable field?  The training is so expensive!

  • The once-lucrative USA medical transcription field has taken a big nosedive in pay.
  • Voice recognition software and/or scribes are now utilized in many clinics and hospitals.
  • Much of the medical dictation is now outsourced to foreign (non-USA) countries for much cheaper rates.
  • Many companies now employ former USA medical transcribers to edit the files for a fraction of their prior pay.
  • While some lucrative contracts still exist, the vast majority have faded away within the past few years.

Do USA companies employ transcribers from other countries?  Some truths, please.

Yes, some do.   Of course, many of them do not pay high rates to a beginner, but they could be places to gain some entry-level experience.

However, a large group of companies do not hire workers from outside the USA.  Why not?  The short answer is that it’s generally related to tax purposes along with confidentiality reasons.

Is legal transcription more difficult to learn than general?  What is the truth?

Yes, it is.  Most of the legal assignments involve the use of strict punctuation rules that take a while to learn and/or remember.  Specific formats, rarely used with general transcription, are indeed used for various types of legal transcription assignments.  Case citations and Latin words are used, particularly in oral or written motions.  But the good news is that legal transcription pays much more than general transcription, as it should!

Is general transcription where I should start my career?  I’m so confused!

Maybe.  Maybe not.  The answer is:  That is determined by your personal situation.  Everyone is different.  Such things as your specific background, education, interests, experiences, and abilities all factor into making the best choice for yourself.