How to Become a Transcriptionist: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners 

Transcribing or transcription refers to converting audio or video text into a document or typing spoken words. It is a job that requires excellent listening skills and impeccable attention to detail. When transcribing, your attentiveness and typing speed should be at their peak. Transcribing is an exciting job since you can work at home, anywhere you feel comfortable, or where the job may require you to work. However, Transcriptionist is not an easy job. Even though your working environment is comfortable, you still have to maintain high concentration levels and carefulness to get the job done.

As a transcriptionist, your job description entails converting audio recordings to text or written documents. Although being a transcriptionist might seem easy, you need more skills to reach a professional level. There are three categories of transcriptionists:

  • General transcriptionist
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Real-time transcriptionist

Despite the categorization, all transcriptionists perform a wide range of duties, including taking shorthand notes, typing audio, editing the written document and attending meetings or professional talks to offer on-site transcription.

Beginners Guide on How to Become a Transcriptionist

Have the right tools of a transcriptionist

As a transcriptionist, you need a good quality computer to do your transcription job efficiently. Additionally, you will require a browser and a word processor. Your computer should have a suitable keyboard that is easy and comfortable to work with. Apart from a computer, you need top-quality earphones to boost the audibility of the audio and video content you are transcribing.

Besides the tools mentioned earlier, the internet is another crucial requirement for a transcriptionist. Your internet should have a good speed for you to work efficiently. You might also need the following additional tools to ensure you work more comfortably:

  • Two monitors to allow you to open a browser on one and the word on the other
  • A transcriber software
  • Like any other job or work, you need to have the right tools to be a professional transcriptionist.

Attend Transcription Training

Just like any other job, you need to attend formal training to be a good transcriptionist. You can find information about transcription courses in a wide range of sources, including the internet or through individuals in the transcription businesses. Regardless of your source, ensure you find a top-quality training body that will help you sharpen your transcription skills.

An alternative way to acquire knowledge on transcription is through a degree in court reporting, legal transcription, or medical transcription. Such a course can prepare you enough for the competitive transcription market.

Identify your specialist field

As mentioned earlier, transcription has three categories; general, medical, and real-time transcription. All these categories require different attention despite the shared responsibilities of transcribers. Although transcriptionists have general duties, you need to choose a field to specialize in to be an excellent transcriptionist. Becoming a general transcriptionist offers more job opportunities than following a career as a specialist. So for beginners, it is advisable to specialize in general transcription for easy access to jobs.

When choosing a transcription field, you need to do good research. Researching will allow you to make a sound and correct decision on what field to specialize in. Usually, having a friend, family, or acquaintances who understand transcription may come in handy to assist in elaborating the whole transcription career. Besides acquaintances, there are places like the internet where you can acquire such information. 

Get Experience

Experience has been rated many times as the best teacher. With experience, an individual has confidence in what they do. To gain experience in transcription, you need to practice a lot more often. You may consider applying for internships or voluntary work to gain more experience besides creating a strong portfolio. With this kind of exposure, you will be illustrating your knowledge in the transcription business. During your voluntary work as an intern, you can use that time to gain more experience in typing, grammar and spelling skills. These skills can be of importance when selecting a transcription job.

Have an Online network

Creating an online network is another way of becoming a good transcriptionist. An online network gives you access to the outside world to acquire jobs. You can use the internet to market yourself as a transcriptionist using the network. Besides advertising your work on the internet, you can find other transcriptionists in the industry who can direct you towards jobs. However, you first need to build an excellent portfolio to build a good, reliable online network.

Having a solid online network offers a wide range of benefits, including access to the latest updates on the industry, additional training opportunities and acquiring new ideas on transcription from more experienced individuals. In addition to these advantages, you will get feedback and comments from your clients, which can help you improve your work. Therefore, a transcriptionist should have a good online network to work efficiently.

Look for Jobs

To feel comfortable applying for a full-time transcription job, you may want to start with smaller part-time tasks to boost your confidence, skills and experience. Working on these smaller part-time jobs gives you the confidence necessary to propel your career. More jobs will enable you to build your self-esteem and professionally build yourself.

When applying for a job, the best source of opportunities is the internet. Finding a transcription job would not be that challenging if you pair your online network with a good portfolio. So, ensure you consider all these avenues and requirements to boost your chances of landing your next transcription job.


Just like the editing test, you need to pass your transcription exam to become a professional transcriptionist. Transcription is a well-paying job that can be a source of income like any job. Using the above guidelines, you should be able to decide which field of transcription you wish to specialize in.

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