Pianists know that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to learn how to play a piano. There’s a learning curve to it – you need to learn how to coordinate both hands on the keys, so that you can play different lyrics and tunes, effectively.
But after a while, piano learning isn’t that difficult. Actually, it’s quite enjoyable.
Transcription is not difficult either, but it is a skill to be learned and to become an exceptional transcriber, you have to learn much more than simple typing skills. Why? If you don’t put the effort, you may just get fired!
Four Approaches to Becoming Exceptional
Becoming a great transcriptionist requires strategy, a clear modus operandi, understanding, and talent. Strategy (to type fast and accurately), understanding (the tools), boast some skills, and flair (to transcribe well).
Let’s have a look at these four approaches and how they’ll help you become an exceptional transcriber.
Try to focus on the what.
What’s your typing speed? What does it take to type well?
Exceptional transcribers boast a typing speed of 60 words per minute on average. How fast and well you type up matters a good deal. If your typing speed cascades below the 60wpm threshold, there is technology to help boost up your speed. Try tutorial typing software like say, typingtest or mavisbeaconfree to help in practice.
High, consistent typing speed and accuracy, among other skills, gives transcribers an edge. It gives them a firm hold to climb the rungs of the transcription ladder like a pro. Exceptional transcribers maintain an accuracy rate of 98%. In every 100 words typed, they have all but 5-2 typos.
Master high typing speed and determine your place in the food chain in this thriving, lucrative industry. But transcription is so much more than typing at jet speed. You need something else.
That leads me to my next point.
Have the right tools.
Exceptional transcribers often use, at the very least, a computer or laptop with word-processing software and noise-cancellation headphones (which don’t’ have to cost an arm and a leg) to listen to audio files.
These are basic tools.
To add on to these, foot pedals come in handy to help you play, stop and rewind files.
DFX Audio Enhancer is a great tool to help you fix files that need more clarity.
Also, Express Scribe professional audio player software for PCs is designed to aid in transcription of audio recordings. It is the most popular transcription software and luckily there is a free option.
It works well with foot pedals too.
Invest in an ergonomic chair to maintain correct posture when typing. Bad posture can lead to serious back injuries.
Boast an array of admirable listening, research and comprehension skills.
Exceptional transcribers have a keen ear and fast fingers. Their listening skills are advanced much like their enviable typing speeds. But these two are not enough to make a transcriptionist exceptional.
You need to have good comprehension skills to differentiate between “bare market” and “bear market” in an audio discussing the American stock market.
Exceptional transcribers can distinguish differences between these and more similar words. If the speaker talks of “discreet” you must learn to recognize “discrete” cannot have the same meaning as the former word.
Understand punctuations. In fact, have an enthusiasm toward them.
What of difficult-to-understand accents?
Exceptional transcribers handle background noise and unintelligible accents by enhancing their listening skills. Accents can be difficult if you do not understand what’s being said in a file.
Master English Language skills, too. You cannot overstate the importance of this skill. Learning English language skills is an area you have to do well in the transcription world.
For exceptional transcribers to type up superb transcripts, they must understand proper punctuation and correct word spelling. Remember, to deliver error-free transcripts is not optional for these experts.
It is important to always proofread a transcript before submission.
Exceptional transcribers also boast enviable research skills. While this skill doesn’t immediately sound needful to transcriptionists, it’s crucial.
A speaker may talk about topics you are unfamiliar with and a foreign word may creep in. You’ll need to look it up. Expert transcribers know that unless you do research on names of towns, cities, people, etc. delivering a client ready file will be daunting.
4: General Knowledge of a Transcriber
Have a good grasp of general knowledge – it’s essential.
Exceptional transcribers know it comes in handy when you try to figure out what a speaker in a file said in slang. You won’t grasp what was said if you don’t have general knowledge about American or Aussie language, or any other lingua used, and its slang.
See, transcribing files day by day, will slowly uncover the culture, food, language, street lingo often used in certain countries. Soon you will begin to have a clear knowledge about everything.
Final words …
As long as there’s an abundance of video, transcription will remain on the increase and so will the demand for exceptional transcribers.
Look around. Video is everywhere. Podcasts are everywhere too.
According to the Edison research done in early 2017, “podcasting continues to rise, with monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% year over year.” All these videos and podcasts need to be transcribed into text.
In fact, more and more professionals are also using transcribers to improve their businesses.
An exceptional transcribers follows industry blogs on a regular basis. He or she also takes needful breaks as transcription can be taxing, depending on which file you’re transcribing.
All in all, if you follow these tips, you’ll be exceptional, too, with time.
About The Author
Sheeroh Murega Kiarie is a freelance transcriber and blogger, who blogs at techmoneymama.com. When she’s not transcribing or blogging, you’ll find her reading a book by Wilbur Smith, enjoying a movie or playing with her two cheeky kids.