How Authors Use General Transcriptionists


The demand for transcription is huge. Not only are there unlimited opportunities for transcriptionists but there is plenty of well-paid transcription work.

Doing transcription for companies like CallGraph/Scribie, Quicktate, Transcribe Me, and Rev. doesn’t pay well but working for companies like that is an easy way to get started in transcription and build up some experience.  Then, when you feel confident that you can do the job, you can more than double and even triple your pay by getting your own clients.

How authors use transcription.

Authors use transcriptionists to help them save time. And they’ll pay much more than transcription companies.

Authors use transcripts to create easy content for their books, web sites, reports and ezines. Using audio and video and having them transcribed helps authors create books fast.

Many authors conduct interviews for research. Many are also public speakers and those speeches create additional opportunities for transcription work.

How best-selling author, Judy Cullins uses transcription

Now I want to introduce you to best-selling author Judy Cullins and illustrate how she uses transcriptionists.

judyJudy is a book coach, public speaker and author of many successful print books and ebooks. She has taught book writing to many aspiring author-entrepreneurs in the last 16 years. She conducts teleseminars, sells ebooks online and provides individual book coaching. She saves time by recording her thoughts when writing a book rather than typing it.

“I speak faster than I can type so dictating content and having it transcribed saves a lot of time.”

You can find out more about Judy’s books and book coaching at

How Judy Uses Transcripts

Here’s what Judy told me about how she uses transcripts and how she repositions the content of the transcripts in many different ways.


  1. I dictate and record content for my books and have the dictation transcribed. Speaking is faster than typing and provides a more conversational style.
  2. I turn transcripts into ebook chapters.
  3. I dictate content and use transcripts for blog posts. Google likes content and transcripts of audio and video are better for SEO than audio or video.
  4. I conduct and record interviews with experts on my book topics and have the interviews transcribed.
  5. I put audio interviews and their transcripts on my blog to provide content.
  6. I record my teleseminars, have them transcribed and give attendees a transcript.
  7. I use transcripts to create reports I sell.
  8. I use transcript to create free reports to build my email list.
  9. I use the content of some transcripts to write my online newsletters.

What Makes a Great Transcriptionist?

When asking which qualities Judy is looking for in a transcriptionist, here’s her answer:

“I want a transcriptionist to be dependable and deliver the transcript within the required deadline.

Accuracy is very important. I won’t tolerate mistakes in common words. I will not use a transcriptionist again who misses deadlines, provides inaccurate transcripts and doesn’t know the difference between “its” and “its”; “your” and you’re”’ or “there” and “their.”

Also, how the transcript reads is important. I want a transcriptionist to discuss what type of transcript I want, e.g. verbatim, semi-verbatim or edited transcript. If a transcriptionist is not asking what type of transcript I want, then I question her experience. Some transcriptionists stand out from others by their common sense and good judgement.

The purpose of most of my transcripts is to create content for my books, reports and website. I want easy-to-read transcripts to generate readable book chapters , reports and newsletters. I don’t deal in legal content so I don’t need a verbatim transcript. I want a “cleaned up” or “edited” transcript that removes non-words that do not contribute meaning (e.g. as “like,” “you know,” “really,” “kind of,” “so,” and “OK”), stutters, false starts, repetition and filler words so that the final products reads smoothly.

I don’t want irrelevant content transcribed. If the recording mentions something that doesn’t provide real content that’s related to the topic, I don’t want it in the transcript. For example, if an attendee of a teleseminar mentions that there is an issue with the sound, I don’t need that transcribed. I don’t need the transcript to mention that I’m coughing or that my phone is ringing.

The ideal transcriptionist would be familiar with the basic vocabulary of my industry. Of course, transcriptionists can’t be familiar with all industries and I don’t expect someone to be thoroughly familiar with book writing and publishing but I want someone who is willing to research unfamiliar words and is willing to learn.

If I mention words she’s not familiar with, I want her to research them. I will usually provide unusual words and names to the transcriptionists. And if I forget, it’s okay to ask me. If a transcriptionist is uncertain about a spelling of a word after looking it up, I want her to indicate that in the transcript.

Final Words

Many authors use transcription to help them research and write books. Authors outsource transcription to transcriptionists because it saves them time. Some authors are slow typists or don’t like typing. Some find that talking makes their writing sound more natural.

With millions of print books and ebooks published every year, plenty of general transcription work is available in that market alone.  I have personally transcribed dictation and interviews for many authors.

Interested in learning more about transcription as a career?

Janet Shaughnessy can help you get an edge by becoming an excellent transcriptionist — and show you how to get higher-paying clients.

Noticed that Judy mentioned “verbatim”, semi-verbatim and “edited” transcription styles? A transcriptionist must know the differences and be able to use type of transcript that’s appropriate for the client and project.

Janet Shaughnessy includes a full lesson plus a quiz on the different types of transcripts in her intensive, multi-media general transcription course, General Transcription: Theory and Practice


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