How Do You Learn General and Business Transcription?

There is a big demand for general, non-medical transcription. Many audio and video files with non-medical content need to be converted to text files for referencing, archiving and for search engine indexing and optimization. And you can take advantage of this need to get non-medical transcription work from home.

So how do you become a general and business transcriptionist?
And how do you get the skills and training to become a general transcriptionist?

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There is no formal training required to become a general or business transcriptionist.

Although formal transcription training and courses are usually needed to get medical transcription and legal transcription work, you do NOT need formal training and you do NOT need to enroll in a $1,500-$3,000 transcription course to be able to get general transcription work from home.

You can learn general transcription yourself.

You can use online resources and tutorials (many are free) such as typing and grammar tutorials to help you improve your skills. You can practice transcription with transcription practice files to improve your transcription and listening skills and increase your speed.

But if you want to speed up the process of becoming a professional transcriptionist, you may want to consider getting a specialized book or course. See some resources below.

1. Increase your typing speed with typing tutorials

All types of transcription work require speed and accuracy.  To earn a good living as a transcriptionist you must be a fast and accurate typist.

Your typing speed and transcription speed will improve with practice. The more you type and transcribe, the faster you’ll get.

You can start by practicing typing without dictation. You can use online typing tutorials and typing tests to improve your typing speed and accuracy. You can get your typing speed stats from those sites.

The accuracy of any type of transcript is very important so focus not only on typing quickly but on typing without errors. Choose a typing tutorial that will provide you with stats that will show your accuracy and speed. After you have improved your typing speed, then practice typing from dictation.

2. Improve your grammar skills

You need to be proficient in grammar and spelling if you want to become a successful transcriptionist. If you need to brush up on your grammar, you can take a course from your local community college or take an online grammar course.

3. Get some computer skills

You need to have some basic computer skills, know how to use a word processing program and how to download files. You can take online classes, watch YouTube videos or take a few community classes to improve your computer skills.

4. Expand your vocabulary and general knowledge

You can improve your vocabulary about a specific industry by visiting their web sites and reading online and off-line industry articles and newsletters.

For example, to become familiar with financial terms, you can read financial books or business magazines like Business Week and listen to financial TV channels like MSBNBC or Bloomberg. To become familiar with insurance terms, you can go to web sites of insurance companies.

To become both accurate and fast, you must practice transcription.
But how do you do practice transcription?

5. Get transcription software and equipment

The first step you need to take to do transcription work is to install transcription software and become familiar with it. Express Scribe is a popular free transcription software. See a video on how it works here.

Although you can do transcription without a foot pedal and headset, investing in a foot pedal will increase your transcription speed instantly and make transcribing easier. A noise-canceling headset will help you hear the recording better and improve accuracy. See more information here about transcription equipment.

6. How to practice transcribing

Practicing transcription will help beginning transcriptionists become familiar with using transcription software and a foot pedal, build speed, increase accuracy and acquire an ear for transcription work. Your transcription speed will keep increasing gradually until you reach your ideal speed.

There are many ways to practice transcription.

  • One way to train for general transcription is by transcribing anything you hear.
  • Transcribe your own voicemail,  answering machine messages and Skype recordings.
  • Record and transcribe conversations, television interviews and radio interviews.
  • Look for different types of audio files and video files you can practice with at many web sites.
  • Download and transcribe online seminars, teleseminars and podcasts from the public domain.
  • Download and transcribe podcasts from to practice transcription and get familiar with different kinds of accents.
  • The NCH website provides sample audio files you can use with the free Express Scribe transcription playback software. They even include transcribed documents to check your finished transcription against. The NCH sample audio files are legal and medical transcription files but you can use them to practice general transcription too. Just don’t worry about the legal and medical terms. You can download practice transcription files and free Express Scribe transcription software at

Using transcription practice files is one of the best ways to practice transcription and build speed.

Several websites provide medical practice transcription files but if you’re looking to get started in general transcription, it’s best to use general transcription practice files.

You can find practice files to practice general and business transcription at

Before doing a transcription test and applying for your first transcription job, install transcription software, practice transcribing and make sure that your transcription skills are up to speed.

You can prepare yourself to become a general and business transcriptionist by practicing transcription. All it takes is the right information, tools, equipment, software, mindset and the desire to work on your skills.

How to get general transcription work from home without knowing medical terminology and without specialized training. Get my free report, How to Avoid Transcription Scams. Visit

7. Learn from specialized books and courses

Books and courses will give you insider information.

Here’s some industry information you’ll need to know:

  • Transcription formats, styles, transcription industry standards and conventions.
  • How to format transcripts, how and when to use verbatim, semi-verbatim and edited transcription.
  • What to transcribe and what to omit.

You can get this information by reading specialized how to books and using general transcription practice files.

One such book is  The General Transcription Business-In-A-Box.

If you want a complete course, check out Janet’s intensive, multi-media general transcription course, General Transcription: Theory and Practice

Transcription Training – Resources to learn transcription



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