You don’t need formal training to do general transcription work.
To start providing general transcription services, you don’t need a degree, any formal training or experience. And you don’t need to know medical terminology. Of course, you have to be able to do the work. And the way to prove that you can do it is by taking a transcription test.
Do I need to be a fast typist?
The faster you can type, the more work you can do and the more money you’ll be able to make.
A typing speed of 40 wpm is usually acceptable for new general transcriptionists, and 55 wpm is considered a good typing speed for general transcription work. While some transcription companies require a minimum typing speed of 40 wpm, others want your typing speed to be higher. Get your typing speed up to 55 or 65 wpm before looking for better paying transcription work. You must have a speed of 65-75 wpm if you want to take on deadline critical transcription work that requires fast turnaround.
You can increase your typing speed and transcription speed with practice. The more you type and transcribe, the faster you’ll get. Your transcription speed will keep increasing gradually until you reach your ideal speed.
You can start making money with transcription work while you’re practicing. You can get non-urgent, overflow transcription work from other transcriptionists if your typing speed is 40 wpm.
Typing and Transcription Practice Resources
If your typing skills needs work, use free online typing tutorials to help build your speed. Find free typing tutorials here.
There is a lot of free audio available online. Download and transcribe podcasts, talk radio shows or other audio. It will help you build your speed and practice your transcription skills.
I provide practice audios to help you practice transcription and increase your speed and accuracy. They include finished transcripts so you can check your work and see how you’re doing. Click here for more info about general transcription practice files.
General transcription requires excellent English, grammar and spelling skills. You also need good listening skills to type what you hear from a recording and ensure that the transcript makes sense. You need to be fairly knowledgeable with computers and MS Word.
Good research skills are important too. You have to be able to research words you’re not familiar with as general transcription covers a wide range of topics and industries.
You also need fast Internet access to send and receive audio files over the Internet.
And of course, you must be reliable, hard working, meet deadlines and provide accurate and timely transcripts.
If you have the required skills, you can provide general and business transcription services. If you need to brush up on typing or grammar skills, you can easily improve them by taking classes online or at your local community college. You will be happy you did when you start bringing in a paycheck!
Most transcriptionists will take on almost any transcription work they can get when getting started while others specialize in particular industries. Some industries are easier to start with and require less experience than others. Working for the same industry is easier since you’ll know the language used in that industry. Start with simple dictations and interviews and build up some experience before transcribing focus groups and seminars. Dictations are one-person recording and are easier to transcribe than focus group recordings.
Improve any skills you need to work on before applying for transcription work and taking transcription tests. You’ll feel more confident and you’ll have a better chance to get work.
Resources to learn transcription