Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fill in your Calendar with Transcription Work (Part I)

If you want to know why I'm writing articles like this, read Seven Reasons Why...  
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The other day, I was having lunch with a friend and she asked me if work-from-home transcription jobs were legit and if there was any real need for transcriptionists.
Click here to see the Express Scribe products 
I've used for over 10 years.

Yes! They are many legitimate transcription services seeking help and there is definitely a need for home workers to transcribe digital audio files.

Transcription is a wonderful skill to have as a stream of income or a fall back plan.

Being a speaker of English in the U.S.A. is a great advantage, too.

Some transcription work provided by American companies can be done in India and the Phillipines, but not the bulk of it. Most of it requires a transcriber whose first language is English.

My background in transcription is in the legal field.

 I am primarily a legal transcriptionist and have had years of experience working for attorneys and transcribing billing slips, meeting minutes, legal documents, personal correspondence, transactional documents, and others. I enjoy transcribing legal documents a great deal.

Transcriptionists are in demand for more than just legal documents.

And medical transcription isn't taking the lead.  General transcription jobs are available, too. For instance, who do you think does closed captioning for television programs and movies? That's right! Transcribers do.

And, remember how customer service representatives always tell you that your call maybe recorded for training purposes? It definitely is. Somewhere down the line, a typist will listen to your conversation and make it words on a page.

Don't worry about technology advancing too fast to replace transcriptionists. While software and apps like Dragon do a good job, they don't replace a human.  Transcriptionists also think and solve problems.  Software can't do that!

There's training available, but transcriptionists can start out learning on the job.

Much like with notary signing work, you'd need to start out working for middlemen -- and they certainly do take a cut out of your rate -- but look at it as a training ground.  Get a little experience under your belt, figure out how to do it, get faster, learn the industry, study it, and pay careful attention to each client's requirements for formatting.  Before you know it, you can start looking for direct work by running your own ads in well-targeted publications and bidding on jobs through Guru.com and other freelance websites.

Oh! Before, I forget to mention it, some transcriptionists say that even Craigslist ads bring them lots of work!  I noticed today that a couple of decent companies are advertising on Craigslist for typists and transcriptionists in all fifty states.

What you need to get started:

-- Desire to be successful at a skill that will convert to a stream of income.
-- Being able to type accurately and at a reasonable speed is also important.

-- At minimum, a computer and free software like Express Scribe by NCH.com.au.

-- Comfortable workspace.

Invest 75 - $150 in your new side business and start out with a professional's tools.

Most professional transcriptionists (including me) have a foot pedal that connects to their computers with a USB plug. It makes a typist faster and more efficient.  I can't transcribe without a foot pedal because I have used one for about 30 years, going way back to when typists converted cassette tapes to paper documents.  Digital is so much better!  I'm on my second Express Scribe set-up.  My little rescue dog Harry, chewed my cord in two, so I had to replace it when I wanted to use it and couldn't because it was totally destroyed.

The bundle in the picture is the package I have.  It includes Express Scribe Professional, a great asset because it will play video as well as audio.  Since much of today's transcription comes from courtrooms, legislative sessions, and conversations between inmates and visitors, all of which have been recorded on video, some transcription companies require their home workers to have the paid version of Express Scribe that includes the video component.

So, where are all those companies dying to hire you?  How much does it pay and where can you get training and certification?

I'll cover that and more tomorrow, in Part II!

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