What Is a Transcriptionist and What Skills Do You Need to Become One?


If you want to work from home in the language services industry, a transcriptionist job might be ideal for you. Now, the job is not exactly the easiest one, but it can bring a good income every month. Before you seek such positions, you must know what a transcriptionist job entails and what skills are required to become successful.

So, let’s find out more in the paragraphs below.

What Is a Transcriptionist?

A transcriptionist is a person who has to listen to audio recordings, then turn them into documents in written form. One might be required to transcribe recordings of medical or legal topics, but also different others. Anyone who wants to work as a transcriptionist must be very good at listening to recordings. They must also have amazing typing skills. After all, it’s important to craft a written document that is accurate and has the requested quality.

Because this job involves listening to audio recordings, it is flexible, allowing the worker to operate from home. The transcriptionist can receive the recordings via email, then use the same platform to send the documents back. Of course, a good Internet connection and computer are needed for this.

Transcriptionists might transcribe audio from meetings, podcasts, films, interviews, seminars, focus groups, webinars, lectures, television shows, sermons, and others.

What Skills Are Required for Becoming a Transcriptionist?

A person who wants to become a transcriptionist must possess certain qualities, including:

  • Active Listening

You must be good at hearing and understanding audio files, even when there is background noise. Also, keep in mind that you might have to listen to voice recordings of individuals from various geographical locations. This means people will have different accents, so it’s important to be able to understand everything they say.

  • Focus

Transcribing audio files takes a very long time, even though it seems like an easy job. The longer the audio file, the longer it takes to transcribe it. For this reason, a transcriptionist must have impressive focus skills. If you think you can focus on such a task for long periods, then this job is suitable for you.

  • Accuracy When Typing

Anyone seeking a transcriptionist job must have typing accuracy. This is even more important when you must transcribe legal documents, as well as medical documents which list someone’s diagnosis.

  • Typing Speed

Another required skill for a transcriptionist is speed. You cannot afford to lose time when you are transcribing. The faster you type on your keyboard, the higher your chances of meeting deadlines become. Some documents will be more urgent, and being slow with them will not impress your employer. Speed is one of the first things taken into account when determining if you’re fit for this position.

  • Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling Knowledge

Let’s be honest – a grammatically incorrect document would look very unprofessional. The same can be said about improper spelling and punctuation.

Working as a transcriber, you must know proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, so your document can be as good as possible and require little to no editing.

How Can You Become a Transcriptionist?

Generally, you do not need too much training to become a transcriptionist. But you might need an associate degree or certificate in legal transcription, court reporting, or medical transcription if you want to specialize. There are even online courses you can take if you want to improve your transcribing skills.

So, how much education and training you need will ultimately depend on whether you’re interested in general transcription or want to specialize in a certain area. Bear in mind that there are states where licensure or certification is necessary for medical and legal transcriptions.

The Different Types of Transcriptionists

There are three main categories of transcriptionists out there. These include:

  • General Transcriptionists

General transcriptionists work with various audio recording types and do not specialize in any specific area. So, they can work with lectures, podcasts, webinars, dictation, and others.

  • Medical Transcriptionists

A medical transcriptionist will transcribe recordings or medical reports with patients’ diagnoses and health information.

  • Legal Transcriptionists

Legal transcriptionists will deal with recordings from depositions, court hearings, and anything of the sort.

  • Final Thoughts

A transcriptionist job is great for anyone with good listening skills and a love for writing. If you know how to write accurately and are fast on your keyboard, you could consider this position. But make sure you look into the right certifications and licenses if you wish to specialize as a medical or legal transcriptionist.