What Is Transcription?

Chelsea Flint
A free video tutorial from Chelsea Flint
Professional Transcriptionist
4.6 instructor rating • 2 courses • 11,450 students

Learn more from the full course

How to Become a Transcriptionist

A blueprint for building your work-from-home transcription career

01:12:24 of on-demand video • Updated November 2020

  • Transcribe audio files
  • Create a professional transcription resume
  • Apply to transcription companies
English Hey, everyone. Welcome. In this lesson, we'll talk about what transcription is. On its face, transcription may look easy. You just listen to audio and type it out. But transcription is more than just typing. A good transcriptionist can pick out individual voices from a conversation and also understand different accents. He or she is also really good at researching obscure terms and could produce transcripts with correct grammar and punctuation. There are three main types of transcription: medical, legal, and general. To become a medical transcriptionist, you need to take certified courses, which can be very expensive. Legal transcription can be hard to break into, and it often requires prior legal experience and familiarity with legal terms and formatting. General transcription, which includes all types of transcription outside of legal and medical, has a much lower barrier to entry than medical or legal transcription. There is no specific training required. You just need to know how to get started, which is exactly what this course is about. So, who pays for transcription services? Anyone who needs their audio typed out. It's common for businesses, universities, non-profits, marketing firms, and individuals to need transcripts for interviews, research panels, meetings, podcasts, and more. One of the great things about being a general transcriptionist is working on all sorts of projects and learning about a variety of different subjects as you work. There are two ways to work as a transcriptionist, either as a subcontractor for large transcription firms, or as a freelancer with your own clients. If you're new to transcription, then I recommend that you start as a subcontractor for large transcription companies. This way, you can gain experience and earn money without having to build your own company. Working as a freelancer can be more lucrative, as you can charge more for your work, but it can take time to build up your client list and you'll have more expenses and non-billable tasks than a subcontractor has. As I said in the introduction video, this course focuses on working as a subcontractor. We'll get into exactly what a subcontractor is later in the course.