I’ve read many posts recently on forums for transcribers who say that you do not need any training, that it is possible to use YouTube and podcasts and just basically teach yourself. While YouTube and podcast are great sources for audio and video you can practice transcribing, I struggle to see how you would even know where to begin with self-training via YouTube and podcasts. There is just no substitute for a properly developed and laid out course which takes you step-by-step through all the things that you will actually need and/or come across if you want to be a professional transcriber.
Professional development is something that is worth spending money on and is tax deductible. If you think of other professions, be it doctors and dentists; nurses; solicitors; HR personnel; translators and interpreters, they all factor in and budget for professional development and training for so many hours per year. Transcription is no different. If you want to move into legal or medical transcription, then you would take a transcription course that deals specifically with legal and medical terminology.
If you are wanting to do general transcription, because the topics are so varied, it’s very hard to know what will come across your desk and so you really need to be prepared for anything. As I said, before, it is possible to just take it on the fly and “learn” how to do it as you go, but is this a good use of your time? How are you going to check your work? Will you be giving your best to your clients? The more prepared you can be for any transcription the better.
Over our combined 30 years, Sonya and I have seen pretty much everything, and you really can tell the difference between people who are transcribers, or typists who think they are, and there is a world of difference. Typists who think they are transcribers just think it’s a bit of single voice audio and then are completely floored when they are suddenly given a focus group with eight to ten voices, background noise, people pouring cups of coffee et cetera, and they do not last very long if they have been taken on by a transcription company. If you want to set yourself up for success as a transcriber and offer transcription services, it is worth getting proper training. Offering services that you are not trained how to do will end up with unhappy clients who are not going to send work to you again.
When we were recruiting for Top Team Transcripts last year, Sonya and I actually had applications from about 12 to 14 Virtual Assistants who all had websites offering transcription as part of their services, and not one of those people were taken onto our team. The reason for that was that they couldn’t follow the instructions, didn’t follow the template, didn’t spellcheck their work, and couldn’t “hear” what we felt was a pretty basic test of clear audio with two voices.
So whilst it may seem like a bit of money to lay out at the beginning of your career, like buying your pedals and a really good set of headphones, it really is worth investing in some proper training. It is tax deductible as I mentioned before so that you feel confident when you accept work that you have the ability to produce it to the best of your ability. TranscribeRight’s course has nearly 16 hours’ worth of audio to practice on with Answer Keys to compare your transcript against. It takes you from short single voice dictations, right through to a focus group, multi-voice audio, poor audio, and 15 different accents. Pretty much everything that we have ever come across over our years in the industry we have put into this course. You will learn how to put together a subcontractor agreement, confidentiality agreement, how to invoice your clients, how to do basic book-keeping, how to create Style Guides and terminology documents.
We are still learning ourselves every day, and we also get help and training from professionals to extend our skills, even now. If you want to be considered as a true professional it really is important to keep yourself at the forefront of your industry, up to date and be as qualified as you can. Happy transcribing!