Working as a Transcriber – Pros & Cons

how to be a transcriber

Working as a transcriber is both liberating and stressful. This article goes over the benefits and drawbacks of at-home transcription, the basic requirements to transcribe, the tools you’ll need, and some job resources.

Benefits of Transcribing from Home

  • You have freedom to:
    • Set your own hours.
    • Work as much or as little as you’d like.
    • Accept and turn down projects at will.
    • Take breaks, get up, cook meals, and get exercise.
  • No more driving into the office every day or ride public transportation.
    • You will save money on gas & transportation.
    • Your car will last longer. (Or you could even get rid of your car.)
    • The stress of a commute adds up over time.
      • No more traffic jams and bad weather to deal with.
    • Have a bad night’s sleep?
      • You don’t have to worry about getting up at the crack of dawn.

Drawbacks of Transcribing from Home

  • The stress of trying to land freelance work.
    • Transcription contracts come and go. You’ll land a great contract, but it may be short-term.
    • Work dries up during certain times of the year. (However, it can be nice to have slow days sometimes.)
    • You have to keep track of your expenses, your income, and put aside money for taxes.
      • Hiring a bookkeeper or accountant may be necessary.
  • You’re in the house everyday typing.
    • You don’t have co-workers.
      • There’s nobody to bounce ideas off of or to help you out if you’re in a jam.
      • It can get lonely working by yourself with headphones on all day.
    • Networking is difficult.
      • So if you want to socialize and meet others in the field, you’ll have to seek out online groups or Meetups.

But this article assumes you are deciding to make the leap, or at least part-time to maybe more some more money. One job that is always in demand is audio and video transcription. Transcribing from home isn’t as easy as it seems. There’s some basic qualifications that if you don’t meet then transcribing from home might not be a good fit for you.

How to Be a Transcriber

Basic Requirements:
  • To make a decent wage you’ll need to type at least 80 Words per Minute accurately.
  • Intermediate Computer Skills:
    • Using email and some advanced email features.
    • Installing software and keeping it up to date.
    • You’ll need to use the internet for research & to search for job leads.
  • Transcribers also need an up to date computer that can load large video files.
  • You’ll need high speed internet to be able to download files for transcription. So you may have to upgrade your internet.

Once you’ve met those qualifications you’ll need to put. The reason you need a foot pedal to transcribe is you are using your hands to type, but if you want to hit play/rewind/fast forward you don’t want to slow yourself down tremendously by trying to control your or video with your hands, so you use your feet. You’ll also need a good pair of headphones to listen to the audio while you type.

Four Tools to be a Great Transcriber:

Once you’ve set yourself up to transcribe then your next step is to go out and look for transcription jobs.

Jobs Resources:

  • Fiverr
  • Social Media Sites (Facebook and LinkedIn)
  • and other job boards for audio/video professionals
  • Set a Google alert for “audio transcription.” You’ll get daily emails from new articles and posts.
    • Sometimes these Google Alerts will have jobs leads.

I hope this article was helpful. Let us know if you have any questions. Happy transcribing!

Click here to see our reviews of the best transcription software.

4 thoughts on “Working as a Transcriber – Pros & Cons”

  1. Thank you so much for your article. I am preparing to work part-time from home, and I was really nervous about it until now. Thanks for setting my mind at ease and building my confidence!

  2. Thanks from me too, I used to audiotype in an office and am hoping to restart now, working from home. Thanks for outlining pros and cons so I know what to expect.

  3. Do automatic timestamping programs exist, especially ones where you can set how often a timestamp gets inserted (e.g., every 15, 30, 60 seconds) as you transcribe an audio or video file? I can insert a timestamp manually using my company’s transcription dashboard, but I also have Express Scribe software for transcribing into a MS Word file.


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