Transcriber Job Description
Transcribers create written versions of audio or video recordings, meetings, and conversations. This job involves listening to audio and translating it into long-form text, reviewing drafts of written transcriptions, and liaising with clients to make sure they’re happy with the final documents. Transcribers typically work in an office-based environment, although there is an opportunity with this job to work remotely and on a freelance basis. Transcribers usually work during regular business hours, but can work part-time as well, especially if working as a freelancer. This job is well suited to people who are detail oriented, have excellent writing and listening skills, and can communicate well with clients and colleagues, both verbally and over email.
Transcriber Duties and Responsibilities
Transcribers carry out a range of different responsibilities depending on the organization they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, duties typically involve:
Interpreting Audio Recordings
Transcribers listen to recorded dictations to interpret and transcribe them, translating any industry-specific jargon into long-form text, such as medical terminology or legal terms.
Transcribers review drafts prepared by speech recognition software, ensuring that it’s correct and complete, and making any edits for accuracy and consistency in style.
A key part of this job is to spot any inaccuracies and errors, and to add in missing information within the final report. Transcribers check that every aspect of the document is correct, particularly if they’re in a medical or legal setting, as discrepancies can have a negative impact.
Submitting Work to Clients for Review
Once the work is complete, transcribers send it to the client for their review. If they have any edits, transcribers will carry out the additional work for final approval.
Following Confidentiality Guidelines
Transcribers can work for a variety of industries, from medical organizations to legal practices, so a key part of this role is to follow patient and client confidentiality guidelines.
Transcriber Skills and Qualifications
Transcribers should have great attention to detail, be skilled at using computers and word-processing software, and be organized with their time to meet deadlines. Typically, there is no formal requirement to become a transcriber, though employers will expect the following abilities:
- Listening skills – transcribers need to listen carefully to audio recordings and interpret them appropriately
- Time management – transcribers must work quickly but efficiently, keeping tight deadlines and managing their time effectively
- Computer skills – word-processing software and audio players are tools that are regularly used by transcribers, so applicants for this role need to be comfortable using computers and different types of programs
- Detail oriented – transcribers need to spot inaccuracies and inconsistencies in final drafts, so attention to detail is key to being successful in this job
- Writing skills – in order to create accurate transcripts, transcribers need to have a good understanding of the English language and grammar
Tools of the Trade
Transcribers regularly use these tools and applicants should have a firm understanding of how to use them effectively.
- Word Processing programs – Microsoft Word
- Audio Players – Express Scribe, Freemake Audio Converter
Transcriber Education and Training
There is no formal requirement to become a transcriber, although some employers may require a high school diploma. Transcribers with previous experience in a similar role can usually demand a higher salary than those in entry-level roles. To gain a competitive edge in the job market, a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field may be advantageous.
Transcriber Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for transcribers is around $29,000, according to PayScale. Transcribers in the 10th percentile earn around $20,000 annually, while the highest paid earn close to $52,000 a year. Bonuses and profit sharing schemes are rare with this position. Most people in this role receive no health benefits, but many do receive medical coverage, and just under one in three receive dental coverage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate for this sector is expected to decline by three percent through 2026.
We’ve collected some of the best resources to help keep you informed on how to start a career as a transcriber.
Medical Transcription World – this LinkedIn group has over 5,000 members, making it a great way to network with others in the industry, learn more about what different roles entail, and find out about job opportunities in this line of work.
Quick Guide to Your Career in Transcription – from learning what tools are needed to how to attract clients or land a professional job, this book covers every aspect of a transcriber. It provides detailed and tailored information on duties and job seeking, so it’s ideal for those new to this career.
Transcribing the Sound of English – this book offers an overview of the pronunciation of words, phrases, rhythm, and intonation, to help with transcribing conversations. It includes a CD of audio recordings of authentic speed, as well as variations in accents, to help readers learn how to differentiate different types of discourse.
Way with Words – a great reference for all things transcription-related, Way with Words features reviews, interviews, and industry news. For those new to a career as a transcriber, this blog serves as a useful way of staying up to date with new software, tips, and techniques to help build knowledge.
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