Today, while scrolling through Facebook, I saw a thread about a legal court case. The original poster was asking for advice, and someone mentioned that they should get a transcription of the records done. (Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to post a link or comment saying I’m able to assist, so I respected the rules and refrained from doing that). In the comments, someone asked what transcription was. (Of course, talking about transcription of WORDS, not the biological meaning of transcription, nor the detailed breakdown of a student’s results (academic transcript)). I was surprised. In the 16 years I’ve been doing this, that question has not arisen. It’s the first time I’ve seen it. Anyway, it got me to thinking that if that person wasn’t sure, maybe others aren’t either. Maybe it’s a language issue – most South Africans are second language English speakers (as well as many others all over the world). Anyway, if anyone is to Google ‘what is transcription’, I hope the question leads them to this post.
Transcription is simply putting spoken words onto paper. In this day and age, it usually applies to audio recordings, which you can make using any recording device (but we prefer good ones!), which you then send to your transcriber to ‘get it typed up’. We’ll then put this into a user friendly document (usually MS Word) for you to use for your purposes – in that case, a legal hearing. In the old days, a secretary would literally be called into her boss’ office to take down his dictation of a letter or other document.
That’s a very basic breakdown. In professional terms, it’s a lot more than that. What we DO on a day to day basis is receive audio files, listen, clean up audio, clean it up again, listen and type, listen and research spelling, ask clients to send names, establish what the function of the typed work is going to be, provide a transcription certificate when requested, check work, check it again. It’s time consuming work and you need some skills – to be able to type, to be literate in English (assuming you’re doing English transcribing) and be able to tell the difference between ‘there’ and ‘their’ able to use the internet, to be computer literate. So we’re trained in all those things. Medical transcribers in particular have to have a particular set of skills – not the least of which is knowing medical terminology. If you’ve never done transcription don’t underestimate it. Yes, it’s not rocket science, but you need to have a little bit of savoir faire. Listening, retyping, getting spelling and grammar correct, keeping up, and getting done is not always easy or fun! And that’s with the good audio. With bad audio it’s nearly impossible to do if you are not a skilled transcriber. So think about this before you decide to become a transcriber or apply for transcription jobs. There are places that you can get these skills if you don’t already have them.
Once you get into all of that, the list of industries where a transcriptionist would be beneficial is numerous. Almost everyone can benefit from having a transcriber. Students doing interviews, authors, estate agents, attorneys – anyone who needs to write something. The field is growing with things like close captioning having come on board. Many transcribers work from home, have their own businesses or sub-contract to bigger companies. Not all do though, some are office-based such as those who work for big hospitals or medical companies.
Typewrite Transcription is a transcription company that offers general and legal transcription services with some experience in the other fields too. We have over 16 years’ experience working in the field of transcription and have witnessed numerous changes in the industry. We’re excited about the future and what it holds.
Transcription is also referred to as audio typing, and transcribers are also referred to as transcriptionists, audio transcribers, audio transcriptionists, audio typists, etc.
Please feel free to share this post around so that people can be informed.