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Skills needed by a transcriptionist

Skills needed by a transcriptionist

By: Kevin

4 Jan 2012

A person who does the transcription is known as a transcriptionist or transcriber. Transcription is a challenging and specialist function requiring specific skill sets and the ability to multitask. All transcriptionists need to have some common skill sets and people specializing in certain industries will need additional industry specific skills.

BASIC SKILL SETS NEEDED BY A TRANSCRIPTIONIST: Enumerated below is a list of the basic skills needed by a transcriptionist.
1. As transcription is the conversion of audio into text, the first of the important skills that transcribers need to have is an enhanced ability to listen.
2. Multitasking is a must as they must be able to listen, understand and type simultaneously.
3. Fast and accurate typing skills.
4. Ability to search for information specific to the industry they work in.
5. Fantastic command over language - both formal as well as colloquial, grammar, and punctuation.
6. Knowledge of how to format text into client specific requests.
7. Last but not the least a good working knowledge of computers and software programs they need to use to perform the function of transcription. For example learning how to use the autocorrect function in word processing programs increases the speed of transcription.

Transcribers need these skills whether they work in the field of general transcription, medical transcription, legal transcription, business transcription or whatever other type of transcription.

INDUSTRY SPECIFIC SKILLS: When transcribers work in a specific industry, they will need to know terminology related to the industry, especially when they work in medical or legal transcription. The knowledge of industry specific jargon needed is huge. Before becoming a transcriber in such industries, training will have to be undergone to learn.

For example, in medical transcription anatomy, diseases and their treatments, drugs names, surgical procedures, etc. will have to be learned and knowledge of these continually updated along with the industry's growth and change.

Legal transcription covers a wide range of subjects from meeting with lawyers, depositions, court hearings, police interviews etc. just forming the tip of the iceberg. This is another mammoth field. Knowledge of legal terminology and procedures is a must to be able to transcribe in this industry. Hence, formal training will have to be undergone to become a legal transcriptionist.

Business transcriptionists need to have a working knowledge of business practices. The training here does not have to be as intense as for medical or legal transcription.

General transcription covers anything not covered by medical, legal or business transcription. So, you can imagine the scope of the widely varied subjects. A large database of general knowledge does help. In fact a person becomes well informed on many varied subjects - the positive side effect of working in the general transcription industry which they may not otherwise have learnt! No formal training is needed to start working in general transcription. All that is needed is to practice transcribing for about a month's time.

Quality is always an issue in any type of transcription. General transcriptionists need to be passionate about quality as it is a tedious job requiring listening to the same audio over and over again to get it correct. Many a times the audios in general transcription are very challenging due to poor recording, multiple speakers talking over each other making it difficult to identify who is speaking and what, etc. This makes processing such audios very frustrating - general transcriptionists need to have a lot of patience.

Other than the regular skills needed by a transcriptionist, general transcriptionists need to have an enhanced ability to find information regarding any topic, i.e., they need to know how to search the internet for information, what keywords to use to get the necessary information. General transcription is easier to get into but more difficult to perform as there is no previous reference!