The Basics of Becoming a Freelance Transcriber

Transcription is the task of converting a video or an audio file into a written or text document. General transcription is extremely important in different fields.

Are you a newbie in the world of transcription?

Do not worry! In this article, we have described everything you need to know relating to transcription, which is a way to earn money from home.

Scope of transcription:

Transcription is one of the most in-demand jobs on many freelancing platforms. Audio transcription jobs can be found alongside administrative assistant, visual assistant, and data management jobs.  

The basic role of a transcriber is to transform audio into text. The transcriber writes down an accurate wording of all the voices he/she can hear from a video or audio file. Many people who are looking for work they can do from home apply for general transcription jobs.

General transcription involves transcribing interviews, speeches, telephone conferences, group discussions, religious sermons, educational seminars, et cetera.

A transcriber must have the following skills:

  • fast typing speed
  • strong vocabulary
  • accurate grammar skills
  • powerful listening skills
  • research skills
  • technology proficiency
  • patience

One might think that transcription is an easy job and that being a fast typist is enough to earn money, but actually transcription could be very challenging, especially without any prior experience.

There are many factors that even make transcription difficult. Audio quality is just one of them. Static and background noises can often make the speech less easy to hear.

Another factor is the speaker’s accent. Not every speaker you hear has an American or neutral accent. It is sometimes hard to decipher words if you’re not accustomed to listening to heavy accents.

However, with constant practice, you can become better at this.

Another difficulty you may encounter in transcription is unfamiliar terms. General transcription covers a variety of subjects. When you’re given a topic that may be too technical for you, your ability to research comes into play.

Kinds of transcription:

There are 3 main types of transcription.

  • Verbatim transcription: It is the exact (written) replica of audio or video file as recorded. It is time-consuming and complicated. While writing the transcription, you have to make sure that you are mentioning each word, every emotion, every laugh and background noise.  The transcriber is not allowed to correct any wrong sentence spoken by the speaker. This type is usually used for legal proceedings, films, videos or movies, et cetera.

  • Edited transcription: In this type, the transcriber can edit the real audio or video and cut out the unimportant part or words keeping the transcription to the point and meaningful. It is also time taking because the listener has to figure out what is the meaning of the audio file and what is the extra part. You should be able to retain the integrity of the video or audio file by eliminating the clutter.

  • Intelligent transcription: In this type of transcription, the emotions, false starts and wrongly pronounced words are not transcribed. The written text is straightforward and perfectly describing the meaning of the audio.  This is not the exact transcription of words, but it is the transcription of the main idea without any mistakes.

What do you need to become a freelance transcriptionist?

The world of freelance transcription is growing quickly. You can find multiple job posts looking for freelance transcribers on any freelance platform. With a little effort and practice, you can earn a lot of money by doing transcription.

For a beginner level, you would need the following tools if you want to become a professional transcriptionist:

  1. Computer: The first thing you need is to get a computer or laptop where you can run the audio or video and type the text easily.
  2. Transcription software: For professional audio transcription, you have to download transcription software on your computer that will enable you to listen to the audio efficiently and clearly. The software will also offer you shortcut keys to pause and play the audio and adjust the speed of the audio. You can either play it faster or slower.
  3. Headphones: Loud speakers are not suitable for transcription work. You should get headphones through which you can listen to every word very clearly. By listening through computer speakers, there is always a chance to miss any sound or misunderstand the word.
  4. Internet connection: This is a must. You cannot carry on any freelance work without a reliable Internet connection. It helps in communicating with the client and researching the words while transcribing.

Start freelance transcription during your free time and make yourself productive. It is a very interesting learning opportunity for anybody who wants to earn extra from home.


This post may contain affiliate links. An affiliate means Escribr may earn referral fees if you make a purchase through our link without any extra cost to you. It helps to keep this blog afloat. Thanks for your support!

You are giving back.

Scroll to Top