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Tips for Success as a Transcriptionist

Tips for Success as a Transcriptionist


We’re often asked by people how they can break into the transcription industry. What does a new hire or a new grad need to do to be successful? How can someone find their first work at home transcription job? As we celebrate National Medical Transcriptionist Week for 2019, in this blog entry, we offer 11 suggestions for being successful as a speech to text transcriptionist.

  1. Educate Yourself. It’s a common misconception that if you can type fast, you have what it takes to be an at home transcriptionist. Sure, typing quickly helps, but it’s far from the most important skill you’ll need for success. You’ll need an excellent command of the English language, including grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Likewise, if you want to be considered for medical transcription or legal transcription, you’ll need to know the terminology that is unique to those domains. Community colleges and distance learning programs offer educational coursework for those serious about launching a career in transcription.
  2. Never Guess. When you’re not sure, ask. Don’t guess. Guessing can lead to adverse outcomes that can cause a client problems. Authors often depend on the transcript you create to make business decisions, treat a patient, try a case in court or make other critical decisions. Making the wrong guess could have serious consequences. A professional transcription company will not penalize you for flagging items you are unsure how to resolve. Of course, research thoroughly and most times you’ll find the answer, but never guess when in doubt.
  3. Proofread. Attention to detail is everything in transcription. The transcript you produce is a representation of both you and the author you’re creating it for. Often clients use a speech to text transcription service because they are not great with grammar, punctuation or spelling. Still, they need to project a polished image with any document that has their name attached to it. These authors depend on you to help them manage their professional reputations.
  4. Research. Search engines are your friend. For example, if you don’t know how to spell something, type it in Google or Yahoo or Bing the best way you can. Even when you spell it wrong, all three search engines will suggest alternative spellings that may lead you to the answer you are seeking. Additionally, print references that you will use consistently should be part of your library.
  5. Review Feedback. Professional speech to text transcription companies will provide their transcriptionists with regular feedback. Feedback is intended to help transcriptionists avoid repetitive errors and expand their fund of knowledge. Make sure to review your feedback daily and ask questions when you don’t understand or agree with something. Feedback should spur a two-way conversation between the transcriptionist and the transcription company.
  6. Be Adaptable. The transcription industry is one of rapid change. Stay up-to-date on industry news. For instance, in recent years, speech recognition technology has transformed the industry. It’s being leveraged to reduce costs and speed turnaround times. Likewise, be open to new types of transcription work. For instance, if you’ve only done medical transcription, consider expanding your repertoire to non-medical interview transcription or focus group transcription. While change can be unnerving, being open to new technology and new approaches to working can open you to even greater career opportunities.
  7. Communicate. When something isn’t working well, talk to your point of contact at the transcription company. A professional transcription company will often work with you while you navigate a challenging situation. Likewise, if you see a way to improve something, speak up. Some of the best ideas come from transcriptionists. Transcriptionists are often the first to identify risks or make suggestions that help make things better for everyone.
  8. Be Safe Online. Make sure you protect yourself against cyber threats. Install antivirus software and keep it updated. Likewise, install other software updates as your computer prompts you. Your computer is the link to your livelihood, so make sure you keep it healthy at all times. For security purposes, it’s not advisable to allow other members of your household to use the same computer that you use to do your work. Likewise, be diligent about changing your passwords regularly, and use a VPN if you ever need to work outside your regular Wi-Fi network.
  9. Use Professional Tools. Invest in a professional-grade headset from a company like or HTH Engineering. Quality headphones will not only enable you to hear clearly, but they will also help you do the best job you can and stay comfortable. Since you’ll be listening to audio files for many hours a day, your job will only be made easier when you invest in a professional headset. A quality keyboard, desk, and chair are essential for proper ergonomics as well. Make sure your workspace is well-lit too.
  10. Designate a Workspace. To be successful as an at home transcriptionist, you need to have a clearly defined place to do your job. Working from the couch or the kitchen table won’t cut it. You need a space that’s yours and is intended for extended work periods. If you have other members in your household, make sure your workspace is a quiet place where you can close the door, concentrate, and be free from distractions. Others should recognize that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should be disturbed while you’re transcribing.
  11. Relax. It’s impossible to do quality work when you’re consistently stressed. Spend time with your family and friends or just with yourself if you’re more introverted. Whatever brings you joy in life, make time for it. When you tend to your personal life, the joy you derive from your non-work activities will spill-over into your professional sphere. A relaxed transcriptionist is a more productive transcriptionist.

You perhaps have more tips and thoughts on how to be successful in the transcription industry. We’d love to hear them. Leave your comments below.

Automated Transcription Services – What should you consider?

Automated Transcription Services – What should you consider?

Automated speech to text transcription services are starting to gain more attention. They offer rapid turnaround time at a low cost. This can be attractive to clients that have audio or video files that need to be transcribed. When you don’t have the time or expertise to type the recordings yourself, an automated transcription service seems like a logical solution. But what should you consider before you upload your files through a web portal for transcription?

Transcription Data Security

If your recordings contain sensitive patient data, criminal justice information or confidential research, it’s imperative to take time to vet the speech to text transcription company. For instance, have they taken into account HIPAA, CJIS, and GDPR? Are they willing to sign a Business Associate Agreement? Do their transcriptionists undergo background checks? Who will have access to your data? Will it be encrypted in transit and while at rest? If the transcription company doesn’t have qualified answers to these questions, proceed with caution. Data mishandling and security incidents could put you and other stakeholders at risk.

Speech to Text Accuracy

When you’re a reporter facing a tight deadline or a university with a large transcription project, uploading your video or audio files for processing through an automated speech recognition engine can seem like a great solution on the surface. But what about the output? How accurate will the final transcript be? Transcripts produced by human typists are often upwards of 99% accurate. However, automated speech recognition technology can’t match this level of accuracy. Although speech recognition technology has improved over the years, it still leaves much to be desired. For example, speech engines make contextual errors that human transcriptionists are professionally trained to avoid.

Transcript Editing Time

 If you decide to use an automated speech to text transcription company, and you receive back 25 or 100 or 1000 pages of material, will you have the time to review every line of text carefully? Will you realistically be able to spend the hours necessary to compare the computer-generated text against the original audio file? Depending on how busy you are, this may not be realistic. When using an automated transcription service, it’s essential to factor in additional time to review the transcripts because speech engines are prone to making errors.

While it’s natural to want things rapidly, inexpensively, and of excellent quality, automated transcription companies are unable to deliver on all three objectives. And, if security is a consideration for your data, using an automated transcription service may be too risky. You can undoubtedly get your documents quickly and at a bargain price with an automated transcription service, but you will still need to budget extra time to review the transcripts carefully to ensure accuracy. After all, if you depend on quality transcripts to inform your decision making, inaccurate data can lead to adverse outcomes.

About Athreon Transcription

Athreon’s speech to text transcription services combine advanced speech recognition technology with the expertise of professional human editors. Our hybrid approach to speech to text conversion and our stringent security and quality standards ensure that transcripts are produced quickly, accurately, and securely. For more information about Athreon’s transcription services, contact us at 800.935.0973.



Are You Being Safe Online?

Are You Being Safe Online?


Cyber attacks happen daily all over the world. Sadly, all of us are potential victims. This cyberthreat map, which is updated in real-time, helps to illustrate this reality. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to protect against unauthorized access to our sensitive data. Athreon strongly recommends that computer users take the following 3 precautions to help safeguard against cyber threats:

  • Use updated antivirus (AV) software. All the AV solutions below are reputable:
  • Use a virtual private network (VPN). If you are unfamiliar with the privacy and security benefits that VPNs offer, we encourage you to watch this video. Likewise, if you ever work at a location away from your home or office, you should use a VPN. Athreon recommends the VPN solutions below:
  • Use a password manager. Complex passwords can be difficult to memorize, but they’re also more difficult to hack. A password manager can help make managing strong passwords much easier. Athreon recommends the password manager solutions below:
    • LastPass: The free and paid versions are reliable.
    • DashLane: The premium and up versions are reliable. The free version is okay for just perusing, but it is not advisable for long-term use.

Cyber threats are not going away anytime soon. They will only become more prevalent. The best way to protect against a data breach or identity theft is to be proactive. We all need to be vigilant about taking precautionary measures. Remember, the investment you make in cyber security will have a cost, but it will be far less expensive than the costs and potential penalties associated with a data breach.

Athreon goes to great lengths to secure and protect all sensitive data entrusted to its care. Whether your organization must comply with CJIS or HIPAA or other security requirements, we’re prepared to assist. Athreon’s rigorous security protocols can complement any speech to text initiative. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation.