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Working from Home in General Transcription

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 21, 2008 · 67 comments

I mentioned recently that I was an accidental stay-at-home mom and found myself in the situation of trying to find a flexible, child-friendly work-at-home position.

Through much trial and error, I finally settled on general transcription as a means for providing supplemental income for our family. I've had several people email me about how they could find out more information about becoming a transcriptionist, so I wanted to share a little bit about the industry with you all.

General transcription is a wonderful opportunity for moms to look into.  Whereas many of the traditional home-based business opportunities require significant cash to start, you can get started doing general transcription for a very minimal investment.

In the three years that I've been doing this, I've been able to grow my income beyond what I ever thought was possible for an at-home position. The downturn in the economy directly impacted my family long before recent developments, and transcription allowed me to support my family on my income alone through my husband's intermittent layoffs over the past two years.  While it’s a lot of hard work and definitely not a “get rich quick scheme,” I feel so blessed to have this wonderful source of income that provides me with the opportunity to stay at home with my five children.

Being a work-at-home mom is difficult at times; however, the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks for me.  Staying home to raise my children is only one of a number of benefits that transcription can afford.

Others include:

  • The hours and workload are flexible.
  • There is good – if not great – earnings potential.
  • I'm always learning something new.
  • It is a growing field that is not showing signs of slowing down.

While the benefits are many, success in this career will require hard work and perseverance on your part. The most common misconception that a lot of people have about transcription is that the only skill you need is the ability to type. The truth is that there’s a lot more than that involved. In order to have a successful career as a transcriptionist, you need to be able to listen, think and type at the same time. Additionally, one of the most important skills needed is to be able to actually take the spoken word and transcribe it in a way that fits grammar rules for written language so that it actually makes sense to the person reading it.

Questions to ask yourself if you’re considering transcription:

  • Do you enjoy reading, and do you keep up with current events?
  • Do you have a good grasp of basic grammar and spelling, or if not, are you willing to work hard to hone these skills?
  • Are you detail-oriented, and do you have the ability to follow instructions well?
  • Are you a self-starter, and do you have the drive to work independently with minimal supervision?
  • Do you take pride in your sense of professionalism and meeting your commitments in full?

If you’re just starting to consider transcription as a career, this may seem overwhelming to you, and that is not my intention.  It’s important to know that while you can make a decent living doing this work, it is not “easy money.” It takes a lot of hard work to develop the skills needed to succeed, and you must be committed to developing those skills or you will most likely give up before you reach the point where you are happy with your earnings.

Is transcription right for you? I can’t determine that for you. I can only tell you that after much research, this is the career that works best for me. But the benefits of this career are plentiful, and with dedication and hard work, there’s a good chance it’s the opportunity you’re looking for.

Getting started is fairly easy. Check out these action steps and/or consider purchasing our General Transcription 101: Your Complete Guide to Getting Started ebook package!

This article was adapted from a prior article written by the founders of Transcription Talk, Mandi Ehman, Tara Kuczykowski, and Shaina Olmanson.

{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim October 21, 2008 at 4:32 pm

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Kim´s last blog post..Just received my second Blog Award!!!!

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2 Kim October 21, 2008 at 12:32 pm

You just received an award, check out my blog for your reward.

Kim´s last blog post..Just received my second Blog Award!!!!

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3 Diane October 21, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I can't wait to see what you have in store for your next post.

Diane´s last blog post..Great Way to Support Your Charity by Searching the Internet

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4 StacyG October 21, 2008 at 5:10 pm

I can't wait to read the next post about how to get started. I always thought it took a significant investment to get started. Thanks for sharing this information.

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5 Diane October 21, 2008 at 1:10 pm

I can't wait to see what you have in store for your next post.

Diane´s last blog post..Great Way to Support Your Charity by Searching the Internet

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6 StacyG October 21, 2008 at 1:10 pm

I can't wait to read the next post about how to get started. I always thought it took a significant investment to get started. Thanks for sharing this information.

Reply

7 Kristen October 21, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I have looked over your transcription 101 site several times and thought it sounded like a great opportunity. However, my husband was not as enthused. How difficult (or easy) is securing a contract?

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8 Kristen October 21, 2008 at 6:33 pm

I have looked over your transcription 101 site several times and thought it sounded like a great opportunity. However, my husband was not as enthused. How difficult (or easy) is securing a contract?

Reply

9 Jessica October 21, 2008 at 6:57 pm

What a coincidence! I've been trying to find out some good info on medical transcription so I can't wait to see what you have to say about getting started with transcription... We need something to help pay bills, but I stay home with our daughter (wouldn't make sense for me to find part-time work just to pay for childcare). Sounds like this might actually be something I can do! Thanks!

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10 Jessica October 21, 2008 at 2:57 pm

What a coincidence! I've been trying to find out some good info on medical transcription so I can't wait to see what you have to say about getting started with transcription... We need something to help pay bills, but I stay home with our daughter (wouldn't make sense for me to find part-time work just to pay for childcare). Sounds like this might actually be something I can do! Thanks!

Reply

11 Deal Seeking Mom October 21, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Thanks for your interest, ladies!

Kristen, that's a valid concern. Obviously it's different for everyone, but if you have the drive and determination to do it, I'm confident that you can. I can tell you that it took Mandi, Shaina, and I all about a month from when we started to secure a contract. We didn't have a resource that walked us through the process though.

We're in the process of sending out a questionnaire to those who have already purchased the book for feedback, and one thing we ask is if they have secured a contract yet and how long it took. I'll be happy to share those results as we receive them.

Jessica, medical transcription is an excellent independent too, but you will want to research schools carefully. There are only a few that are highly regarded by companies in the industry.

Good luck to all that give transcription a shot!

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12 Deal Seeking Mom October 21, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Thanks for your interest, ladies!

Kristen, that's a valid concern. Obviously it's different for everyone, but if you have the drive and determination to do it, I'm confident that you can. I can tell you that it took Mandi, Shaina, and I all about a month from when we started to secure a contract. We didn't have a resource that walked us through the process though.

We're in the process of sending out a questionnaire to those who have already purchased the book for feedback, and one thing we ask is if they have secured a contract yet and how long it took. I'll be happy to share those results as we receive them.

Jessica, medical transcription is an excellent independent too, but you will want to research schools carefully. There are only a few that are highly regarded by companies in the industry.

Good luck to all that give transcription a shot!

Reply

13 Kara October 22, 2008 at 4:37 am

How do you see the profession of medical transcription in the coming years as all medical information legally has to be electronic? Is there somewhere you see the profession can transition to?

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14 Kara October 22, 2008 at 12:37 am

How do you see the profession of medical transcription in the coming years as all medical information legally has to be electronic? Is there somewhere you see the profession can transition to?

Reply

15 chali October 22, 2008 at 12:10 pm

nice post ! thanks

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16 chali October 22, 2008 at 8:10 am

nice post ! thanks

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17 Frugal Carol October 22, 2008 at 2:31 pm

I also work from home for a Dr office. Our office is due to go paperless in 2009. I think this will change the world for many employees.

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18 Frugal Carol October 22, 2008 at 10:31 am

I also work from home for a Dr office. Our office is due to go paperless in 2009. I think this will change the world for many employees.

Reply

19 Deal Seeking Mom October 22, 2008 at 5:41 pm

That's an excellent question. I don't think it will affect the transcription industry at all, because right now all my work is done electronically. They send me digital files to transcribe, and I send them back as a Word document. I don't have a hard copy of anything.

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20 Deal Seeking Mom October 22, 2008 at 1:41 pm

That's an excellent question. I don't think it will affect the transcription industry at all, because right now all my work is done electronically. They send me digital files to transcribe, and I send them back as a Word document. I don't have a hard copy of anything.

Reply

21 Pottery October 22, 2008 at 6:11 pm

My mother is semi-retired and has been typing throughout her whole career. She's looking for something to do now from her house. I'm going to recommend that she check this out.

Also, if you're interested, I’m giving away free bakeware on my blog. Comment or link to me to enter the contest and win 4 Handmade Pottery Apple Bakers valued at $36. http://laneypottery.com/2008/10/21/win-pottery-apple-bakers/ Thanks!

Pottery´s last blog post..Win a Set of Four Pottery Apple Bakers

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22 Pottery October 22, 2008 at 2:11 pm

My mother is semi-retired and has been typing throughout her whole career. She's looking for something to do now from her house. I'm going to recommend that she check this out.

Also, if you're interested, I’m giving away free bakeware on my blog. Comment or link to me to enter the contest and win 4 Handmade Pottery Apple Bakers valued at $36. http://laneypottery.com/2008/10/21/win-pottery-apple-bakers/ Thanks!

Pottery´s last blog post..Win a Set of Four Pottery Apple Bakers

Reply

23 Kaye October 22, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Great discription of your job! Too often people portray SAH work as "simple, flexible, wonderful, why-aren't-you-doing-this" but you gave a positive, yet realistic representation of what your job entails. Great for you!

Kaye´s last blog post..Tuesday Free For All

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24 Kaye October 22, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Great discription of your job! Too often people portray SAH work as "simple, flexible, wonderful, why-aren't-you-doing-this" but you gave a positive, yet realistic representation of what your job entails. Great for you!

Kaye´s last blog post..Tuesday Free For All

Reply

25 Cynthia October 24, 2008 at 2:05 am

I have to ask about this line from the article:

"one of the most important skills needed is to be able to actually take the spoken word and transcribe it in a way that fits grammar rules for written language so that it actually makes sense to the person reading it."

I'm very surprised to see this because the point of transcribing is NOT to change the person's words. I am a reporter and I hire people to transcribe my interviews. I've had to let people go because they changed sections instead of typing what they hear. In the reporter biz, it's NOT okay to change quotes. I can't imagine any circumstance, except perhaps transcribing from dictation where you'd want to correct the grammar or the sentence structure.

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26 Cynthia October 23, 2008 at 10:05 pm

I have to ask about this line from the article:

"one of the most important skills needed is to be able to actually take the spoken word and transcribe it in a way that fits grammar rules for written language so that it actually makes sense to the person reading it."

I'm very surprised to see this because the point of transcribing is NOT to change the person's words. I am a reporter and I hire people to transcribe my interviews. I've had to let people go because they changed sections instead of typing what they hear. In the reporter biz, it's NOT okay to change quotes. I can't imagine any circumstance, except perhaps transcribing from dictation where you'd want to correct the grammar or the sentence structure.

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27 Deal Seeking Mom October 24, 2008 at 2:40 am

You're correct, Cynthia. I wasn't recommending that you actually change what the person says. But you do have to have a knack for adapting the rules of grammar to the way people speak. This can be very difficult even for those that have a good grasp on grammar and punctuation.

Here's just an example of how a simple comma can dramatically alter the meaning of a sentence. I'm sure you know just, but I just want to illustrate it for my readers.

Let’s eat, Daddy.
Let’s eat daddy.

Additionally, verbatim transcription has different meanings from company to company throughout the transcription industry. For some companies verbatim is exactly that, verbatim with all ums, uhs, stutters, etc., basically every sound that comes out of a speaker's mouth. But for other companies, their version of verbatim is to leave out the uhs, ums, stutters, and to clean it up a bit by changing "gonna" to "going to" and so forth. It's important for both parties entering into a transcription agreement to be clear in exactly what their expectations are.

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28 Deal Seeking Mom October 23, 2008 at 10:40 pm

You're correct, Cynthia. I wasn't recommending that you actually change what the person says. But you do have to have a knack for adapting the rules of grammar to the way people speak. This can be very difficult even for those that have a good grasp on grammar and punctuation.

Here's just an example of how a simple comma can dramatically alter the meaning of a sentence. I'm sure you know just, but I just want to illustrate it for my readers.

Let’s eat, Daddy.
Let’s eat daddy.

Additionally, verbatim transcription has different meanings from company to company throughout the transcription industry. For some companies verbatim is exactly that, verbatim with all ums, uhs, stutters, etc., basically every sound that comes out of a speaker's mouth. But for other companies, their version of verbatim is to leave out the uhs, ums, stutters, and to clean it up a bit by changing "gonna" to "going to" and so forth. It's important for both parties entering into a transcription agreement to be clear in exactly what their expectations are.

Reply

29 Cynthia October 24, 2008 at 6:36 am

Excellent explanation, and yes, you are correct. Thanks for making that clear.

I brought it up because I had one transcriptionist who liked to paraphrase what she was typing up and even include her own personal asides such as (that's funny) in the transcription. Yikes!

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30 Cynthia October 24, 2008 at 2:36 am

Excellent explanation, and yes, you are correct. Thanks for making that clear.

I brought it up because I had one transcriptionist who liked to paraphrase what she was typing up and even include her own personal asides such as (that's funny) in the transcription. Yikes!

Reply

31 Deal Seeking Mom October 25, 2008 at 6:19 am

Wow, that is just crazy and definitely not professional. I'm sorry to hear you had such a poor experience! I can sincerely assure you that I know plenty of excellent and capable transcriptionists. I'd be happy to refer you should you need work done in the future!

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32 Deal Seeking Mom October 25, 2008 at 2:19 am

Wow, that is just crazy and definitely not professional. I'm sorry to hear you had such a poor experience! I can sincerely assure you that I know plenty of excellent and capable transcriptionists. I'd be happy to refer you should you need work done in the future!

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33 Lisa November 6, 2008 at 4:44 pm

I'm very interested in transcription, I just need to figure out how to get into it (be it as a part-time opportunity for extra income, or as a full-time job that allows me to be home with my family). I'm off to read more about it!

Lisa´s last blog post..So which way will this thing go?

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34 Lisa November 6, 2008 at 12:44 pm

I'm very interested in transcription, I just need to figure out how to get into it (be it as a part-time opportunity for extra income, or as a full-time job that allows me to be home with my family). I'm off to read more about it!

Lisa´s last blog post..So which way will this thing go?

Reply

35 Edwin January 2, 2009 at 8:40 am

Hi everyone, I'm very much interested in transcription work and I'm inviting offers from anyone wishing to outsource his or her transcription jobs. I have over 8 years transcription experience and I'm confidently sure that I am the best value that money can buy and willing to work within your budget. My email is edu76ers@gmail.com. Thanks.

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36 Edwin January 2, 2009 at 3:40 am

Hi everyone, I'm very much interested in transcription work and I'm inviting offers from anyone wishing to outsource his or her transcription jobs. I have over 8 years transcription experience and I'm confidently sure that I am the best value that money can buy and willing to work within your budget. My email is edu76ers@gmail.com. Thanks.

Reply

37 Diana February 3, 2009 at 1:49 am

I have been working at home as a GT for three years now. I started out taking the medical transcription course through Career Step. I HIGHLY recommend it. I decided that medical transcription was not for me and sought out some GT clients. I only retain one client currently. I made about $7,000 last year doing GT. Hopefully that starts all of you out with a little extra info.

Also, WAHM.com has a transcription message board. If you're looking into becoming a transcriptionist, go there and read, read, read. There is a wealth of great information there, especially for beginners, but there are also client specific discussions and information about crummy-to-work for transcription companies.

Diana´s last blog post..Encouragement

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38 Diana February 2, 2009 at 8:49 pm

I have been working at home as a GT for three years now. I started out taking the medical transcription course through Career Step. I HIGHLY recommend it. I decided that medical transcription was not for me and sought out some GT clients. I only retain one client currently. I made about $7,000 last year doing GT. Hopefully that starts all of you out with a little extra info.

Also, WAHM.com has a transcription message board. If you're looking into becoming a transcriptionist, go there and read, read, read. There is a wealth of great information there, especially for beginners, but there are also client specific discussions and information about crummy-to-work for transcription companies.

Diana´s last blog post..Encouragement

Reply

39 Saph @ Walk With Me July 7, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Wow, didn't know you were a transcriptionist. I just happened upon this post while searching out GT info. I'm currently taking a MT course since I'm being laid off in 2 weeks and have been wanting to work from home for the longest. I have been interested in MT the last year or so but never pursued it. Now that I'm being laid off, there's no better time than the present. :)
Are you still working as a transcriptionist along with working your blog as I know you've got to be quite busy with your blog. :)

Saph @ Walk With Me´s last blog post..The Sixth Picture Game

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40 Saph @ Walk With Me July 7, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Wow, didn't know you were a transcriptionist. I just happened upon this post while searching out GT info. I'm currently taking a MT course since I'm being laid off in 2 weeks and have been wanting to work from home for the longest. I have been interested in MT the last year or so but never pursued it. Now that I'm being laid off, there's no better time than the present. :)
Are you still working as a transcriptionist along with working your blog as I know you've got to be quite busy with your blog. :)

Saph @ Walk With Me´s last blog post..The Sixth Picture Game

Reply

41 Tara Kuczykowski July 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Hi Saph! No, I haven't done anything since I helped out with transcribing BlissDom in February. It's just too difficult to balance everything now, but it's a really great option for moms that want to work from home and are willing to work hard.

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42 Tara Kuczykowski July 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Hi Saph! No, I haven't done anything since I helped out with transcribing BlissDom in February. It's just too difficult to balance everything now, but it's a really great option for moms that want to work from home and are willing to work hard.

Reply

43 Margaret Ryder August 18, 2009 at 11:58 pm

Margaret Ryder
301 Wager Lane
Covington, VA 24426
5409623341

Associates in Secretarial
85 wpm typing skills

Currently working for an online media site transcribing stream lined videos for an online media site from my home.

Currently working for a phone voice to text company.

I have worked in the past for 15 years as an office manager before the birth of twins.

Please e-mail me if you have any further questions.

I am seeking to replace the above two work from home jobs or add to them. Any advice for similar work from home general transcription would be great.

I also bought a Logitech Headset in case I would be hired as a phone agent.

Thank you for your time.

Reply

44 Margaret Ryder August 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Margaret Ryder
301 Wager Lane
Covington, VA 24426
5409623341

Associates in Secretarial
85 wpm typing skills

Currently working for an online media site transcribing stream lined videos for an online media site from my home.

Currently working for a phone voice to text company.

I have worked in the past for 15 years as an office manager before the birth of twins.

Please e-mail me if you have any further questions.

I am seeking to replace the above two work from home jobs or add to them. Any advice for similar work from home general transcription would be great.

I also bought a Logitech Headset in case I would be hired as a phone agent.

Thank you for your time.

Reply

45 D.V.V.V.S.MURTHY September 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Dear sir,
I am interested in General Transcription/legal transcription work. Can you provide the details of those sites which are offering this kind of work on a suitable remuneration basis without charging any amount. If yes, then please send me the details to my above mentioed email address.

Reply

46 D.V.V.V.S.MURTHY September 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

Dear sir,
I am interested in General Transcription/legal transcription work. Can you provide the details of those sites which are offering this kind of work on a suitable remuneration basis without charging any amount. If yes, then please send me the details to my above mentioed email address.

Reply

47 Guia Angeli Madelo November 3, 2009 at 1:40 pm

hi! i'm Guia Angeli Madelo...I am from Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines...I am a mother...I am only 17...My baby is 2months old...can you help me on how to start GT? please...thanks and God bless

Reply

48 Guia Angeli Madelo November 3, 2009 at 9:40 am

hi! i'm Guia Angeli Madelo...I am from Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines...I am a mother...I am only 17...My baby is 2months old...can you help me on how to start GT? please...thanks and God bless

Reply

49 Mike January 27, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Hello,

We are looking for independent transcriptionist to help us process transciption work . please email your resume to support@zodiacinfo.net

Reply

50 Mike January 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Hello,

We are looking for independent transcriptionist to help us process transciption work . please email your resume to support@zodiacinfo.net

Reply

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