What Is Transcription? A Day In The Life of a Transcriptionist

A job in transcription is a great work from home opportunity. But what exactly does a transcriptionist do? What is transcription? What am I expected to do each day?

Transcription jobs can vary wildly and a lot depends upon the company that you contract with. But the basics remain the same. It can be very interesting. You get to hear different stories every day. Or it can be trudging through business meetings. But for the most part, I enjoy it. Though it is not for everyone.

Merriam-Websters Definition: What is Transcription?

Transcription | Definition of Transcription by Merriam-Webster
Transcription definition is – an act, process, or instance of transcribing. How to use transcription in a sentence.

Audio transcription is the act (some may call it an art) of listening to a recorded conversation and documenting the words that are spoken. Sounds easy, right?

Transcription is a skill that is developed over time. The ability to capture nuances in speech and translate them to paper is one that takes a keen ear and occasionally a good deal of patience. 

Here’s a look further into a day in the life of a remote audio transcriptionist:

Transcription Diary: Good Morning, Vietnam

I had my alarm set for early this morning. I had a file due at 10:00 a.m. that I hadn’t been able to complete last night, and I wanted to make sure it was finished, edited, and sent in before the deadline.

It had taken me a bit longer than it usually does to transcribe the audio for that transcription. The speaker was an older man who mumbled. I had to rewind and listen again in several spots when he spoke. Accuracy is an important part of the job.

But once you got used to the candor of his speech his story was amazing! He was a Vietnam veteran being interviewed for some sort of book or article I suppose. The story he told took you back in time, you almost felt like you were fighting with him. The emotion in his voice nearly made me cry in some parts.

I finished the file around 9:00, sent it in, then stepped into the kitchen to grab some breakfast. Working with a rumbling stomach makes it difficult to understand what speakers are saying.

What is transcription? Chaos.

I got started on my next assignment which was a focus group. Oh, man, focus groups can be more than a little challenging. Keeping track of 12 people can be a lot, especially when they are all talking over one another to be heard.

To make things a little more complicated, the instant messaging system my agency uses won’t stop going off. As I’m trying to keep track of all these speakers I’m getting messages from my editor going over the formatting of a file I had turned in yesterday, the sales rep asking if I can take on a few files that are due in a few days, and my manager asking me to pick up an urgent same day file.

Sometimes it’s tough to keep them all straight. Too many voices!

Urgent Transcription Emergency

Of course, I can pick up the rush job, I tell my manager. Rush jobs pay much more per audio minute. She gives me the details. It’s a long one. Over two hours. And they need it done by tonight. No problem, I tell her. Just give me a few minutes to get ready for a long day of typing.

One thing I have learned is that it is important to take a break once and a while. I take a walk around the block and stretch my legs. Come back inside, grab some lunch, and make sure I have a snack ready to go for later. It’s going to be a long day of typing.

What is Transcription? A job full of stories.

Fortunately, this is a transcription with only two speakers. Wonderful, that will make things go a lot smoother. It’s also about the story of a woman who grew up in China, so the accent is a little tough. But she is engaging, and time flys away like my fingers.

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Lauren is a work from home Transcriptionist and loves the freedom freelancing brings her. She is currently learning about web design and graphic design and hopes to branch out into branding/brand management. In her free time, she makes her own jewelry.

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