A transcriber is a person that transcribes recorded information to written form. Companies use transcription to shift the burden of typing from highly paid executives and professionals to lower salaried employees. Executives and professionals, such as doctors, dictate and then a transcriber transcribes the work to document form.
Although most of us are familiar with medical transcribers, transcribers work in a variety of fields and in a variety of circumstances. Many transcribers work in offices while others are self employed, working on a contract basis. Today there is a great deal of work available online for transcribers.
Professional business people will hire a transcriber on contract to transcribe for them. The contract will define the relationship between the professional and the transcriber along with what the rate of pay will be. It will address matters relating to confidentiality and file storage, as well as how you will handle files on your computer. Well laid out contracts are beneficial to everyone.
As a transcriber working independently, accuracy is your number one concern. However, the quicker you can transcribe the better for you so here are some tips to help you.
Make sure your Dictation equipment is in good working order. If you use software on your computer make sure it is operating optimally. Clean and service your Dictation equipment regularly and replace the tapes frequently. Tapes wear and although they will still work, the quality of the recording depletes.
Make sure you are working from a good ergonomic chair to avoid injury and to stay comfortable. You’ll be a lot more productive if you are comfortable. So don’t skimp on the right chair and the proper desk. Remember, if you are self employed and injure yourself you won’t be making any money. Is that enough incentive not to go cheap?
Try to keep your work environment quiet. Fast, accurate transcription depends on it. Speed and accuracy goes up the less ambient noise there is. So although it might not always be possible, it’s definitely worth striving for in order to reduce your error rate and help speed up your completion time.
Speaking of errors – they simply are not acceptable as a transcriber. And some individuals, especially some doctors, are really bad at dictating. So there are a couple of tricks you can try if you cannot understand something. Play with the tone by removing as much bass as you can, and try slowing or speeding the tape up. Sometimes a mixed speed will help catch the word.
Another trick that sometimes works is to listen to the recording through the regular speaker instead of the headphones. If confidentiality isn’t a problem, you can also have someone else listen to see if they can understand it. And sometimes taking a break and coming back makes it seem clearer.
Remember no guessing! If you simply can’t understand a specific word or phrase, you will have to leave a blank in the transcription – noting that the area needs clarification by the dictator. If it’s feasible you can contact the dictator right away asking for clarification.
If the dictator is consistently bad at dictating, tell him or her. You’ll be doing yourself and other transcribers a favor by telling that person they need to improve their skills. And if things don’t get better, as a contract transcriber you can drop the client.
A career as a transcriber can be rewarding and interesting, and the pay can certainly be good.