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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is anyone here a freelance work-from-home transcriptionist that has tips on finding good gigs?

As a beginner I'm curious to know...
  • the categories of transcription work
  • typical requirements for transcriptionists
  • your take on transcribing books, videos, podcasts and audios
  • hours - how flexible are they?
  • training - what training have you done and what do you recommend?
  • experience - what experience is suggested to have?
  • scams - how do I avoid being scammed?

7 Posts
I work as an academic editor, and many of my friends do medical transcription. So that would be one category.

Some places require you to install a desktop and/or a transcription platform or equipment. I'm not sure how this installation would work right now--what with the pandemic and safety guidelines.

Medical transcription: the biggest challenge, as far as I hear, is not being able to understand what is being said. Having to play sequences over and over and having to refer to glossaries as you do so to deduce from context. I guess this might still hold for other types of transcribing jobs.

Hours - Depends on turn around times and how flexible your project managers are in terms of accommodating deadline extensions. I don't have much leeway here as an editor. My friends say it's a bit of a mixed bag.

Finally, one requires very good writing and editing skills. This is a big factor in terms of deciding your hourly rates. Some people disagree, but having a background in editing helps IMO.

That said, I might prefer editing jobs (as opposed to transcription jobs) if my writing and editing skills are really good. It's a tad easier since you only have to work with manuscripts (as opposed to listening). So if something is illegible, it's easier to flag, easier to address with a comment.

Most of my friends were/are involved with Cactus--if I'm not wrong, their roles here had to do with medical writing/editing. Not sure if this involved transcription. Also, the company is based in India. If you are a native English speaker it's easier to negotiate hourly rates. Else, you might not really have much bargaining power.

I considered branching into transcribing, but editing is more my cup of tea. There is this slight problem when it comes to editing, though. You might not always get assignments from your areas of expertise. And you can't decline more than x number of assignments. So you might find yourself accepting difficult assignments. I find it especially irksome to deal with statistics-based manuscripts. Here are some resources I use to make editing slightly easier: 1. Style guides for scientific writing; 2. basic, introductory accounts of z-scores and chi-squared analyses (you won't believe how many of the papers I get focus on these aspects. this is one account of the z-score formula I find helpful).

I think this sort of self help is quite difficult to practice if you're transcribing.

Stay safe! Hope this helps! :)
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