Instead of hearing from me today, we're featuring guest writer Chloe Brittain of Opal Transcription Services! Chloe is a freelance writer and transcriptionist, plus she's the owner of Opal Transcription Services, an audio transcription company serving clients in North America and abroad. You can connect with her on Twitter: @opaltranscripts.
Chloe is going to share with you the many different transcription clients out there that need your services. (Hint: They're not just medical!)
Take it away, Chloe!
I started my work-from-home career as a medical transcriptionist (MT). I enjoyed the work, but after developing a repetitive strain injury that lasted months, my opportunities to work as an MT became limited. The software platforms that my clients were using weren't compatible with the speech recognition software that I now relied on to transcribe medical reports. I started looking at other options, and I discovered the area of work dubbed "general transcription."
Transcription work is usually classified as one of three things: medical, legal, or general. These classifications are somewhat misleading because they imply there's not a lot of demand for transcriptionists outside of healthcare and legal, so we refer to transcription in other industries collectively as "general" transcription.
While there's still demand for medical transcriptionists, the industry has changed over the years. Particularly, there's concern among veteran MTs that widespread adoption of voice recognition (VR) editing will continue to result in diminishing pay rates.
In the general transcription industry, however, VR poses no real threat. Unlike healthcare institutions, most organizations and individuals that use transcriptionists don't process huge amounts of sensitive audio on an automatic basis, so it doesn't make sense for them to invest in a VR setup and hire an army of human editors to clean up the results.
Nowadays, I do mostly general transcription in addition to my other freelance work. That's because -- largely due to the explosion of digital media -- the general and legal transcription industries are thriving.
To prove it, I've put together a list of 19 different types of clients that use transcriptionists, other than healthcare organizations and medical transcription service organizations (MTSOs). These are based on the most common types of general transcription projects I've worked on over the years. I've also included more specialized types of transcription, such as legal transcription, because of the consistent demand for this type of work.
So here it is -- your list of prospective transcription clients!
Because of the wide variety of recorded material produced by legal professionals, legal transcription offers a big opportunity for qualified transcriptionists -- and it won't be going away any time soon! Due to the specialized nature of legal transcription, it can offer higher pay.
As a legal transcriptionist, you'll transcribe material like depositions, interrogations, and hearings, as well as general legal correspondence like memos and letters.
Law enforcement transcription, also known as police transcription, is another specialized type of transcription. Among the material to be transcribed are witness statements, police reports, victim interviews, investigations, interrogations, wiretaps, and accident reports.
As with legal transcription, it's important to be knowledgeable about legal processes to be a successful law enforcement transcriptionist. Additionally, a great deal of accuracy is required as transcripts are often required to be strictly verbatim. This is made more challenging due to the difficult nature of much of the audio.
On the plus side, you can command higher rates per audio minute, and there's less competition to land gigs due to the specialized nature of the work.
Insurance professionals often hire qualified typists to produce transcripts of claims investigations. These companies often require transcripts to be strict verbatim because everything must be documented with a high degree of accuracy.
Other material to be transcribed include reports, statements, and victim and witness interviews.
As with legal and law enforcement transcription, insurance transcription requires familiarity with legal terminology.
Companies produce a variety of recorded material for transcription, including board meetings, conference calls, staff trainings, and press conferences.
Apart from insurance agencies, there are many other companies within the financial sector that require transcription services. These include banks, credit card companies, accountancy companies, and stock brokerages, among others.
As a transcriptionist working with financial clients, you'll be transcribing financial reports, earnings calls, seminars, trainings, investor relations, interim results, business surveys, analyst interviews, executive meetings, and so on. You'll be working with numbers often, so attention to detail is particularly important for this type of work.
Market research companies conduct consumer research to assist new product design and improve existing products, create buyer personas, develop marketing strategies, and analyze competition and market trends. They regularly outsource transcription of interviews, focus groups, and phone surveys.
Journalists, PR agencies, and other media professionals regularly conduct interviews that need to be transcribed to produce articles or press releases.
Closely related to journalists are brand storytellers (a.k.a. "brand journalists") and copywriters, who write on behalf of companies. They often conduct interviews with the CEO or other executives, which then need to be transcribed for easy reference. Most journalists absolutely loathe transcribing their own interviews -- but in my opinion, one-on-one interviews are one of the most enjoyable types of transcription!
There are plenty of online communities where you can network with journalists and copywriters, including Facebook groups and LinkedIn.
The public sector generates a lot of material that needs to be documented, including interviews, council meetings, and research.
The entertainment industry, including film, TV, and radio production companies, produces a vast amount of material to be transcribed, such as films, documentaries, radio programs, reality TV, and other television programming. Aside from traditional production houses, there are also many online media companies that produce online videos, podcasts, and webcasts.
Many film companies require special types of transcripts known as as-broadcast scripts, continuity scripts, or post-production scripts. These include dialogue as well as other details like scene descriptions, music and sound effects, character emotions, actions, accents, camera angles, and timecodes. Some transcription services specialize in creating these types of transcripts.
Additionally, there's demand in the entertainment industry for transcriptionists who can produce captions and subtitles.
Home inspectors often dictate property inspection reports for subsequent transcription. Other common real estate transcriptions include legal documents, seminars and trainings, and office correspondence.
Professors and academic researchers hire professional typists to create transcripts of lectures, interviews, symposia, and focus groups. Academic transcription requires a lot of research to verify technical terms, but the subject matter can be very interesting.
Master's and PhD students regularly need help transcribing interviews in preparation for dissertations or theses. Pro tip: Students often search for affordably priced transcriptionists on free classified directories like Craigslist (or Kijiji, for Canadians).
Besides universities and colleges, other educational institutions, like primary and secondary schools, often require transcription of classes, focus groups, and staff meetings
Research institutions and think tanks regularly conduct qualitative research in the form of interviews, focus groups, and oral histories. There are also many other types of organizations that undertake research projects, including environmental groups, museums, and arts societies.
Authors often require the transcription of interviews for biographies. A trend has also emerged of authors and solopreneurs dictating their Kindle e-books and having them transcribed afterward. Obviously, this is a very easy type of transcription to do!
The e-learning industry is booming. Websites like Lynda and Udemy offer courses on thousands of subjects, from marketing your business to playing guitar. Top universities are getting in on the action by offering MOOCs (massive open online courses). And, with the help of the many user-friendly online course platforms that are appearing on the market, individuals are creating their own courses as well.
In addition to text, games, animations, and interactive media, the e-learning industry generates tremendous amounts of audio and video -- much of which is sent to typists for transcription and captioning.
The digital marketing industry presents a huge opportunity for freelance transcriptionists, thanks to the growing popularity of content marketing (and particularly video marketing). The proliferation of digital media like video, podcasts, webinars, and livestreams means there's no shortage of material to transcribe.
A rapidly growing offshoot of the digital marketing industry is coaching and personal development -- particularly in the health and wellness, fitness, nutrition, and online business niches. Coaches produce a lot of audio and video material to engage their clients, including seminars, courses, webinars, and livestreams.
Many coaches are very accustomed to working with virtual assistants, so they may have other types of freelance work to pass on to you, such as content writing and editing, social media management, WordPress formatting, and so on.
Events services companies and other businesses often need help transcribing the large amounts of recorded material that are generated at conferences and trade fairs, including panels, lectures, seminars, and Q&A sessions.
Pastors and ministers regularly give sermons for their congregations, which they then sometimes want to repurpose into podcast or text format. These are usually pretty easy to transcribe because they tend to be well-recorded, one-speaker files. That said, pastors often tell anecdotes or quote from Scripture, so it's important to be attentive to punctuation, such as the use of quotes within quotes.
Production agencies are prolific creators of corporate videos, training materials, product demos, documentaries, commercials, and many other types of video content. As the demand for online video increases, so will the need for transcriptionists and captioners.
While video production companies often have administrative staff in-house, many are open to outsourcing. In my experience, production companies make good candidates for cold outreach.
Post-production companies are parallel to video production agencies and handle everything involved in the filmmaking process after the video is shot. Some post-production company websites have a careers page for transcriptionists and captioners, so google around if this is an industry that interests you.
If you're considering a career in transcription and you're not sure where to start, I hope this list helps dispel the idea that medical transcription is the only type of transcription there is. There are many other industries out there that could use your help!
Well, if you had any fear that there aren't enough transcription clients out there, I hope Chloe's post changed your mind. Not only is transcription in demand -- it's in demand in all types of industries!
So now you know what clients you need to target... but do you have the right skills to ensure you do a stellar job for them? Check out our free 7-day mini-course to learn what skills you need and decide if transcription is right for you!
What separates a ho-hum transcriptionist from an excellent one? Is there even a demand for transcription? Who hires transcriptionists?
Can anyone be a transcriptionist?
Get the answers to all these questions and more by enrolling in my free introductory course, Transcription Foundations.
For our legal transcription mini-course, click here.