Common Myths About Becoming a General Transcriptionist

general transcription Apr 30, 2024
Common Myths About Becoming a General Transcriptionist

If you search online, you’ll find a LOT of information about becoming a general transcriptionist.

Unfortunately, a lot of this information is misinformation. While I’d like to tell you that this misinformation is just an honest misunderstanding of what a career as a general transcriptionist actually entails, I’m afraid that most of it is generated by training companies who just want your money.

Transcription is challenging work, but you can train from home and work from home or anywhere you have access to a computer with an internet connection. It is not, however, a get-rich-quick-while-laying-around situation. You will have to train and practice before you can begin to enjoy the benefits of a work-at-home career as a general transcriptionist.

Myth #1:  General Transcriptionists just need to type really fast

Being a fast typist is definitely PART of the skill set required to become proficient as a general transcriptionist, but it isn’t the only skill required. In addition to excellent typing skills, you will need:

  • An above-average grasp of English grammar and punctuation
  • To be highly skilled in using word processing software
  • To be highly skilled in using the internet
  • To have the ability to sit for long periods of time
  • To be self-motivated and self-disciplined 

Myth #2: General Transcriptionists Need Little or No Training

This particular myth seems to be the most common. I don’t know how or why this one got started, but nothing could be further from the truth. No matter how great of a typist you are, you are going to have to train before you can begin a career in general transcription. General transcription may take slightly less training than legal or medical transcription, but you still need to train. It’s more than “listen and type.” There are so many variables involved with the types of work produced by general transcriptionists. Training is essential. And no, a course offering three sample exercises is definitely not enough! 

Myth #3: General Transcriptionists Will Be Replaced with Speech Recognition Technology

Quite the opposite is true! Yes, speech recognition has been around for some time already, and yet, it still isn’t able to transcribe audio to text with any acceptable degree of accuracy. When you’re dealing with multiple speakers, as we often do, you can forget about it altogether. It just doesn’t work. Period. There is now, and for the foreseeable future, a need for human beings to perform transcription services. 

Myth #4: The Popularity of Video Will Replace the Need for General Transcriptionists

Again, this is completely untrue and, in fact, the opposite is true. The increase in video popularity has only increased the opportunities available for qualified transcriptionists! Why? Because the search engines cannot index video. Anyone who is doing anything online, whether they be marketing, training, or interviewing, needs the written text to accompany their video presentations.

Myth #5: Most General Transcription Work is Being Outsourced Overseas

Some work is being outsourced. There’s no question about it. People are looking for cheap labor. But, with over 30 years of experience, I can assure you that anyone who does outsource is almost always disappointed with the results they receive. There just isn’t any way that a non-native English speaker can understand and transcribe all the nuances of the English language. 

Myth #6: General Transcription is for Women

What? Ridiculous! More and more men are coming onboard every single day. Where once any type of occupation that required “typing skills” was considered secretarial in nature and performed almost solely by women, that is no longer the case. The change in our economy and lifestyles have lured many men to look outside the box for employment. It’s an open playing field for both sexes. 

Myth #7: General Transcription is a Low Stress Occupation

Ummm… not really. Yes, GTs enjoy the many benefits of working our own schedules and from the comfort of wherever we’d like, but get a gig with some rough audio and you might want to pull your hair out. When I first started, I had this crazy idea that typing was a very “Zen” activity. Ha! It might be if you were just typing while listening to some meditation music or something, but that is not what we do. You must have a very good ear and the ability to focus. Some of the garbled language that comes out of our headphones can be a challenge – to say the least.


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