How This Professional Writer Uses Transcriptionists to Create Articles

I recently had a chance to chat with Michael J. McDermott, President of MJM Editorial services.

Mike specializes in freelance writing and editing for magazine and corporate clients, including articles, white papers, annual reports, POVs, ghostwriting and marketing communication projects.

Some of the major publications he writes for include Ambassador, ANA Magazine, Entrepreneur, and Inc., among many others. He currently edits The Franchise Handbook, a quarterly published by Enterprise Magazines. He's also ghostwritten many articles for professional clients, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Google, IBM, and Key Bank.

You're about to learn exactly how Mike uses transcriptionists to help him in his writing process!

TA: Why do you use transcriptionists?

Mike: The main reason I use transcriptionists is because I just HATE transcribing interviews myself. I don't have the time, I don't have the right equipment, and I don't have the ability that a skilled transcriptionist has. I almost never get reimbursed for the cost of transcription services, but it's worth it to me to pay out-of-pocket for them because, you know, life's just too short to spend a lot of time doing things you hate doing.

TA: What are the advantages of using transcriptionists?

Mike: The big savings for me is time, but that translates into money when my workload is heavy. That's very unpredictable in my business these days. When I get hit with multiple assignments and deadlines close together, then the services of a good, reliable transcriptionist are a great investment for me.

TA: What have your experiences been like using transcriptionists? Are some better than others? Have you had trouble finding good ones?

Mike: I've actually been pretty lucky in that regard. I used the same transcriptionists, a mother and daughter team out in the Midwest, for many years. After the mom retired and the daughter moved on to other ventures, I found Zoom. I liked how well the website was organized and, when I had trouble figuring out how to fill out the form and upload audio files, I got an immediate response to my request for help.

TA: What qualities do you feel are essential for an excellent transcriptionist to possess?

Mike: Accuracy is number one, of course, but honesty is important too. I'd much rather get a transcript with some passages flagged as being unintelligible or inaudible than have the transcriptionist guess at what was said. Reliability is also high on my list. I need to know the transcript will be delivered within the timeframe agreed upon. And it's always nice when the transcriptionist turns out to be a nice person. I've been lucky in that regard as well. ☺

Our Take

I've loved working with Mike over the years!! And you know what? He's not the only professional writer out there who sees the advantage of working with transcriptionists. Mike has made it super clear for us that transcriptionists are in demand and that we are worth the cost. What more proof can we ask for? :-)

Your Turn!

If you're a working transcriptionist, have you worked with professional writers before? If you're a TA student or TA hopeful, how does Mike's interview affect your outlook for your future work as a transcriptionist? Leave me a comment below!

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