Legal Transcription: What It Is and How You Can Get Started

how-to and resources legal transcription transcription work from home Aug 09, 2021
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Have you ever heard of general transcription? In general transcription, a transcriber will listen to an audio or video file and convert what is heard into readable text that could be published online, in a blog, in an email, or any other publishable format. General transcription could include content from various fields such as education, news interviews, marketing materials, technology seminars, all sorts of industries. But did you know there is actually an entire field of transcription dedicated entirely to the legal industry? It’s true, and I will explain it all in today’s blog post.


What is legal transcription?

Like general transcription, legal transcription involves listening to audio and video files and converting what is heard into understandable text. However, the one key difference here is the specialized terminology often used in legal settings. That is why it is so important for legal transcriptionists to be trained accurately in these skills. We have actually worked hard to develop our legal transcription course to provide you with all the skills you need to excel in this career (including marketing trainings to help you sign clients)!


Who needs legal transcription?

You might be surprised to hear how many companies are in need of legal transcription help! In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics actually projects this field (and the similar field of court reporting) to grow 9% over the next 10 years. Consider for a moment all the documentation required for legal reports. That is exactly why people like attorneys, court reporters, insurance companies, and research institutions need help with the daily demands of processing and organizing data and documenting materials and content. The material for legal transcriptions could easily include files from depositions, court hearings, witness interviews, or statements. Plus, with the volume of content that many attorneys need to process for their case work, it makes sense for an attorney to invest in transcription to increase productivity or even time stamp crucial statements in the materials for reference in their case.


Why is training important for a legal transcriptionist?

There are many reasons why a person who wishes to work in legal transcription needs sufficient training. 

1. The terminology 

It is widely regarded that “legalese” and legal jargon can be complex to understand without the proper education. This is why a good legal transcriptionist will have the training to be familiar with various terms and confident in including those terms in the transcript. A good legal transcriptionist needs the education to understand the context for these legal proceedings and to grasp the terms they hear to represent the recordings accurately

2. The confidentiality

Because so much of the material used in legal proceedings requires confidentiality, many attorneys and insurance companies will only work with a transcriptionist who understands and agrees to confidentiality terms. If you can show that you have invested in your legal transcription skills and take your career seriously, that builds your credibility in front of potential clients. That is just another way they know they can trust you.

3. The precision

In legal transcription, precise and accurate transcripts are absolutely required. An inaccurate transcript could make or break a case for an attorney. That is why it is so important for attorneys to only work with transcriptionists who have been accurately trained with sufficient experience.

In fact, this is why we have worked so hard to build you a legal transcription course accredited by the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers. Our training is not just an ebook or a few random modules. Our award-winning, highly-regarded certification course will train you in everything you need to provide excellent legal transcription services and build a flexible career for yourself.


Why is legal transcription a great career?

While we have talked about what legal transcription is and why it is important to be trained, I really want to talk about why it is a great career choice! One of the biggest benefits to working as a legal transcriptionist is the “work-from-anywhere” option. You are able to set your own hours and generate income on your own terms. You receive files virtually and transcribe the files with your headphones, keyboard, and computer (which means you can work anywhere with an internet connection and electricity!) Then you deliver to your client a clean, precise transcription of what you heard for them to use in their case files, their reports, or their publications. I recently even talked through all the benefits of starting a legal transcription career at this current time on this interview at the World of Freelancers. 


How much can you make as a legal transcriptionist? 

We can look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics to develop an expectation of what a legal transcriptionist salary looks like. Drawing from their salary information about court reporters, we can conclude that the average salary for legal transcription lands around $60,000. Keep in mind that many freelance transcriptionists are also able to increase their rate and earnings over time as well. Freelance transcriptionists are able to charge more as they increase their skill set. Plus, as you gain experience as a legal transcriptionist, you will develop more efficient processes where you can deliver exceptional transcripts more quickly and earn more in less time. Additionally, as you deliver excellent work, you can easily build great networking and referral connections to gain more clients.


Does this really work for real people?

Yes! A graduate of our course, Joanna, shares more about how she developed confidence in her transcription skills so she can charge more. Our graduate Marsha actually migrated from education to court reporting to legal transcription. Even in Katherine’s case, she came from a diverse background of technical writing, then a switch to massage therapy, then a move into legal transcription. 

Ready to build your own freelance career in legal transcription so you can set your own hours and work from home generating your own income? We want to help you make that happen with a legal transcription career! The best way to get started is starting our free mini-course where you can learn more about transcription and if it is the right career for you.

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