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by Transcribing at its Best-The Do's and Dont's of It

I began transcribing when my kids were very small, as it was so hard for me to pay for daycare for a newborn, and a four-year old who was not in kindergarten yet. I began in school taking court reporting, and working for a court reporter after school doing setups, copy paper, and paper (0+1), (0+5), as many copies as were ordered by the attorneys, or whomever wanted copies of the transcripts - at that time it was on a typewriter, so you needed to go through every copy and the original and erase any and all mistakes you made, which made you a great typist, as this was such a tedious job, you tried very hard and learned to be very accurate and to make NO mistakes.

When my kids were born (2 boys) (single mom) - no support checks coming in, no insurance. - I just began calling every court reporter in the City to find out if they had any transcripts or work, or even if their transcribers were overloaded, and needed someone to catch them up, and that wound me up in the Appeals Court typing trials from a VHF-UHF video recorder, and audio tapes - that was much harder for me to type Federal formats- as I usually just did Q & A, depositions.

I also did transcription at home for a court reporter in the City, and then went to work for attorneys for the next 20 years as a Legal Assistant/Paralegal.

I finally went to work for an attorney (criminal), and other places, as my boys were growing up. In 2009, when the financial crisis hit, and I was laid off, I collected unemployment, but realized I didn't want to live on that alone, and once again, started researching transcription in the legal field on the web.

I found that now it was done a totally different way - using audio tapes or files, they were called, but when I realized audio tapes were just the same as the tapes you put into a dictaphone machine, only they are sent via the computer, not you running around town picking up and delivering the transcripts when completed, I found that I could do this again, and it would even be easier this time.

So, I went for it, and applied at several transcriptionist companies online, always, that are not even in the State. I found I had to take a test at some, or my resume spoke for itself, and I didn't even have to take a test, but it was not a speed test, but one for accuracy and to see if you have an ear for this type of work - you really can tell if you do or not, and so can whoever it giving you the test, believe me.

Without a foot pedal, you have no chance of making money at all, as you will need to rewind and listen well to what is being said on the tape over your computer, but you rewind for about a second; no time to use your mouse and rewind that way. And, make sure you have a very quiet place to do this type of work - no distractions - turn your phone off!

I was just hired by a company today. I won't give the name for confidentiality reasons, but I am ready to begin again what I had done years ago. I am hitting that age when it will be nice, after working for 30 years outside of my home, to get moving again inside my home and sit back and type the night's away, as that is what you do. I can't believe how history repeats itself, but at my age, I can still find a job, but this will be great - I can't wait. The only thing I really can say was and is the advantage of not having to wear suits or dress up every day, so I can wear jeans and keep my fingers moving on the keyboard - and at night when I go to bed after that deadline is met, they are pretty sore. Get some good oil to rub on your hands at night when you sleep. This will keep them from cramping up - that's if you really want to make what they are telling you can be made in this type of position, on the internet. You can, but be ready to work every day, six days a week to make that type of money.

It is not what everyone thinks it is: Staying home with an at-home job where you don't have to hustle your you know what off to make money - YOU DO! If you are not the type that utilizes your time, and can put off until tomorrow what you could be doing today - this is not for you at all. It is not as flexible as it may seem to be to some people. You have very, very strict deadlines for completing this work, and it better be accurate.

The only way to make money as a transcriber, medical, legal or any type, is to type, type, type. I have worked with hundreds of transcribers over the years, and we are all the same - fast typists, good listeners, work addicts, deadline freaks, and not worried about our social plans for the weekends. You are paid by the characters you type or by the lines you type, not the page, usually once a month, or every two weeks, and you need very good English, grammar, punctuation, and spelling must be perfectly accurate, or you will get charged back for your mistakes - meaning they will deduct money for any mistakes they find that are your fault, not the Editor, or the dictator.

You need to be a person who is VERY DISCIPLINED as you will have to discipline yourself to work those hours that you would work outside of your home - so it is not any easy job. You have to spend at least 7 hours a day at it, or you will only make a minimum wage - believe me! You need to get up at 7 am and begin and only take 10 minute breaks every couple of hours, and then get back to it. If you stop for an hour, and think you will return to it later, you won't; I know - I've done it. You need to make yourself a goal - say, "I am going to type 50 pages a day at the least." And, stick to it, no matter what time of night it gets to be - if you don't type the 50 pages per day, you'll never know how much you're going to make, and that is the minimum, in my opinion. You have to stick to it and get it done - deadlines are crucial, and if you don't meet them, or if you take work, and say you can do it, but then you wind up not having the time, you can get fired very easily, or lose work that you will need to make the money, as they will just begin giving you less work so that they are sure to meet their deadlines.

I know it all sounds great, and I am really excited about getting back into it, as I know I can make money at it by pulling all-nighters and working weekends, and sticking to it eight hours a day. But you must do that, or it is a waste of your time, as you will need to buy headphones that are very comfortable because you will wear them all day, and a foot pedal (sometimes a certain kind only fits certain software the different companies use) - so be careful with that. You also will have to have a good working computer, because you will be on it constantly, so it's going to have to be kept up - maintained, just like a car getting a tune-up that you drive a lot-everywhere! And Internet access is crucial - the faster, the better. You will need to buy or rent the Microsoft Word software, or WordPerfect, but being well-versed on Word is also crucial to you making money.

Good luck to everyone who tries this, but if you have never done it before, trust me, you will begin by making little money, and then after time, if you keep at it constantly and make it your first priority, as you need to make money - you will drive yourself to make a good amount of it. It is all up to the individual in the end.

God Bless & good luck! You can do it - you really can! But, sometimes working outside the home is a lot easier than working at-home, even though you think there are so many advantages to it - really! Give it a shot and see.

Anonymously ME.


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Aug 07, 2016
by: Anonymous

I am so glad I found this page. I am new to transcribing but I started with a new company this week and it's more legal. I love it so far!!! I need to get a schedule for sure and set goals! Thanks so much for that!

Apr 13, 2016
Thank you
by: Melina

I can't believe I never thanked you for this thoughtful, insightful and very detailed post. Thank you so much for pouring your time in order to give others a true glimpse of what it really takes to do this. !

Mar 07, 2014
Thanks for the encouragement
by: Anonymous

Thank you for taking the time to write your story. I'm in the same situation, and I can add a page of other problems in my life right now. I printed it out and I'm placing it on my in my kitchen, where I pretty much live! I just realized that there is nobody out there that is going to help you. You are on your own and when someone throws you a curve ball you need to find a way of throwing it back harder so you can move on. There is no time to sit in my life right now. The piles are getting larger and increasing. I've had to change my plan over and over because of those curve balls but I will make it. Thank you again.

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