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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Transcriptionist's Mentality

Probably the most prevalent misconception about transcription is that you're "just typing." Therefore the only skill you really need is the ability to type fast. As Mandi mentioned some time back, typing is actually one of the least important skills. A good transcriptionist has excellent grammar skills, the ability to research effectively, is generally well read and interested in current events, and lastly has the ability to type at an average or slightly above average pace. The ability to type like the wind will in no way make up for being sorely lacking in the other areas.

Above all else, however, is one final skill, and this is probably the most difficult to teach someone. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, and I've often wondered if this is the case in regards to this mentality when it comes to transcription. The skill that I'm speaking of is the ability to be "always on" while transcribing. By that I mean that you're constantly applying critical thinking to what you're typing to ensure that it makes sense in the context of the entire transcript, that you've researched everything that could possibly need to be researched, and that you're consistent in your grammar and style from beginning to end.

It takes an incredible amount of discipline to do this, and even the most diligent transcriptionist will probably slack off from time to time. This is why it's important to leave yourself enough time to review your work before submitting it. Overall consistency is key here, however, and in doing so, you will be a standout with your clients or contracts. Believe me when I say you will be noticed for your efforts, and they will pay off handsomely.

The more I think about it, I believe that this can be a learned skill. If you are goal-oriented and a high achiever, I'm sure you are well on your way to honing this skill. The interesting thing that just occurred to me is that, for the most part, if you're a regular reader of this blog I'm probably preaching to the choir. The people that really need to hear this message probably would never take the time to broaden their skill set by seeking out the type of information we try to provide. So kudos to you for having a transcriptionist's mentality!

1 Comment:

taralynn819 said...

I have never considered transcription before. I love typing (my blog shows it!) and research. I have more of an "ear" for grammar than I have a thorough technical understanding of it, although I'm sure a love for reading has something to do with that!

Very interesting stuff here. I just bookmarked your page. I currently feel unsettled in my job (the hours, not the content), and transcription may be something to look into!