The Modern Transcriptionist: Interviews with Amy and Kelly

The Modern Transcriptionist: Interviews with Amy and Kelly
March 4, 2019 Rachel Tirabassi

Over the last few decades, transcriptionists have faced several shifts in their career. New technology, like voice recognition in the medical field, forced some transcriptionists to make career changes. However, thriving transcriptionists, like Amy and Kelly, are still around and find success in the field. Interviewing these two awesome transcriptionists shows us that transcription isn’t a “dying” profession.

Kelly

Kelly is newer to the game and a perfect example of how to evolve. She’s using social media, like Twitter, to market her independent transcription business and gets most of her clients through word-of-mouth. She sees a lot of potential for transcription growing in new areas like audio media and podcasts.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m from western Massachusetts.

Q: What made you want to get into transcription?

A: I was trying to decide what field to go into after college and someone asked me, “Well, what are you good at?” and I said, “I type really fast.” So, I found a job as a legal transcriptionist!

Q: How long have you been a transcriptionist?

A: I started a job as a transcriptionist in 2010 and started doing it independently in 2011.

Q: How have you seen your career as a transcriptionist change over the years?

A: I think the market has been increasing due to the increased accessibility to audio media like podcasts, and then when a podcaster or someone who streams audio wants to have something typed out, that’s when they start looking for a transcriptionist. I also think the advancements made with digital transcription software has created some competition, but if you can build a good reputation as a “human” transcriptionist and find a specialized niche, I think clients are less likely to choose a software over a live person.

Q: What kind of transcription do you do? 

A: I transcribe for motorcycle racing websites and magazines, but I started off in auto insurance.

Q: Or if you work for yourself, how do you find clients and work?

A: I currently transcribe on my own, and all my clients are gained through word-of-mouth referrals.

Q: Do you work from home?

A: Yes.

Q: Is transcription a side hustle or your full-time job?

A: Transcribing is my side hustle.

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a transcriptionist?

A: Working from home and making my own schedule. Plus, I really enjoy the content of what I transcribe and the clients I get to work for.

Q: What’s your least favorite?

A: Probably how much time is spent sitting at my desk, but since I make my own schedule, I can make time to get up and move around in-between projects.

Q: What kind of career goals do you have for 2019?

A: My goal is to gain enough business to make transcribing my main source of income, rather than just a side hustle!

Q: What advice do you have for someone starting off in transcription?

A: My advice is to try to find an area of transcribing that interests you, whether it’s legal, medical, or a smaller industry like motorcycling, and then get good transcribing tools such as playback software, a good word processor, ergonomic keyboard, etc. Those will help set you up for success. Also, you will need to have a good work ethic and put a lot of effort into building relationships with your clients if you’re working independently.

Amy

Amy, on the other hand, has been a transcriptionist for a long time. She started working on pre-press production for newspapers and made the shift to medical transcription. Today, she is “retired” but still works in medical transcription part-time.

Read about Amy’s journey:

Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m in the middle of the Hills ‘n’ Hollers in Northwest Tennessee.

Q: What made you want to get into transcription?

A: I can type like mad! I used to do pre-press production for newspapers. Back in 1997, my friend suggested I learn medical transcription and I’ve been a transcriptionist ever since.

Q: How long have you been a transcriptionist?

A: 22 years

Q: How have you seen your career as a transcriptionist change over the years?

A: At first, I used to get a little mini-tape and a list of patients from the doctor’s office. I’d type the reports, print them out, and carry them back to the doctor’s office the next day. This was when I worked in dermatology in Central Florida.

Q: What kind of transcription do you currently do? 

A: I do medical transcription.

Q: Where do you work? Or if you work for yourself, how do you find clients and work?

A: I went on Worldwideworkathome.com and found a transcription job online back in 2004 after I got laid off from the dermatology group. They said I cost too much then tried to hire me back! Ha Ha!

Q: Do you work from home?

A: Yes, I LOVE working from home.  My boss told me she doesn’t care if I’m on top of the Himalayan Mountains or on Mars, I just need to have an internet connection and type accurate, timely reports.

Q: Is transcription a side hustle or your full-time job?

A: This is my part-time job, I only work like 30 hours a week now that I’m an old crone. No more full-time work for granny!

Q: What’s your favorite part about being a transcriptionist?

A: I’m super nosy, so hearing about people’s travails is intriguing to me.

Q: What’s your least favorite?

A: Well, the fact that I must work at all is rude, we’re supposed to just live for free and do whatever artistic thing our hearts desire. I’m totally into words and reading so there isn’t much of a downside to my job. But it would be cool if I could live the rest of my transcription life and never hear a doctor chewing in my ear.

Q: What kind of career goals do you have for 2019?

A: I just want to not fall out of my chair at this point.

Q: What advice do you have for someone starting off in transcription?

A: Slow down, remember to breathe. Take a quick break every single hour. Get up and stretch for a few minutes.

Amy is an old school transcriptionist and Kelly is the new wave. Not all transcriptionists are as lucky as Amy, some need to seek new opportunities in the 2019 way. Social media, word-of-mouth and adapting to the new needs clients possess. Both ladies are awesome, and we appreciate their incredible feedback! We hope their answers gave more insight into how transcriptionists are working in the new age.

Do you have a good response to any of these questions? Comment below!

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