According to Speechpad, transcription is “[a] text document that contains a transcript of everything that is spoken in an audio or video file.” Or simply put transcription is the task of turning spoken words into a written document (Breaking into General Transcription by Kate Winston). Transcription is divided into two broad categories:
- Medical Transcription: The audio file is the voice of a physician dictating about patient interactions. The file is then listened to by a medical transcriptionist who types it out as a text file, cross‐checked by editors before uploading to the physician’s server.
- General Transcription: Anything other than Medical Transcription. Includes Legal like court reporting, Business including speeches, lectures, podcasts.
Medical Transcription is more specialized because you need knowledge of medical terms, follow mandatory guidelines like HIPAA in the US. Here are the eight reasons to learn transcription in this digital environment while pursuing other hobbies/careers in your career timeline:
- Transcription improves listening skills, especially for someone with English as a second language.
- One also needs to learn to type. At a time when most writing involves desktop/laptop, imagine how much more productive you become while writing letters, reports when fast on the keyboard.
- You need to be accurate in English grammar. Understanding subject and verb agreement, the right use of prepositions and punctuation marks is crucial for those who neglected English grammar during school days. In other words, it is an opportunity for an adult learner to master writing English correctly. Software like Grammarly are at best great writing assistant but cannot be a substitute for your understanding of writing correct English.
- While learning transcription, your immediate motive may be to find a job. There are lots of transcription jobs available online which one can pursue as a freelancer. While the introduction of voice detection software has reduced the work, there is always a demand for trained editors to give the final copy a human touch. In fact, speech recognition software acts as a productivity enhancement tool for editors in today’s BPOs that specialize in transcription. For those who fear automation software taking over jobs, read Artificial Intelligence won’t lead to job cuts in India, says Microsoft chief Satya Nadella.
- Once your listening skill is improved, you are more comfortable attending phone calls. You also learn about pronunciation/accent during training. So, you can interact with overseas clients more confidently. You may join as a caller/customer care agent in a call center.
- In case you love to write, it is easier to change your profile as a content writer producing web-based content.
- In the case of medical transcription, medical lessons undertaken may help understand health issues better and sell health-related products such as health insurance.
- Translation is yet another growing field where you find a lot of jobs translating from your mother tongue to English and vice versa. Just like transcription using speech recognition software, in translation, there are wonderful aids including Google Translate with which you get a first-hand copy but needs human revision.