General Transcription – 10 Skills To Have’ve thought about going into general transcription, but you have a little uneasiness that you don’t have the skills you need to become a success at it. Let me tell you a little story about how my partner and I broke into the world of general transcription. You may have heard me tell you this before, but it won’t hurt to reassure you here that you can do it if….

So here goes. We started out with no transcription experience, no equipment and no knowledge. What an eye opener! We started out in the freelance marketplaces and had to go through the hard knocks of getting our bid just right so we would get a client.

We were so excited when we got our first client! But, the general transcription she gave us was broken English, poor quality of audio and couldn’t be more difficult. We would get one done for her — believe it or not, she came back with more. You know why? It may have taken us weeks (yes, I kid you not!) to get them done, but we did a good job and no one else would take them because they were horrible.

General Transcription – 10 Skills to Have
general transcription
Hey, you can do this!

So, here’s the bottom line. Through the years, we have come up with 10 skills that will help you when first starting out.

  1. You really (and I mean REALLY) want to get into this field. This is not a field you want to get into if you are going to procrastinate.
  2. Your typing speed is decent. We recommend having the ability to type at least 60 words per minute. You can test your speed by going to the Internet and searching under “learning how to type fast.” Remember, the faster you type and get an audio transcription done, the more money you will make because you will be able to take on more work.
  3. You have people skills. Why do I say that? Clients can be very exact in how they want their business transcriptions done. They want a certain style, specific font and pt. size, verbatim, semi-verbatim – you get the picture? You need to be able to get along with them. After all, they will be paying you if you do a good job (and maybe not pay you if you don’t follow their terms.)
  4. You have excellent grammar, punctuation and spelling skills. Your client does not want to see a lot of errors in the work that you turn into them. You need to be able to use the right words within the context of the sentence you are typing. For example, you need to know when to use to, too, or two; their, they’re or there; your or you’re; and other words.

***Disclosure: This post and our website contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make purchases using them. Please see our affiliate disclosure.***

  1. You have excellent hearing. No, no, I don’t mean that your hearing is actually good. What I mean is that when you listen to an audio, you can actually discern what words are being said. As a matter of fact, we actually made a mistake that cost us a client because we didn’t use reputable resources when we did a general transcription for someone. This leads to skill 6.
  2. You are good at searching – and finding – terminology, people’s names, places and more on the Internet. It can be fun and rewarding because you can learn new things that you can apply later in your career.
  3. You need to be accomplished at working with your computer, a foot pedal and headphones and be coordinated at working with all three of them at once.
  4. You’re great at meeting deadlines. This is critical to your success as a transcriber. The fastest way to lose your client is to miss a deadline. Period. Forget the excuses! Your client has probably heard them all. We did. “My grandmother died.” “My computer died.” And one we really thought was original until we read in the paper that it was not true was, “My house was on fire.”
  5. You don’t mind being at the computer for long hours, and you actually enjoy it. We actually have our desks at a window so we can look out and see the birds and still type with efficiency.
  6. As with any business, your #1 goal as a general transcriptionist is to make your clients happy. There is a deep sense of satisfaction whenever you turn in a transcript that’s been done on time and done well. To some extent, a good transcriptionist can become almost obsessive about getting it right because it’s so important not only to your client, but also to you. Do an excellent job in the beginning, and you will gain the trust of clients, get new clients and bring in more money.

***Disclosure: This post and our website contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make purchases using them. Please see our affiliate disclosure.***

Do you feel that you might be needing a boost in one or all of the skills? When my partner and I first started out, there was no one we could go to for help in learning general transcription. We had to learn it all on our own. You are fortunate because now there is a course offered by Transcribe Anywhere that gives you an opportunity to get a comprehensive training course that uses multimedia content with online learning tools to become successful in the art of transcribing audio or video into text documents for clients in multiple industries (other than medical and legal).

Borlok Transcription started doing transcription in 2006, and started out doing all sorts of transcription. As a subsidiary of Borlok Virtual Assistants, LLC, We started out in the freelance marketplaces like and (now known as It took us while to feel comfortable doing transcription, but we hung in there – and you can too!

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