Digital Nomad Jobs – Transcriptionist/transcriber
How to become a freelance transcriptionist/transcriber
*Please note, this guide is for general transcription/transcriber services only. Designed purely for the Digital Nomad on the road. I have no clue about foot pedals etc.
*I’ll just be using the word transcriptionist from now on. That may not be the right word?
Working from home or from anywhere on your digital nomad road trips as a transcriptionist is a great way to make money without any formal training or qualifications. As with all jobs you will need a few select skills but fortunately these can be practised and honed from the comfort of your own home/apartment/yurt/tent etc in a fast, productive way. A good knowledge of language is a must as accurate using of grammar and punctuation is going to go a long way to helping you become successful. Should you need to bone up on your language http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/ is a pretty in-depth site, it takes a bit of reading mind, good luck! The freelance transcriptionist will need to be able to type quickly and accurately whilst ensuring all grammar and punctuation is correct, the faster you type, the more you will earn! Most people suggest that you will need to reach a minimum of 75-80 wpm, if you’re not at this level just yet there is no need to panic, the following few links offer great hints and tips on ways to increase your speed in an easy to follow manner. Obviously the quicker you get the more chance you have of success so if you don’t master is straight away, persevere and crack on! You’ll get there in the end I’m sure.
As well as typing and language skills there are a few more requirements required to become a successful transcriptionist, nothing too heavy but I figure we may as well go over them briefly. You’ll need decent computer skills, good listening skills and possibly above average research skills, the first two are rather self explanatory but the research may need a brief explanation. As a transcriptionist you will (hopefully) be bombarded with work introducing you to new places, people and ideas. You might know everything about them, you might know nothing, even how to spell them, this is where your research skills will shine through.
Once you’re confident with your typing, grammar, research, computer and listening skills you can start looking for work. Firstly, make sure you have the correct equipment, which I will list below, you don’t want to start applying for jobs and then realise your laptop isn’t up to the job. Depending on how you are going to be looking for work you may want to consider creating a winning resume and cover letter, focus on your skills and experience and be sure to include any relevant educational and computer achievements. Even if you don’t think you need one to find online work, do it anyway, it’s good typing practice! After these short steps, apply. Apply. APPLY! A quick internet search throws up quite a lot of online transcriptionist companies you can get in touch with, again, I’ll list them below, but don’t limit yourself to just those. Most companies will require you to go through a short test session, keep calm and type on. Best of luck!
As a side note consider advertising on craigslist, facebook, gumtree, online ex-pat groups, message boards etc. Anywhere you can think of basically. The more your name is out there the higher your chance of success. Maybe?
None really, provided that you have the necessary typing and language skills there is no need for any formal training or qualifications to become a freelance transcriptionist. If you wish to become a medical or legal transcriptionist you may stand a better chance of succeeding if you have a keen interest in the subjects, formal training isn’t required for these roles either and medical transcription can definitely be performed from home, legal work may be more difficult to find on the digital nomad road.
There are online courses offering transcription certification but as my research suggests this isn’t necessary I don’t really want to promote any of them, they all look a bit ‘meh’ to me but good luck if you take one up, let me know how it goes!
You will need:
1 computer/laptop with a working keyboard and internet connection
1 pair of hands
1 set of ears
Depending on the companies you apply to you may be required to download programs relevant to them.
Where to find work online?
Online work can be found at:
A site with a comprehensive list:
How much to charge?
The amount you can earn will vary on who you work for, companies offer a rate based per hour or per number of words or line. There isn’t really any limit to what you can earn as long as you work hard and are prepared to put the hours and effort in. Should you be working freelance on sites like Upwork (formerly Odesk) then it will pay to research the competition, as a new transcriber you may be better off aiming lower to start with before building up a strong portfolio and really raking in the big bucks.
How well does it suit the Digital Nomad lifestyle?
As I’ve been writing this I’ve decided that I’d quite like to be a transcriptionist. If I had the relevant typing and language skills I think I would, in fact I think I might learn them! This role seems ideal to me, the equipment is minimal, the work varied, interesting and maybe educational. It can be done anywhere on the digital nomad road allowing the freedom to move around the world at will. I’m struggling to think of a way this doesn’t suit the digital nomad lifestyle?