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Sylvia A
10-08-2015, 09:14 AM
I've been very interested in general transcription for some time now, and am looking for advice on how to even begin to learn this skill. Difficulty - I am incredibly poor and cannot afford a training program. I'm sure there are many of you who can relate. This means I will have to be self taught. So, where to begin?

Seriously, where do I begin? What steps should I take, and in what order, to even begin to learn general transcription? Is there a style guide that is commonly used - or at least some sort of guide out there, somewhere, that will show me the parts to a transcribed work and how to know what goes where (as you can see, I have zero clue, which is why that came out so wonky)? I guess 'an explanation of the process, with included how-to' would be a slightly better description. Is there a free, online version of this information available that anyone is aware of?

I know practice will be a huge factor, and that's great - I love to type. I could type at you ALL DAY if I felt like it. However, I need to know what to practice, what is absolutely necessary to learn and then, if I am just so excited to know all this new stuff I might just explode into glitter, rainbows and candy, how to expand my knowledge base so I can actually make money on it.

The money part is hugely important, of course. I realize I will (eventually? from the start? - I dunno. please tell me) need a headset of some sort, a foot pedal and a couple of pieces of software. I will have to go into debt to obtain these things and my very limited ability to even get myself into debt is why I cannot afford even the most modest of training programs. I would greatly appreciate any free online resources anyone could direct me toward, or even just a list of steps to take and where/how to take them. I could then feel more confident using my limited resources this way. Quite frankly - I'm scared! It's not just fear of failure - it's fear of failure with a potential credit card bill attached. :eek:

Thanks much for any advice and direction you can give me!

10-09-2015, 01:19 PM
I don't know much because I'm new too, but I applied and got accepted to Quicktate. You don't need a foot pedal or headset. You have to pay $15 for a background check but you make it back pretty quick. At least I did anyway. They pay you on Mondays through PayPal. HTH! Good luck :)

10-10-2015, 05:23 PM
From a formerly broke person who basically saved his life with online transcription work, assuming you're looking to do online work from home, here's a little basket of tips, but the main point is JUST JUMP IN.

The only essential resource you have to provide is your own mind. You need to have a good grasp on grammar, the ability to make out what's being said in the recording, reasonable typing speed and a good ability to research names and terms using the context of the recording.

You DO NOT need a foot pedal to start off unless you end up with a company that uses proprietary software that relies on it. It's a very nice addition, but both ExpressScribe and VLC (Which is free but all it does is play the recording for you) will let you bind their functions to keyboard shortcuts, so you can still do reasonably well until you earn enough capital to buy one.

The first time you install Express Scribe, it will pop up the purchase page with a hefty discount on the Pro version. If you miss that chance, you can still snag it at a good price, it's currently $20 but I've seen it as low as $17. You can get decent use out of the free version but if you get an assignment in video form you will have to buy it (or convert the video to audio I suppose.)

Unless you get stuck with a company that uses their own awful interface for input, you will need an office suite and there are free, open-source ones like OpenOffice and Libre Office. They're not perfect but they will suffice for your purposes and they have Word compatibility.

As for format, most online employers will provide you documentation with their rules and required style. Combined with a bit of supplementary googling you should be able to pick up a decent style in about an hour.

There you go, you're ready to make money.

10-10-2015, 05:26 PM
I don't know much because I'm new too, but I applied and got accepted to Quicktate. You don't need a foot pedal or headset. You have to pay $15 for a background check but you make it back pretty quick. At least I did anyway. They pay you on Mondays through PayPal. HTH! Good luck :)

You say you're new, but Quickstate seem to require two references in their application form, what did you do for those? Also what is the pay like?

Sylvia A
10-18-2015, 05:08 PM
Thanks you guys for the encouragement and info! I think I am just being a nervous nellie about this - the old fear of failure thing. I'll grab a few of the transcription jobs that come up on mTurk that don't need qualification testing first and see how I do. If I do poorly, at least I'll have some idea how to correct it. If I do not do poorly - if I actually 'get it' - then YAY for me! I've just jumped into new skills before and survived - didn't kill anyone else, either - so that's something, I guess. ;)