Are you new to transcription? Have you wondered what transcription is like and if it is right for you? While many transcription jobs are performed in various types of work environments, transcription is a leading legitimate work-at-home career.
Where medical transcription specializes in transcribing medical documents of various sorts, and legal transcription specializes in producing transcripts for courts and attorneys and related areas, general transcription encompasses a broad range of fields such as focus groups for market research, recorded statements for insurance companies, lectures for the academic world, sermons, interviews, student research papers, and so much more.
To transcribe an electronic digital recording (a recording housed on your computer), playback software is needed. Most computers today have player software already installed on the computer such as Real Player and/or Windows Media Player. These players will probably provide a way for you to hear the dictation, but controlling the playback requires something more.
Playing the software enables you to hear what is spoken, but control is needed. It is frequently necessary to pause the recording to let our fingers catch up to what was heard and to allow adequate time for look-ups or corrections. Transcription playback software provides the tools necessary to play, stop, pause, rewind, and fast forward through the recording. A foot pedal or keyboard commands can be used to control playback.
If you need transcription playback software, Express Scribe by NCH Software is available as a free download from the Internet. Another free player is available from Tyger Valley Systems called FTW Transcriber. Download links are also provided on the MT-Connect blog sidebar.
Are you ready to hear what an audio recording sounds like? Practice files and complete answer keys for the general transcriptionist are available here at very low cost. If you are new to transcription, I recommend that you listen to each recording once or twice from start to finish before attempting to actually transcribe it. Then try typing what you hear. Check the answer key to see how you did. Remember – practice will increase your speed and your accuracy and you will steadily gain more skills.
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This picture of a keyboard by Funny Pictures is especially suited for Valentine’s Day. It made the rounds on the Internet in anticipation of the upcoming holiday.
As a transcriptionist, I need every key to get my work done. However, with all that deliciousness at my fingertips, I believe I could manage to get my work done without the . . .
Have you considered a career in medical transcription?
To succeed in medical transcription a few basic skills are required.
- Typing – speed and accuracy make a difference.
- Writing skills – grammar and punctuation.
- Research skills – dictionaries, googling, print and online resources.
Accomplishing a medical transcription job is often like solving a puzzle. Putting on paper what is heard in a recording requires focus and attention to detail. Figuring out new and technical words and phrases can be a challenge. With practice and experience, each new dictation gets easier to transcribe.
Do you wonder just what it would be like? Here is a sample. Can you transcribe this?
Transcriptionists are business people with a special skill set. In order to perform their work, they must:
- Excel in spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
- Have superior listening skills.
- Use research tools quickly and successfully.
I am working with a group of experienced transcriptionists on a current project. I have assigned one file each to transcribe with hope of assigning more upon successful completion of the first. Each has promised a product that has been carefully executed and painstakingly proofread. And so I get questions.
- She says “um” a lot. Should I type that?
- How about mm-hmm?
- What about “you know”?
- Non-attainment or nonattainment? Do you prefer the dash with all non’s?
- How do you spell “woo-ee” is that WUE?
- Are you a fan of commas?
- Do all units get capitalized?
- Do you want [laughter] included?
- I can’t hear what they’re saying. What do I type?
- You said to type one space after a period at the end of the sentence. I don’t understand. Do you mean at the end of a paragraph?
I wonder what the newbies ask.
Remember the typewriter? Each letter on the typewriter was allowed an equal amount of space on the printed page. Therefore, a w took up the same space as did an i. The i actually uses only about one-third of the space that the w requires. Yet on the printed page, with all letters taking up equal space, the i sits comfortably surrounded by space while the w is crowded into its tight spot. With all the unevenness of lettering that appeared on the printed page, two spaces at the end of a sentence helped to make reading flow.
Along came computers. Computers introduced proportional letters. Although a few fonts with fixed pitch are still available (Courier New and Monaco, for example), the vast majority are proportional. Each letter takes up only the space that it needs and there is equal space between each letter. Two spaces are no longer needed at the end of a sentence.
When I offer work to transcriptionists, I ask them to use just one space after the period at the end of a sentence. This particular instruction, more than any other, is often the one that causes the most discomfort.
Today I got an email from a transcriptionist who appeared to be confused by this instruction. She wrote,
Did I understand you only wanted one space at the end of a sentence — i.e., start the next sentence with only one space in between? Maybe you meant a sentence at the end of a paragraph?
I don’t usually press the space bar at the end of a paragraph. Do you?
A file arrives that seems familiar. The filename and length are the same as a file previously received. Still, it must be investigated. Is it the same file sent twice? Never assume.
It is not uncommon for those providers still dictating with handheld recorders to overwrite old dictation files with new. Occasionally files are not cleared when their usefulness has expired. Sometimes this is by design; other times this is due to neglect or oversight. The result can be confusing at best. At worst, an overwritten file can wreak havoc.
A file that is 40 minutes long may be overwritten from the start but only for 30 minutes, as an example. At the 31st minute, old dictation plays. An alert and careful transcriptionist may realize the problem because the old dictation is recognized as familiar. With knowledge and experience, a search for the existence of the remaining dictation may be revealed and then not transcribed a second time. If that file were transcribed by two different transcriptionists, then the old dictation would not be recognized. In that case (and even in the first case cited), the old dictation may begin at an odd place and therefore show itself to be incomplete and questionable, indicating an old underlying dictation file that should not be transcribed a second time.
Yesterday I received a dictation file that was overwritten four times, maybe more! Each time the filename was unchanged and the length remained the same. Yet each file contained different information. The first time, the dictation ran the full length of the file. Each subsequent dictation session ran shorter and shorter. The file was certainly a time-consuming mess to unravel. Determining that the file was in fact new somehow, and then where the latest stopping point actually was, became a project in itself.
It is important to remind each provider’s office to erase old dictation upon completion. This reminder could possibly be placed on every invoice. Even so, the scenario will play again.
Never assume! It will make an ASS out of U and ME.
Practice Files on SALE – 3 days only!
Save over 30%!
Practice files are available today for download at a special reduced price. From now through midnight Wednesday PST (October 24, 2012), a set of medical transcription practice files containing an assortment of medical specialties and report types is available for download at this special low price.
This special offer has expired. Please watch for more special offers.