Sharon Dagin says: Being home-based allows you freedom to decide the work hours that are best for you. Let friends and family know you’re unavailable during those hours except, of course, for emergencies. Your workspace at home should be treated as your office, and interruptions should be minimal. If you’re tempted to take time off without good reason, prop a few bills where you can see them to motivate you!
Have you ever considered a part-time job for a bit of additional earnings? Looking for a job where you can work from home? Have you considered transcribing? Here are some valuable insights and helpful tips from Sharon Dagnin, a professional and experienced transcriber with Way With Words Group.
What does your job entail?
I download audio files, which could be one-on-one interviews, focus groups, legal investigations, medical research, financial reports, TV material, anything, which I then transcribe into WORD documents and upload to the client.
How long have you been a transcriber?
I’ve been a transcriber for around seven years.
How did you start transcribing?
I wasn’t sure what a transcriber did when I first saw the job advertised, but the reference to excellent English and good typing skills caught my attention. I applied and passed the (rather sneaky) English test, and then a transcription test, and was accepted for training. Initially I worked awkward hours in a warehouse-type environment, so when I spotted an ad for home-based transcribers I switched, and am much happier working from home (although too close to the fridge)!
Describe a typical work day.
There isn’t really a typical day because I work according to deadlines and workflow, but generally I’ll start work somewhere between 7:00 – 9:00 am. If I don’t already have work, I’ll contact the office and request work. I work around 6-8 hours per day, and occasionally over weekends to top-up the kitty.
What is the best part of transcribing?
The work can be interesting, and I’ve learned a lot on a wide range of subjects. I never know what will pop up next. I enjoy legal work and political interviews most. Working from home is comfortable and convenient, and I do interact with office staff via Messenger, which stops me from feeling entirely alone.
What is the worst part of transcribing?
When an audio is boring or of poor sound quality, I feel like I’ll never get to the end of it. I particularly dislike focus groups.
Can you offer any tips for other transcribers?
It can take a while to pick up speed and tune your ears in to a variety of accents and speech patterns, so be patient. It’s a good idea to work for a company where you can be assured of a good workflow and also gain experience on a wide variety of work. The support and training from a company is invaluable to a newbie. You can always dip your toes into freelance later.
Being home-based allows you freedom to decide the work hours that are best for you. Let friends and family know you’re unavailable during those hours except, of course, for emergencies. Your workspace at home should be treated as your office, and interruptions should be minimal. If you’re tempted to take time off without good reason, prop a few bills where you can see them to motivate you!
What makes a transcriber successful?
Flexibility: Make yourself available for rush work, put in early morning, late or even overnight hours if needed (doesn’t happen often), be prepared to learn new formats when new clients come on board. The more you know, the more you’re assured of work in leaner times.
Quality: Whether working completely freelance or as an independent contractor, be sure to give great value for money. Be your own quality controller. It’s far better to send off work you’re happy with, than to take a chance and perhaps have a client complain. Google special terms and place names.
Deadlines: Beat deadlines! Technology has a nasty habit of letting one down, so aim to get work in ahead of deadlines.
In general: have a good attitude, be reliable, enjoy the work as far as possible, and always remember you’re getting paid for a product.
What do you enjoy most about working from home?
I enjoy working on a laptop. That way I can move wherever it’s warmer, cooler, quieter or prettier.
Have you had a humorous experience which involves transcribing?
I was at Sooty the cat’s house, typing away on a rush job when I noticed this cat doing ominous prance and crouch movements. Sure enough a mouse broke over, dashed towards me and hid under the desk. I spent the next half hour in a sweat, trying to beat the deadline, half distracted by the cat-and-mouse chase and a hysterically giggling maid in the doorway. I made it,- just- and needed a stiff cappuccino after that!
To follow Sharon Dagin’s footsteps leading down the yellow-brick transcription path (though perhaps a little bit too close to the fridge!), you may apply online with Way With Words Group by visiting our jobs page