“I never thought that working in transcription services would change my life – but it has! It’s not a job that was ever suggested to me at school (back then I wanted to be a vet or an actress – ahem!). Over the years I’ve done many things – studying, research, studying, teaching, studying, law and spates of waitressing when the going got tough or when I needed extra money for my Next Great Adventure (yeah, more studying).
I fell into transcription work over 20 years ago when I was looking for a part-time job whilst at university. I found a job with a TV company transcribing interviews from video. I worked for the same company for several years on an ad hoc basis. Then, a few years ago, I was offered a project out of the blue by a medical researcher. The hours were flexible, it was well paid and fitted into my other commitments as I could work from home. Having finished that (and being in a fairly low paid full-time job) I did some research on transcription companies. I was keen to work in UK transcription – there are several international companies out there, but it made sense to me to stay relatively local. I found PageSix who made the application process easy. You email a query, submit your CV, complete grammar and transcription tests, and if you pass, you’re off!
This type of work requires good typing skills and touch typing really helps. There are loads of free packages on the web which teach this and your speed will increase with practice. Audio typing experience is also very helpful although that’s surprisingly easy to learn. You’ll also need good transcription software – again, the internet can help here, but do get a package with a foot pedal. You’ll also need patience, the ability to research on the internet, and I’d say an interest in people is the icing on the cake. You’ll be amazed at what you learn!
This is a self-employed job. I can honestly say that the HMRC were very helpful when I set up my self-employment account and again, information is out there. However, you do need to be strict with yourself once the money starts rolling in. Put your tax away right now and you’ll be glad of it when the tax bill arrives! You do need to be organised about keeping records and accounts, but spreadsheets really are the way to go with that.
As I said at the beginning, transcription has changed my life. That low paid full-time job? I gave it up, took on a fun part-time job instead, and supplement my income with transcribing. Page Six is great to work with – no such thing as a daft question and very good communications with its transcribers. The transcription rates to typists are fair within what the industry generally pays and vary according to the job.
So, if you’re organised, hardworking, curious and flexible, I’d say it’s the way to go!”