What Are the Pros and Cons of Being a Transcriptionist?

Pros and Cons of Being a Transcriptionist

Pros and Cons of Being a Transcriptionist

Today there are many companies and agencies offering transcription services to clients and customers in myriad industries and transcription jobs are pretty high in demand in different industries across the globe.

If you have good listening skills and love typing or writing, this career will suit you well. Hence, if you are interested in becoming a professional transcriptionist please read on. In this article, we will discuss in detail the professional career of a transcriptionist and the various pros and cons associated with it.

Who Is a Transcriptionist?

Before we go into the pros and cons of being a transcriptionist, you must understand the nature of this job first. Also known as ‘transcribers’, the work of this profession involves creating a written copy from audio or video content in the form of a document. The audio or video content might be a training session, speech, seminar recording, webinar recording, lecture, or other such events.

Transcribers listen carefully to the audio or video recordings and then create a written copy or transcript of the same. The output document has to follow the audio as closely as possible, which may entail transcribing the related industry or specialization jargon and yet following general grammar rules.

There was a time when the dictations or conversations were first taken in the shorthand. But now with the help of technological advancements, the customer can record conversations verbatim and send for transcription. Various kinds of software are also in use in this profession. However, the accuracy and precision of manual transcription are still ruling over AI or other software-based transcription services.

Use of Transcription Services in Different Industries

Professional transcription services are high in demand where there is a need for converting audio or video texts into accurate written content. The transcription can be verbatim or non-verbatim. Some of the industries where transcription services are high in demand include the following:

  • Service businesses
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Legal companies
  • Academic institutions
  • Consulting and market research firms
  • Mass communication and media houses
  • YouTubers and podcast creators

The subject of the content varies in different industries, but the aim remains the same.

Statistics Related to the US Transcription Industry

The market size of the USA transcription industry stood at $25.98 billion in 2022. In the period 2023-2030, it is expected that there will be a compound annual growth rate of 5.8% in this industry and the figure is estimated to reach almost $41.89 billion by 2030.

It is also interesting to note that women play a dominant role in the transcription industry with there being 88.7% female transcriptionists and 11.3% male transcriptionists, while 9% of transcriptionists are LGBT.

What Do Transcriptionists Do?

It has already been discussed that the role of a transcriptionist is to convert various audio or video contents to text format. The video or audio files can be in different formats. In some cases, there is a lot of background noise in the recordings, or the quality of the audio or video recording is poor. Transcriptionists have to decipher the audio from such files and convert it to text.

Some transcriptions need conversion on a word-to-word basis even if the grammar or structure is wrong. In other cases, the transcriptionist has to listen to the audio or video content and convert it into meaningful written text with proper language, grammar, and syntax, while meeting industry-specific standards.

Transcription Works in Various Industries and the Roles of the Transcriptionists

Different industries hire transcribers for converting their records to written format. Legal transcription services are the highest in demand. Mentioned below are some transcriptionist roles as per the specific industries:

1. General Transcriber

A general transcriptionist creates text content from the video or audio files provided. The files can be from various events like speeches, interviews, webinars, messages, phone calls, etc. A general transcriber can offer services in any industry.

2. Legal Transcriptionist

Legal transcription services are high in demand and the need for legal transcriptionists will not diminish anytime soon. A legal transcription professional is an expert at making transcribed copies of events like depositions, search warrants, and court proceedings.

3. Corporate Transcriber

Such transcriptionists create written content for financial industries and business development. They develop text versions of various audio files and business events including annual meetings, press conferences, earning and analyst reports, etc.

4. Court Reporter

Court reporting transcription services are one of the oldest transcribing jobs. A court transcriptionist generates written reports at live legal proceedings in administrative hearings, dispositions, or courtroom trials. A court reporter writes down everything that is said in the court by anyone, having the understanding and knowledge of the law.

5. Law Enforcement Transcriber

These transcriptionists have a specialization in developing written content associated with government proceedings and public safety. Some such events include suspect interviews, emergency response phone calls, accident reports, interviews with witnesses, internal investigation audio, etc.

6. Captioner

It is the job of a captioner to develop text for videos, which might also be a television program. Recorded videos are used when the captioner performs the transcription offline. Real-time captioners offer the written version of streaming events and live broadcasts.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Transcriber

Like every profession, the job of a transcriber or transcriptionist comes with its fair share of pros and cons. Let us take a look at them.

Pros of Being a Transcriber

The job of a transcriber/ transcriptionist comes with many advantages and benefits. Some of the most important ones are as follows:

1. Good Salary Offers

The salary offered by most transcription agencies is quite decent. Transcription service payments are often calculated by the word or page or audio/video per minute or hour.

2. Sharpens Skills

As a transcriber, you develop your listening and typing skills extensively.

3. Flexible Timing

If you have pre-recorded audio or video files, you can transcribe them at your convenience. This flexibility of working is a great benefit for people looking for a side hustle.

4. Possibility of Getting Long-Time Clients

If you work successfully as a transcriptionist with a particular client for a long time, many other career paths might open up for you eventually. You can look for options in content development, editing, proofreading, or even creating an eBook.

5. Learning Opportunity

A transcriptionist has the opportunity of learning new things and becoming knowledgeable on various subjects. The profession allows one to listen to recordings of experts and professionals that are sometimes gated or private content.

6. Specialization in a Particular Industry

If you are looking to give your transcription career a boost, you will need some additional education so that you can specialize in a particular industry. Currently, the legal fields have excellent prospects. With the specialization, you can charge higher rates for transcription as well.

Cons of a Transcriptionist

Along with the pros, there are some cons of being a transcriptionist as well, and some of them are as follows:

1. Purchasing Equipment

If you intend to offer transcription services, you will need to buy certain tools or software. You might need to make investments in a foot pedal or a headset.

2. Fast Typing Speed

If you want to make a successful career as a transcriptionist, you must have a fast-typing speed. Otherwise, you might fall behind in the competition.

3. Difficulty in Understanding Templates Provided by Clients

Often clients send various kinds of templates to transcriptionists. There are times when transcribers have difficulty understanding the templates and might have to spend extra time delivering according to the requirement.

4. Difficulty in Listening to Multiple Speakers

The transcription process can become slow with poor sound quality, audience interaction, people talking to one another, accent issues, multiple speakers, etc. These can be frustrating and hamper productivity.

5. Monotonous Work

Transcription is a monotonous job, which requires concentration and attention. You cannot multitask while transcribing.


Now that you have a fair idea of the job of a transcriptionist, note that things are not as easy and simple as they appear. Sometimes, the audio and video files that come in have lots of disturbances and noises, and deciphering the right meaning of the conversation can be pretty difficult. Agencies offering transcription services try hiring the best transcribers to make the work as accurate as possible.

Whether you are looking to start or progress your career in offering legal transcription services, court reporting transcription services, or any other kind of transcription services, make sure that you choose the right company for your job.