Having mentors and learning from their experiences is the easiest and most effective way of ensuring online success as a professional Transcriber.
Having that in mind, I took the liberty of interviewing highly qualified and most sought-after transcribers of our time. They are fast, effective, successful and they get the job done the right way the first time.
Allow me to introduce to you Helen Waithera. An avid transcriptionist who has so many years of transcription experience under her belt. She shares insider tips and solid advice that will leave you asking for more. You can also check her out on LinkedIn.
There is lots to note down. So, get your pen and paper ready. Let’s get started!
Virginia: How did you get started in transcription?
Helen: I worked for several transcription companies/call centers. That’s how I first bumped into transcription.
Virginia: What type of files do you handle on a day to day basis?
Helen: Basically audio files and sometimes video.
Virginia: Do you accept multiple speaker files and/or files with foreign/heavy accents? And, what has your experience been like handling those types of projects?
Helen: Most of my clients are coaches and usually their subject matter involves back and forth, question and answers so a lot of them are multiple speaker files. Luckily, none of them are foreign/heavy accents. I however had some of these when I first started out and it was really frustrating. I had to play back several times to get it right.
Virginia: Do you handle verbatim or non-verbatim projects or both? How has your experience been like?
Helen: Mostly non-verbatim. My clients expect me to clean up the audios/videos and send a client-ready transcript.
Virginia: What medium do you use to receive work? Email, Dropbox, FTP? Why that medium?
Helen: Mostly email and Dropbox. I used FTP when I first started out because my only client, at the time, used that medium.
Virginia: Do you use the same medium to return finished work (transcripts) back to the client?
Helen: No. Sometimes I would attach the document on email and sometimes I would upload to Dropbox. Other times I would upload to the client’s work site.
Virginia: How frequent do you communicate with the client?
Helen: If I have a job from them, every day or every other day.
Virginia: What payment methods do you use to receive your funds from the client?
Helen: They pay via PayPal, I move it to my Payoneer card.
Virginia: Do you work on Freelancing sites like oDesk, Elance, Fiverr and Freelancer? If yes, how has your experience been like?
Helen: I launched my career on oDesk and that’s where I got most of my clients. However, the referrals that come out of that we have an out-of-oDesk understanding and we work privately.
Virginia: Do you accept private clients? If so, do you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement? What tips can you offer newbies while handling private clients?
Helen: Yes! Most of my current clients are private. Some ask me to sign an NDA, others don’t. When handling private clients, make sure they are referred to you by a trustworthy source so that in the event of non-payment you have some sort of mediator. I would advise newbies to stick to sites like oDesk and the rest for their own protection.
Virginia: Do you outsource? Yes or no? If yes, how do you go about it?
Helen: I do. I outsource locally. I interview prospects on quality and speed, mostly it is someone I know or they have been referred to me by someone I know because of the confidentiality factor. I send them work via email and send them money via M-pesa on the 5th of the following month.
Virginia: Is transcription your full-time income generator or do you have other sources?
Helen: It was. At the moment I’m channeling my energy to another income stream I recently learned about so outsourcing is coming in really handy. It helps when you have good help and you can focus elsewhere.
Virginia: What challenges have you faced as a professional transcriptionist?
Helen: The challenges were in the initial stages when I didn’t know how to set up withdrawal systems, it was expensive to withdraw money, the money wasn’t as much etc. In my six years of transcription I’m lucky to have come across only one client who wanted to refuse with my payment. Good thing she had been referred to me by one of my good clients and that acted as a mediator and in the end she paid up.
Virginia: What advice would you give new and aspiring transcriptionists?
Helen: Consistency is key. Only take work you can handle. Under-promise and over-deliver. Referrals will come and before you know it you’ll have a healthy database, and a healthy bank account to go with it.
And there you have it folks. Solid advice from a Professional Transcriber who understands what it takes and what it means to deliver top-notch transcripts that meet her client’s needs every time.
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