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.
The first three interviews were from three awesome ladies who gave us nothing but the best tips, but today we are going to do things a little differently.
Allow me to introduce to you a gentleman who does not shy away from a field known to be dominated by women. He is Leon Mwenda. An all-round freelancer who has handled transcription, blogging, SEO and data entry projects. He has more skills and experience than I can count here. So, let’s get started!
Virginia: How did you get started in transcription?
Leon: I got started in transcription at a BPO company. Got trained, fulltime, for about a month and then worked at the company for two and a half years.
Virginia: What type of files do you handle on a day to day basis?
Leon: I mostly work on webinars, podcasts, YouTube Videos, and online TV content, since that is what my main client does. But I also get interviews, sermons and focus groups.
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?
Leon: Yes I do. My experience with multiple speaker files has been a gradual learning process. A lot of transcriptionists shy away from these types of files, so it’s very easy to get work when you can do them nicely. Most of the time the clients with these kinds of files ask for simple speakers tags (male/female speaker). In some cases you’re asked to track each speaker and tag them accordingly on the transcripts. What I do is have someone different track and tag the speakers, after the transcript is done.
Accents are very tricky, and they can cost you your clients. So I choose and practice on specific accents and only do those. I mostly work with American, African, British, Scottish and Australian accents. I stay away from Indian and Irish accents, I have a not-so-good history with them.
Virginia: Do you handle verbatim or non-verbatim projects or both? How has your experience been like?
Leon: I work on both. Non-verbatim projects are pretty easy and straight forward. That’s the bulk of the work that I do. Verbatim projects on the other hand need a great deal of attention to detail. Most transcriptionists are trained using verbatim files, so learning to switch between the two is very hard. Verbatim pays much better that non-verbatim, but it also takes more time. In my case re-training and regular practice gives me the edge.
Virginia: What medium do you use to receive work? Email, Dropbox, FTP? Why that medium?
Leon: I have a Gmail address specifically for work. This of course comes with Google Drive, which I couple with Dropbox. These are simple and very easy to use, also, everybody owns an account with them, and I can use them on the go over my phone. Some clients have their own FTP file sharing medium, that’s when I also use that.
Virginia: Do you use the same medium to return finished work (transcripts) back to the client?
Leon: Yes, unless specified, I use the same medium.
Virginia: How frequent do you communicate with your clients?
Leon: Communication is one of the key factors of outsourced projects. So if I’m working on a single project on a long term basis, I make a point of communicating at least thrice in 24 hours, even if the client doesn’t communicate back. Normally on short-term files I communicate with the client;
When I receive the files.
After I confirming the specifications and quality of files.
When I’m half way through the files, and need something I encountered specified.
When I’m done and have just returned the transcript.