What Is The Key Difference Between a Typist, Transcriptionist, and Stenographer?

What Is The Key Difference Between a Typist, Transcriptionist, and Stenographer?
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Businesses often hire professionals to take care of document writing, correspondence, and other materials.

It is important to identify the skills needed to hire the right person. The manager needs to have clarity when distinguishing between different professions from the same industry.

This article discusses the differences between a typist, transcriptionist, and stenographer.

What’s the Difference Between a Typist, Transcriptionist, and Stenographer?

Before making a decision, you need to distinguish among the roles to make the best use of the right talent for the right role.

Let's understand the general difference between the three professions to find the right match for your business needs.


A typist is a person who types documents using a typewriter or a computer. They may or may not be given other responsibilities within the company, such as answering calls and other general duties.

There are hardly any businesses hiring full-time typists, with advanced technology to take care of complex tasks. 

Professional typists must produce hard copies of documents with fast typing skills and common spelling or grammatical errors.

If you are looking for professional writers, you might want to consider several skills, such as:

  • Computer Skills: Typists must have a strong understanding of working with computers. Especially when they are hired remotely, it's important that they install software, log into the computer's system, troubleshoot, and upload files.
  • Fast and Accurate Typing: As discussed before, professional typists are judged based on their typing speed proficiency and ability to produce error-free documents. For an entry-level position, 60 to 65 words per minute (wpm) is sufficient.
  • Good Hearing and Proofreading Skills: If a typist needs to transcribe files as well, they would need to clearly understand people's speech even if they have a pronounced accent and accurately type whatever is being said.


If you need your audio file transcribed, you might want to look for transcriptionists with similar skills as a typist.

Typists type documents for clients and turn notes into memos or client communication. Transcribers often have to produce written records of audio or video files.

See Also: Why Is Spanish Transcription Necessary for Businesses?

Most transcribers would develop skills similar to subject matter experts.

For instance, a medical transcriptionist might have previous healthcare experience. Other common specialties include legal transcription, academic transcription, typing for court proceedings, and all the other transcription services needed.

Some top skills to look out for when hiring a transcriptionist are as follows:

  • Sharp Memory: Sharp memory, along with attentive listening, can be a huge plus for transcribers. Having a sharp memory allows the person to type with fewer pauses between videos and type longer dialogues without missing a single word.
  • Punctuation, Grammar, and Spelling Proficiency: Some transcription tasks may require producing verbatim-based content, while others would be more inclined to get easy-to-read and clean transcripts. Hence, professionals must be apt at producing error-free and grammatically correct content without fail.
  • Adhering to Privacy Guidelines: A transcriptionist should be well aware of and strictly follow all privacy and security guidelines applicable to your organization to protect your and your client’s information and avoid data leaks.
  • Good Listening, Discerning Accented Speech, and Proofreading: Transcriptionists must be able to understand others with accents while working on audio and video transcription.


Stenographers exhibit similar skills as transcribers. While transcribers have to create the written content of audio files, stenographers sit in the courtroom keeping track of legal proceedings for future reference.

They have speeds of about 300 words per minute and use a steno machine to write in shorthand to ensure speediness.

That’s because stenographers are focused on writing as fast as someone can speak. They type in real-time scenarios, e.g., court proceedings.

The top skills of a Stenographer are:

  • Knowledge of the Steno Code: Stenography is vastly different from typing. Instead of typing words, steno develops a special lettered code which is then deciphered into English. Professional stenographers need to learn and be highly proficient in this code),
  • Curiosity: Curiosity helps stenographers explore the diverse world using different kinds of languages. Even when they mostly work in the legal field, they must remain updated with the latest happenings from all related fields to capture and understand the rich vocabulary properly.
  • Passion and Tenacity: A good stenographer would be passionate about his job and consistently practice hearing and typing skills to remain competitive in the market. The work may sometimes be a little difficult, but they should not be discouraged.

See Also: Podcast Translation: Are Podcasts Getting More Multilingual?

You need to understand your business needs accurately to optimally utilize the power of a stenographer, transcriptionist, or typist effectively.

GMR Transcription Services, Inc. is a US-based transcription service company that has transcribed over 6 million minutes of audio recording. Our services include audio transcription, video transcription, legal transcription services, and more.

We produce transcripts with 99% accuracy and a fast turnaround time. Call our team today for more information and to get a quote.

Get Latest News & Insights Sent Directly To Your Inbox

Related Posts

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.