Top 7 Academic Transcription Skills and Ways to Achieve Them

Top 7 Academic Transcription Skills and Ways to Achieve Them
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


As the world continues to move towards digitization, transcription services have become an integral part of academic research, interviews, and lectures. With the increasing demand for high-quality and accurate transcripts, developing the necessary skills to succeed in this field is crucial. With numerous transcription services available, it's essential to identify the academic transcription services skills and how to achieve them. 

Due to the growth of online learning and remote research, the demand for academic transcriptionists has seen an enormous surge and continues to rise as predicted. The U.S. transcription market was valued at $25.98 billion in 2022 and will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% from 2023 to 2030. The demand for academic transcriptionists is rising due to the growing need for accurate and reliable transcripts of academic discussions. 

We will discuss the top 5 academic transcription services skills and ways to achieve them. Whether you're a seasoned transcriptionist or just starting, this blog will provide valuable insights into what it takes to succeed in this field.

What Do Academic Transcriptionists Do?

Academic transcriptionists specialize in converting academic audio and video recordings into written text. It includes various educational content, such as lectures, interviews, research studies, and more. If you're curious about what academic transcriptionists do, here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Listen and transcribe

Academic transcriptionists listen to recordings and transcribe them into written text using specialized transcription software. They must have excellent listening and typing skills to ensure accuracy and completeness.

2. Format transcripts

Transcriptionists follow specific guidelines, such as those provided by academic institutions, publishers, or clients. They may include speaker identification, timestamps, and other elements as required.

3. Edit and proofread

Once the transcript is complete, transcriptionists edit and proofread it to ensure it is error-free and accurately reflects the content of the recording. They may use tools like spell-check and grammar-check to catch any mistakes.

4. Research terminology

Academic transcriptionists often encounter complex language and concepts related to the academic field they're working in. As such, they may need to research technical terms and jargon to ensure the transcript is accurate.

5. Maintain confidentiality

Academic transcriptionists must adhere to strict confidentiality guidelines, especially when dealing with sensitive research or personal information. They must ensure that any data or information in the recording remains private and secure.

6. Stay up-to-date with industry trends

Academic transcriptionists should stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, tools, and techniques. This may include attending conferences, taking courses, or networking with other professionals in the field.

Academic transcriptionists are critical in converting academic content into written text. With excellent listening, typing, and research skills, a keen eye for detail, and adherence to confidentiality guidelines, ensuring that academic content is accurate and professionally transcribed.

Also Read: How Can You Use Academic Transcription to Improve Learning Outcomes?

Necessary Skills to Become an Academic Transcriptionist

An academic transcriptionist requires a set of skills that are essential to excel in this profession. Here are the necessary skills:

1. Attentive Listening

Excellent listening skills are crucial for transcription work. Even when transcribing on general topics, a transcriptionist must have an acute understanding of dialogues, despite potential audio challenges such as background noise, crosstalk, and low-volume voices. In more challenging situations, a transcriptionist must make informed "sounds like" guesses for parts of the audio that are barely decipherable.

2. Fast Typing

The average typing speed of an individual is typically around 40-45 words per minute. However, a skilled transcriptionist can achieve a typing speed of 60-80 words per minute while making very few errors. In contrast, a professional audio transcriber can have an impressive typing speed of up to 100 words per minute. You can practice typing regularly and use online typing tools to improve your speed and accuracy to achieve this skill.

3. High Accuracy

After all, when it comes to academic transcription, there's no room for mistakes. Precision is key in the world of academic transcription, a single mistake can make or break your research. So, if you're looking to be a pro transcriber, you've got to aim for high accuracy. This means going over your work attentively, using spell-check and grammar-check tools to root out errors, and guaranteeing that every detail in your transcript matches the recording flawlessly. 

4. Keen Attention

A skilled transcriptionist must possess critical listening skills and an eye for detail to accurately transcribe audio recordings in an intelligent and pure verbatim style. This entails capturing even the minutest details, such as when a speaker uses filler words like "like" multiple times. In such cases, the audio transcriber should type out each instance, for example, " - like - like - like - like…", to ensure a faithful representation of the audio. Transcriptionists must also take note of pauses and instances of laughter, as these all contribute to the meaning conveyed by the speakers in the audio. Transcriptionists must be meticulous and adhere to client requests to ensure a high-quality and accurate transcript.

5. Focus and Determination

Becoming a proficient transcriptionist requires high focus and determination to deliver accurate and timely work. It is no easy task as a one-hour audio file can take six hours to transcribe, making it demanding. A transcriptionist must be able to tune out distractions and maintain concentration for extended periods to ensure the completeness and accuracy of their work. This dedication is essential to meet the job's demands and deliver transcripts that meet the required quality standards.

6. Goal-Oriented

As a transcriptionist, it is essential to be diligent and self-motivated in working towards the team's objective of providing high-quality transcripts within set deadlines. It requires a passionate and meticulous approach to the company's quality standards. By demonstrating diligence, strong goal orientation, and unwavering focus, transcriptionists can reap numerous benefits and rewards when their company recognizes their dedication. These include increased opportunities for career advancement, greater job satisfaction, and improved financial compensation.

7. Technology Proficiency

Technology is taking over the world, and transcription is no exception to this. As a transcriber, it's not necessary to be a computer whiz, but having some proficiency in the basics is a must. You should know how to use Microsoft Word to create professional transcription formats and be a master of Google searches to locate relevant information quickly. However, to take your skills to the next level, you should be open to learning and embracing new transcription software. With technology constantly advancing, being adaptable and willing to keep up with the latest tools is key to succeeding in this field.

Also Read: Tips for Starting Work as a Transcriptionist for GMR Transcription


At GMR Transcription Services, Inc., our transcriptionists possess all these skills, allowing us to provide our clients with the highest accuracy and reliability. Our team of human transcriptionists, all based in the United States, ensure that our transcripts are with 99% accuracy. We prioritize confidentiality and data security by using encryption throughout the transcription process. 

We handle recordings with multiple speakers and accents and offer custom formats. Expect the same or next-day turnaround, ready-to-use transcripts, and web linking for easy access. Register now, access our client dashboard, and start uploading your files that need to be transcribed.

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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.