Audio transcription work | Transcription WFH

Audio transcription work | Transcription WFH

How to become an audio typist

Audio transcription work | Transcription WFH (work from home). So you want to know how to become an audio typist. What should I charge for transcription services? Which foot pedal should I use, and how do I use it? If audio transcription is one of the services you would like to offer but you are not sure how to start then read on!

There are many brands of foot pedals to choose from such as the

What is an audio typist

Let’s start by looking at what an audio typist is. An audio typist is someone who specializes in creating documents by typing up text from an audio file. They type up what they hear and produce documents such as letters, reports, manuscripts, theses, etc. This type of work can be done by a large number of people as nowadays most people are comfortable with using a keyboard.

You will be pleased to hear there are plenty of opportunities out there to carry out audio transcription work from home. But you should also be aware there is also a lot of competition, so be informed before you start. 

What skills do I need?

As mentioned above most people today are comfortable using a keyboard, but there are some additional skills that should help you become an audio typist.

  • Ability to type fast, generally around 65 wpm (words per minute)
  • Ability to touch type without looking at the keyboard – this will help maintain your speed
  • A high degree of accuracy is required
  • Excellent understanding of English, or other relevant languages
  • Excellent understanding of grammar
  • High level of concentration

Whilst it is not necessary to undertake formal audio typing training, it may be beneficial for you to try out some of the online typing speed tests that are readily available. This will allow you to practice how fast, and accurately, you can transcribe an audio file.

As a guide, we speak 4x times faster than we can type – so there may be a lot of stopping and starting until you get the audio playback speed set to match your typing speed.

What equipment do I need?

Okay, so what equipment do you need to set yourself up as a transcriptionist?  Actually, very little!

  1. PC or laptop
  2. Foot pedal
  3. Earphones/Headset
  4. Transcription software

That’s it – 4 items and you can start to carry out audio transcription work 😊

Don’t forget to have a look around the internet for software that offers ‘free’ versions, or ‘trial’ versions.  These will allow you to test things out before going ahead with any purchase of the pro versions. The pro versions allow access to other features, such as transcribing video files.

Setting up a transcription foot pedal

Setting up your transcription foot pedal is really simple as most come in a Plug & Play format. Simply plug it in via the USB, wait for the foot pedal software to install and you are nearly there – just one more step required. Don’t forget to link up to your transcription software, such as Express Scribe, and complete any customization you may want to make.

Best foot pedals for transcription

There are many foot pedals to choose from on the market, so hopefully, we have made it slightly easier for you as we have created an article listing the ‘best foot pedals for transcription‘. There is also an article on ‘best transcription headphones’. Pop on over and have a look.

Styles of audio transcription

There are three main styles of transcription and you should confirm with your client BEFORE you commence any transcription work which style they would like you to use.


This style of transcription is the most accurate. It means you need to include all of the verbal and non-verbal sounds on the audio/video file.  This type of transcription is very time-consuming as each sound and nuance must be transcribed. Things to include are:

  • Pauses
  • False starts
  • Background noises (telephones ringing, etc.)
  • Interruptions/Outbursts
  • When someone repeats themselves
  • Emotions (laughter, crying, sighing, whispering)
  • Unclear audio (a timestamp is generally added to indicate the audio was unclear)

This type of transcription is suitable for court transcripts, university research, police interviews, and film and television scripts. In fact, any arena where a true and accurate account is important.


Whilst a verbatim record is extremely accurate it can also be extremely difficult to read as it contains all the “um” or “you know” within the text.  This is where an edited transcription can be a better option. It will only include the relevant parts of the audio/video file and drops all the unnecessary bits.  Careful consideration needs to be given by the transcriber as to what they feel they can leave out of the transcript without changing the overall message.

This type of transcription would be used for speeches, conferences and seminars, minutes of meetings, or publications.


This style of transcription still requires an accurate transcription but allows you to exclude coughs, laughter, background noises, etc. It also allows you to exclude all the repetition, false starts, and pauses.  The transcriber will be able to paraphrase what is being said in order to make the transcript read easily.  This style of transcription is carried out by highly skilled transcriptionists who can easily convey the purpose of the meeting without losing any clarity, accuracy, or meaning.

This type of transcription would be used for speeches, interviews for publication, conferences, and seminars.


There are two main ways of pricing – by the hour (how long it takes you to type up the work), or pence per minute (how long the actual recording runs for).  You may also want to consider pence per word or per page options, but generally, we would suggest you consider the first two options.

Industry guidelines indicate that we speak 4 x faster than we can type, so, therefore, a 15-minute audio recording will take up to approximately 60 minutes to type. When working out your work schedule don’t forget to include the length of the original recording, i.e. 15 minutes for proofing time.

We find that most clients prefer a ‘pence per minute’ price as this is easily calculated. This option provides a clear cost per piece of work.

A price ‘by the hour’ does not incentivize the transcriber to complete the work in a timely manner, in fact, it is in their favor to deliberately slow the transcription speed down.  We do not believe this is fair to the client and will also cause problems when you are trying to provide a quote for your client.

Things to consider:

  • Style of transcription required
  • Pricing structure
  • Turnaround time (remember the 4 x rule)
  • If possible, try to listen to a short snippet of the audio – is it clear?  Are there a lot of background noises? Are there different accents?  Are there multiple speakers?  Is it technical?

So now you are ready to start transcribing audio files – happy typing.


With a few pieces of equipment and some software, you can start transcribing audio files and start earning money from home as an audio transcriber| freelancer | remote worker. Go on – give it a go.