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Become A Transcriber

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Working As A Transcriber

  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
  • Getting Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • $51,043

    Average Salary

Example Of What A Transcriber does

  • Transcribed CDs, workbooks; word processing included headers, footers, and inserting graphics.
  • Transcribe oral histories using Dictaphone.
  • Completed six months of training in the Typewell program.
  • Transcribed college textbooks onto audio tapes for disabled students.
  • Typed medical records for different doctors from a Dictaphone 8 hrs a day.
  • Transcribed recorded interviews in order to file them into an online archive.
  • Use the full suite of Microsoft Office programs to perform all transcribing duties.
  • Assemble transcripts and make visual copies of evidence that are admitted during trial and/or court proceedings.
  • General office duties to include filing, copying, data entry, answering phones, and scanning.
  • Transcribed audio files for insurance companies around the country.
  • Coordinated transcription services over several shows, including House Hunters, The Amazing Race, and Hell's Kitchen.
  • Position was temporary due to the brief absence of current transcriber.E-Mail: marcinczykn@yahoo.comHome: 973-827-8732/ cell: 973-615-4228Work Experience
  • Transcribe audio and video files within time allotted as per clients specifications.PER DIEM DIRECT SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL
  • Work directly with Producers at WNET
  • Proofread preliminary drafts prior to submission, typing at 75WPM.
  • Interpreted voice searches and commands while cross-referencing internet search results.
  • Transcribe audio files into Microsoft Word documents Edit large documents for spelling, grammar, and specific formatting requirements Meet strict deadlines
  • Transcribed depositions, hearings, interrogatories, investigations and other legal documents in both English and Spanish.
  • Converted recorded digital files (and tapes) into MS Word documents using Express Scribe program.
  • Used Avid software to review raw video footage to transcribe.

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How To Become A Transcriber

Although interpreters and translators typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, the most important requirement is that they be fluent in at least two languages (English and at least one other language). Many complete job-specific training programs. It is not necessary for interpreters and translators to have been raised in two languages to succeed in these jobs, but many grew up communicating in the languages in which they use for work.


The educational backgrounds of interpreters and translators vary widely, but it is essential that they be fluent in English and at least one other language.

High school students interested in becoming an interpreter or translator should take a broad range of courses that focus on English writing and comprehension, foreign languages, and computer proficiency. Other helpful pursuits for prospects include spending time in a foreign country, engaging in direct contact with foreign cultures, and reading extensively on a variety of subjects in English and at least one other language. Through community organizations, students interested in sign language interpreting may take introductory classes in American Sign Language (ASL) and seek out volunteer opportunities to work with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Beyond high school, people interested in becoming interpreters or translators have numerous educational options. Although many jobs require a bachelor’s degree, majoring in a language is not always necessary. Rather, an educational background in a particular field of study can provide a natural area of subject-matter expertise.


Interpreters and translators generally need specialized training on how to do their work. Formal programs in interpreting and translating are available at colleges and universities nationwide and through nonuniversity training programs, conferences, and courses.

Many people who work as interpreters or translators in more technical areas—such as software localization, engineering, or finance—have a master’s degree. Those working in the community as court or medical interpreters or translators are more likely to complete job-specific training programs or certificates.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There is currently no universal certification required of interpreters and translators beyond passing the required court interpreting exams offered by most states. However, workers can take a variety of tests that show proficiency. For example, the American Translators Association provides certification in 27 language combinations involving English.

Federal courts provide judiciary certification for Spanish, Navajo, and Haitian Creole interpreters, and many states offer their own certifications or licenses for these languages.

The National Association of the Deaf and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf jointly offer certification for general sign language interpreters. In addition, the registry offers specialty tests in legal interpreting, speech reading, and deaf-to-deaf interpreting—which includes interpreting among deaf speakers of different native languages and from ASL to tactile signing.

The U.S. Department of State has a three-test series for prospective interpreters—one test in simple consecutive interpreting (for escort work), another in simultaneous interpreting (for court work), and a third in conference-level interpreting (for international conferences)—as well as a test for prospective translators. These tests are not considered a credential, but their completion indicates that a person has significant skill in the occupation.

The International Association of Conference Interpreters offers information for conference interpreters.

The Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters offers two types of certifications for healthcare interpreters: Associate Healthcare Interpreter, for interpreters of languages other than Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin; and Certified Healthcare Interpreter, for interpreters of Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin.

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters offers certification for medical interpreters of Spanish.

Other Experience

A good way for translators to learn firsthand about the occupation is to start working in-house for a translation company. Doing informal or volunteer work is an excellent way for people seeking interpreter or translator jobs to gain experience.

Volunteer opportunities for interpreters are available through community organizations, hospitals, and sporting events, such as marathons, that involve international competitors.

Paid or unpaid internships are other ways that interpreters and translators can gain experience. Escort interpreting may offer an opportunity for inexperienced candidates to work alongside a more experienced interpreter. Interpreters also may find it easier to begin working in industries with particularly high demand for language services, such as court or medical interpreting.

Whatever path of entry new interpreters and translators pursue, they should develop mentoring relationships with experienced workers in the field to build their skills and confidence and to establish and expand a network of contacts. Mentoring may be formal, such as that received through a professional association, or informal, such as that engaged in with a coworker or an acquaintance who has experience as an interpreter or translator. Both the American Translators Association and the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf offer formal mentoring programs.


After interpreters and translators have enough experience, they can move up to more difficult assignments, seek certification, and obtain editorial responsibility. They can also manage or start their own business.

Many self-employed interpreters and translators start their own business by first establishing themselves in their field. They may submit resumes and samples to different translation and interpreting companies and work for companies that match their skills with a job. Many then get work on the basis of their reputation or through referrals from existing clients.

Important Qualities

Business skills. Self-employed and freelance interpreters and translators need general business skills to manage their finances and careers successfully. They must set prices for their work, bill customers, keep records, and market their services in order to build their client base.

Concentration. Interpreters and translators must have the ability to concentrate while others are speaking or moving around them.

Cultural sensitivity. Interpreters and translators must be sensitive to cultural differences and expectations among the people whom they are helping to communicate. Successful interpreting and translating is a matter not only of knowing the words in different languages but also of understanding people’s cultures.

Dexterity. Sign language interpreters must be able to make quick and coordinated hand, finger, and arm movements when interpreting.

Interpersonal skills. Interpreters and translators, particularly those who are self-employed, must be able to get along with those who hire or use their services in order to retain clients and attract new business.

Listening skills. Interpreters must listen carefully when interpreting for audiences to ensure that they hear and interpret correctly.

Reading skills. Translators must be able to read in all of the languages in which they are working.

Speaking skills. Interpreters and translators must speak clearly in all of the languages in which they are working.

Writing skills. Translators must be able to write clearly and effectively in all of the languages in which they are working.

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Transcriber jobs

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Transcriber Typical Career Paths

Transcriber Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Japanese

  • Mandarin

  • German

  • Arabic

  • Italian

  • Chinese

  • Portuguese

  • Hebrew

  • Russian

  • Cantonese

  • Korean

  • Khmer

  • Czech

  • Filipino

  • Greek

  • Irish

  • Ukrainian

  • Polish

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Transcriber Education


    • University of Colorado at Boulder

    • New York University

    • Howard University

    • Northern Arizona University

    • University of Phoenix

    • California State University - Los Angeles

    • Indiana University Bloomington

    • Hofstra University

    • Colorado State University

    • California State University - Northridge

    • George Mason University

    • University of Washington

    • University of Kentucky

    • University of Delaware

    • Syracuse University

    • Champlain College

    • Southern Connecticut State University

    • University of California - Berkeley

    • University of North Carolina at Greensboro

    • University of North Texas

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    • Bachelors

    • Other

    • Masters

    • Associate

    • Certificate

    • Doctorate

    • Diploma

    • License

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Top Skills for A Transcriber


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Top Transcriber Skills

  1. Transcribe Audio Files
  2. Online
  3. WPM
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Follow language specific guidelines to accurately transcribe audio files.
  • Worked under the Supervision of Katie McCormick, editing audio and digital documentaries and updating the Special collections online database.
  • Proofread preliminary drafts prior to submission, typing at 75WPM.
  • Interpret and transcribe audio recordings into text
  • Worked remotely while keeping an open line of communication with producers and production coordinators.

Top Transcriber Employers

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Transcriber Videos

5 Online Transcription Jobs - No Prior Experience

Career Profile: Medical Transcription