Determining Your Virtual Assistant Services

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Old 06-05-2008
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Default General Transcription - Getting Started
Good morning everyone! I am looking for information on how to get started in the General Transcription field, as I would like to add this to my services list. I've done a general search on google, but was unable to find much info on how to actually get started. I have downloaded Express Scribe & having fun practicing, but it seems that most job requests want experienced only. Well...how do I get the experience??

Any insight into this area is greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-06-2008
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Hi Melissa

Transcription isn't everyone's cup of tea - it can be hard going sometimes (especially if you've got a group seminar and the audio quality is bad).

I always send people who are starting out and want a 'taster' of what transcription work is like to Casting Words, (just Google 'Casting Words')...there you'll find projects of between 2 mins - 9 mins in length and you can complete as many or as little as you like. Your work will be graded by other workers who will also leave feedback on your work. The pay isn't great, but it's an excellent way to step into the world of transcription to see if it's for you or not!!

Have fun!
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Old 06-06-2008
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Thank you so much for your response! I will definitely check it out.
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Old 03-08-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
thanks for the recommendation of the site I will check it out also
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Old 03-11-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Thanks MoragB.........I have also been looking into this area but haven't done it in a long time so it will be great to find out if I'm still 'up to par'.

Deanna
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Old 03-11-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
I wish that I had found this post earlier, I have already taken on a large project, but am happy to have found it now. It's great to have some audio to practice with in between projects, thanks for the advice!
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Old 03-16-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Does anyone know if Casting Words is still operating? I found this thread over the weekend, and googled to get the url. I could not get the page to load, then today, I get a message that the url does not exist on the server. I'm hoping the site is just down temporarily, but I'm afraid they may have gone away.
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Old 03-30-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Thanks for the information. I will check that site out myself.
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Old 04-26-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
GladysS,

perhaps the site was experience server issues when you visited. I just checked it today and it's up and running!
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Old 04-26-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
I also checked out the site today, and it is working just fine.

Dolores
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Old 06-09-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Great! I'm so glad I found this post! I'll also check out the site - My VA business is in the works and I'd really like to add transcription to the list of services I offer. Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
I just saw this thread, I am going to add in transcription to my other services. I used to have a medical transcription job back in the day.

I also have certificates for medical transcription & coding that I took at my local college but never did anything with it. So this post is appreciated.
Jo-Carole
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Old 06-09-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Thank you, MorajB for this information. I checked out the website of Casting Words and it led me to Amazon.com which was fine because I have an account with them. But then I became lost as to what it required next and understanding what to do.??

Deana
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Old 06-11-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Hi Deana,

I feel your pain; Amazon is not always easy to navigate or understand! But I think I can help you make some sense of it.

First, are you familiar with this special section of Amazon ("Mechanical Turk")? It's different than the Amazon.com that we're most familiar with, which generally sells objects we get delivered to our home. Mechanical Turk is a "marketplace for work" -- basically, companies who have a task that they need done can post it on Mechanical Turk, and then anyone with an Amazon account (such as you and me) can offer to do the task for them in exchange for payment.

Forgive me if you were already familiar with that; but I just want to make sure of it, since not everyone is!

So, secondly, the "Jobs" page on Casting Words has a step-by-step tutorial that you've probably already seen. If you follow the instructions by clicking on the links that they provide, I think it does a pretty good job of taking you through to the final step, where you can browse their jobs and pick one to do. Have you given that a shot?

Good luck! And if you still feel stuck, please just write back and I'll try to help you! I'm going to head over there now and do some, myself, and try some of them out.

Liz

ps. MoragB, thank you *so* much for this info! I want to add transcription to my services, but I'm new to it, so I'm really excited to use Casting Words to get some experience.
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Old 06-11-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Thank you Liz for that info! I only knew Amazon.com as a place to go when I want to purchase books, etc. This is a whole new area for me but I will proceed on and find out more as you instructed. It is so much appreciated!!! I will report back to this thread to let you know how it goes. Thank you.
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Old 06-11-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Great! Let me know how it goes! Good luck.

Liz
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Old 06-12-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
I'll be giving this a shot...if nothing else, it's good practice! Thanks so much for this info!!
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Old 06-12-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
That is the right attitude to have, Nikia, and if I do not land myself a 9-5 job I will go for it also. Thanks
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Old 06-12-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Can you tell me how to get the MP3 to open using Escribe? I can not figure this out, and it feels like such a simple thing to do...

Thanks!
Nikia
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Old 06-12-2009
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Default Re: General Transcription - Getting Started
Hi Melissa,

I fell into transcription as a backup for my other VA work and find now that most of my income is from this area, which is fine since I enjoy it. On a couple of other forums I participate on this topic has been raised on numerous occasions. The trick is to practice, as you have already learnt. Unfortunately some people think if you can type you can transcribe, which is very wrong. You need to have a good grasp of language, grammar, punctuation and be able to follow instructions.

Every client is different and will want their work done to their specs. For example I have one lady who doesn't want me to type anything she says on the interviews, just what the interveiwee says, and she doesn't care about spelling of foreign places and words. Another client just wants it to sound natural and they are only using it for reference, so again, not too fussy. Of course, then you have medical and legal and you have to put every um and ah and 'you know like' in there, which can be tedious. Not to mention focus groups where you will have more than 4 people speaking at the same time! It's all fun and games.

Try and network with other VAs who do transcription and you may be able to subcontract to them to get experience. Jobs that don't have a tight deadline are a good opportunity as the client doesn't need to know how long a job takes (unless they are paying by the hour). Mostly payment is by the audio minute, so if you take a long time the client pays the same as if you were super speedy. If you can get general transcription rather than a specialised field it will be a big help. I was lucky to get some uni lectures from a student and some interviews by a lady doing family history, so there wasn't much to worry about terminology etc.

Good luck with it. When you get the hang of it and start getting regular work it can be quite enjoyable. Make sure you have good equipment -proper closed headphones (not just cheap ear buds) a foot pedal (even though Express Scribe can use hot keys, which I used to start with, it really does make it easier and faster to use a pedal) and a room that doesn't have a lot of background noise so you can concentrate. I would also recommend having the NCH programs Switch to convert audio file format and Wavepad, which is handy if you are sending audio files and need to split files or merge.

Okay - I'll stop waffling on now!

Cheers,
Marie
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