How to be a good transcriptionist

January 15, 2013 Samantha

Online Virtual Assistant and Transcription Careers

So you’re looking to ditch your nine-to-five and start a career online. You know where to find work and what the job entails; you have the qualifications and experience, but what else does it take to succeed online and what are virtual assistant and transcription companies really looking for? So here is a comprehensive list of the personal attributes you will need to have:


To make a successful career as a transcriptionist or online secretary, you need to be reliable. Online work is competitive and if you are reliable and get work back on time, you will ne rewarded with more work. Reputation is highly important – if a company considers you to be unreliable, there are countless other online contractors to take the job!

Fast Typing Speed

To make a decent wage out of online transcription services, you will need a reasonably fast typing speed. Many secretaries make the mistake of believing they can get away with having a slow typing speed or even not touch typing when working online as their employers cannot observe their speed but can only observe whether work is back on time. The truth is typing speed is not important to transcription companies (aside from returning audio dictations or interviews requiring quick turnarounds). Transcription service work is paid on a ‘per audio minute’ basis and if your typing speed is slow, you will quickly grow tired of feeling as if you are working hours on end for little reward! Type fast and the money is good!

Accurate Typing Skills

Once you find work typing audio or video, you need to make sure your standards of grammar and spelling, and the accuracy of what you type is high. Most transcription companies do proofreading spot checks on typists and if your work is found to be lacking in quality, you may not be offered more work. Proofreaders are expensive to transcription companies, and typists are expected to be of a standard that they check and ensure the accuracy of their own work.

The Right Work Ethic

The biggest mistake online secretaries and transcriptionists make is believing that they can pick and choose their work. All audio typists want the good quality audio files without accents, and very few (if any) want to take the low quality files. However, contracting work is give and take, and although your employer is online, you still need to build a relationship that demonstrates your work. If you are willing to take on poor quality work that is difficult to allocate, your transcription company is more likely to return the favour by allowing you to ‘pick and choose’ sometimes in order to keep you happy.

If you are appropriately experienced, qualified and fulfil all the above criteria, and are looking for work as an online secretary typist or transcriptionist, you can contact us via our website submission form, have an online chat or email us at

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