Media Transcription Careers: Job Descriptions and Requirements

Media transcriptionists convert audiovisual media, such as films, podcasts, radio broadcasts, mp3 files, and television shows, into printable documents suitable for archival. They might also add time codes, subtitles, or closed captions to the media.

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Media Transcription Job Description

Media transcribing is an emerging form of transcription that creates text records of audiovisual files from television dramas, reality shows, news programs, game shows, podcasts, documentary footage, and audio interviews. In addition to providing a written record of the verbal dictation, media transcription may include providing descriptions of the on-screen action and time-coding to correlate the text with the audiovisual file. Unlike medical or business transcriptionists who work with dictation that is intended from the start to be converted to text, the work of media transcriptionists may include a finished program or reels of raw footage.

Media transcriptionists can work independently or for a company. Jobs are often telecommuting positions from home-based offices, relying on Internet connections and digital technology. The self-employed are far more likely to work hours that could include weekends and nights. Many media transcription companies deliver projects with turnaround times under 48 hours, so media transcriptionists frequently work under deadlines.

Media Transcription Career Requirements

While no formal training is required to obtain a career in media transcription, a strong understanding of the English language and accents, excellent hearing, listening skills, and fast typing are essential. Completion of a one-year certificate program from a transcription trade school or a two-year associate's degree is recommended, but not likely required. Many media transcription companies prefer candidates to have prior experience in court reporting, medical transcription, business transcription, or other fields that incorporate speech-to-text conversion.

Because this is a largely home-based telecommuting career, a computer with a basic setup including an Internet connection, a sound card, a headset word processing software, and codecs for various media files is needed. Specialized transcription software is available, and some require use of a foot pedal for hands-free control of media playback while the transcriptionist types. A media transcriptionist's continued employment depends largely on delivering accurate transcripts within the set deadline.

Salary Information and Job Outlook

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide information specific to media transcriptionists, it does provide data regarding the employment and wages of court reporters, who provide similar services in different circumstances. The BLS predicts that court reporting will likely grow as an industry by about 14% between 2010 and 2020 and indicated that the median annual salary earned by reporters was around $48,160 in May 2012.

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