How to get better at transcribing is the next logical question once you’ve figured out how to do transcription.

As a beginner, the field of transcription can be daunting, especially if you can’t type fast, or understand various English accents.  But just like anything else in life, practice makes perfect.  So, with continued practice you can master both of these skills easily.

However, when you ask how to get better at transcribing, there are several other factors that affect your earning ability on top of just typing speed and English comprehension.

Our aim with this post is not just help you on how to get better at transcribing, but also how acquiring new skills can help in other areas of your professional life.

Increase Your Typing Speed

In the world of audio transcription, as it is true for any other profession, more speed and efficiency equals more income.

For transcription, your earning ability is directly related to how fast you can type while making the least amount of errors.  It’s actually fun, in a challenging way.

1. Learn to Love Typing

how to get better at transcribing

Typing speed not only helps with transcription, but it also dovetails well into several other fields like copywriting, marketing, media management etc.

In the digital age, the possibilities are endless.

When you ask how to get better at transcribing, you want to not only be good at your job, but also waste as little time as possible and enjoy the whole process.

And it can be enjoyable!

Once you improve your typing skills and then master it over time with persistence and perseverance, you can reach the state of “flow” often.  It’s a state of enjoyment while doing work, as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

2. Online Typing Tutors/Tests

You can Google “typing tutor” or “typing test” and choose from thousands of websites which help you increase your typing speed, something that factors in massively when you want to know how to get better at transcribing.

Some of the best online typing tutors are:

Typing Test: Simple and straightforward.  Just choose the duration of your test, type what you see on the screen, and it will tell you your WPM (words per minute) and accuracy once you’re done.

KeyBR:  This gives you your real time WPM speed, error data and also a score.

Please remember, if it’s frustrating and difficult at first, don’t give up.  Keep plugging away, and within minutes your muscle memory kicks in and it becomes a breeze.  The more you practice, the better you will get.

If you’re serious about making money online with transcription, and be efficient while saving time, you need to get fast, fast!

2. How to Get Better at Transcribing while Having Fun?

Play Typing Games

All the typing games listed below work in any modern browser.

If you want your heart racing as you learn typing, below are some typing games that can be fun for hours:

ZType

Free

how to get better at transcribing, ztype

Now, typing games usually have awful graphics, and even worse mechanics.

But ZType is different.

Even the most seasoned gamers will find this game impressive with its graphics and sound design for a browser game.  It’s a space invaders style game where each word is an enemy ship coming towards you, and you’ve got to type fast to destroy them.

Longer words are bigger enemy ships.  You also have about three proximity blast attacks if the enemy ships get too close.

Below is the game in action:

How to get better at transcribing?  Play games!  Best….profession….ever. 😉

TypeRacer

Free

how to get better at transcribing, typeracer

This is a fun game where you race against up to 4 competitors in a typing race.  The faster you type, the faster your car goes.  Before you know it, the competitive drive kicks in and you want to beat that other dude banging away on his keyboard on a Saturday night!

If you’re really fast, you get bragging rights in the latest high scores list which gets updated every few minutes.

However, as many other online games go, people will find a way to cheat, as the number 1 score (last I checked) is 222 WPM.  *cough*

SEGA Typing of the Dead Overkill

$19.55 – PC (Steam)


We’re getting into serious gaming category here.

If you’re a fan of the zombie survival genre with TV shows like The Walking Dead or video games like the Left for Dead series from Valve, this game would be hours and hours of fun.

How to get better at transcribing while shooting zombies?  Play this game.

It’s based on SEGA’s The House of the Dead arcade game, and SEGA have cleverly adapted it to be used as a typing based shooter.  Every zombie coming to eat your brains has a word associated with it, and every letter you type is a shot.  Once you’ve successfully completed a word, the zombie gets a final shot or a “headshot.”

As you progress through levels, the words become more difficult and the game becomes scarier.  Imagine having to type “Verisimilitude” trying to kill a rotting zombie gnawing away at your face!  Yikes!

3. Don’t Try to be Blazing Fast Straight Away

As we’ve said earlier in the post, practice makes perfect.  And perfection comes with patience.

Don’t be disheartened or give up if the going gets tough initially.  Focus on improving the muscle memory of your hands by typing as fast as you can without caring about WPM, accuracy or quality scores.

Once you have speed, it’s easier to build quality and accuracy later.  Build on your successes with determination and patience, like a house, brick by brick.

Eventually you will get into the 80-100 WPM club, cut your transcription time into half, save time and increase your earning ability.

4. Learn to Type with 10 Fingers:

how to get better at transcribing, type with 10 fingers

This is a no-brainer.  Typing with 10 fingers while looking at the screen is infinitely better than tapping your index fingers, while looking at the keyboard, one key at a time.  You are going to take twice the time to do the same thing.

It probably will take a maximum of one week to adjust to typing with 10 fingers.

If you want to do a full fledged course that takes you from a complete newbie to an expert typist, you could look at something like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing and Typing Master, which guides you step-by-step on which fingers should press which key and ultimately teach you to utilize all 10 fingers.

Use a good Transcription Software

By transcription software, we mean a manual audio playback software for transcription, and not transcription speech recognition software.

And no, you cannot use your laptop’s default media player to transcribe files.  You need a specialized transcription playback software with hot-key functionality and foot pedal compatibility to be able to control playback with minimum fuss.

Otherwise no matter how fast you type, you will waste time either play/pausing with your mouse, or use keyboard shortcuts that are not global hot-keys and don’t work as they’re supposed to.

In our previous article How to do Transcription, we’ve done a detailed roundup of the best transcription playback software available today, and also some more tips and tricks on how to get better at transcribing.

In brief, below is a list of some of the best transcription playback software available today:

Get Better at Online Research

If you don’t know how to use Google and other tools to do online research, transcription can become a hard nut to crack for you.

HubSpot’s article How to Search on Google can help you learn advanced tips and tricks for searching on Google, which can make a world of difference when you’re struggling to find difficult or obscure terms.

Leverage Google to become Better at Transcribing

What’s working in your favor in 2019 is how good Google’s search algorithm has become.  Even if you don’t put the perfect keyword in, it kind of understands what you mean to search for, and returns relevant results.

You can see a similar algorithm at work in Gmail.

Gmail has now become the girlfriend I never had.  It knows me so well from spying on my previous emails, that it completes my sentences with scary accuracy when I press the TAB key on my keyboard.  The machines are truly taking over.

Invest in Better Transcription Hardware

Foot Pedals

how to get better at transcribing? use foot pedals

We’d like to point you to our article How to do Transcription again for detailed review of the best transcription foot pedals available.

But in brief, below is a list of the best foot pedals for transcription playback available today:

Headphones

how to get better at transcribing, get better headphones

Please don’t buy overpriced Beats by Dr. Dre or Bose or any of the Apple crap.  An $80 Sennheiser headphone is more than enough to get the job done.

Another great brand making quality headphones that are great value-for-money is Audio Technica.

Both Sennheiser and Audio Technica make excellent, quality headphones which don’t break the bank and are perfect for transcription.  The only reason they’re not well known is because they don’t spend a lot of money on marketing and try to recoup that money from you like *cough* some other brands *cough*.

You can search Google for unbiased headphone reviews and choose one which gives you the best balance between clarity/fidelity, controls and price.

A good over-the-ear headphone or in-ear heaphone can make a world of difference when transcribing a difficult audio file.

Comfort & Environment

how to get better at transcribing, comfort and environment

It’s important to have a quiet, well lit working space, whether you’re transcribing or doing any other work which requires oodles of focus and concentration.

Separate your home office from your bedroom if you can.  From experience, it’s a bad idea to put your work desk and your computer in the same room where you rest or sleep.  Your brain finds it difficult to separate work and rest.

An ergonomic chair is essential to support your lower back, because you will spend a lot of hours sitting.  Unless you have a standing desk.

How to get better at transcribing?  Make it easier for your body and mind to heal.

Clarity & Feedback

Whether you’re dealing directly with a client or a transcription company, you will often receive instructions on the project or feedback on how to get better at transcribing.

We cannot emphasize the importance of:

  1. Asking clarifying questions about the instructions so you understand them fully.
  2. Being open to constructive feedback and not get too defensive.

Do these two things often and you will improve by leaps and bounds.


If you’ve read this article on how to get better at transcribing because you’ve got a boat-load of interviews you need to transcribe but can’t find the time, our transcription services is 99% accurate with a quick turnaround, and rated excellent on Trustpilot with 100% 5-star reviews.

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