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Note: Last Updated Sept 10th, 2020
If you’re serious about making money as a transcriptionist, having the best transcription software and foot pedal is a must. That’s a lesson I wished I had learnt sooner. Like a delivery man without a truck, trying to transcribe without any help may work, but you’re literally throwing money away each hour by being much slower than you can be with the right equipment.
One of the key features of a good transcription software is the ability to alter the audio source playback quickly and without altering the pitch. You want to be able to slow down, rewind, or fast forward with ease and accuracy, as you’re be doing those things many times over in a session.
But software can only do so much. One of the most essential piece of transcription equipment is the foot pedal. Instead of manipulating the audio playback using your hands, a foot pedal lets you do it with your feet, freeing up the other two extremities to type. It may not seem like much, but for me, that literally doubled my typing speed once I got the hang of it. It’s also so much more ergonomic and easy on my wrist, not having to constantly juggle between the keyboard, mouse, and back to keyboard again pausing, rewinding, and fast forwarding the audio file.
Now that you understand the importance of a good transcription software and equipment when it comes to transcribing, here are the best transcription tools for 2020 based on my personal experience and research:
Best Transcription Kits
Transcription Kits come with everything out of the box- the software and foot pedal. The two best ones are:
Express Scribe Pro is one of the most well known names when it comes to transcription software. The package includes the Pro version of Express Scribe software, plus a foot pedal and headset. The pedal is hefty so it doesn’t move around, and is contoured for comfort. 3 buttons lets you rewind, pause, and play the audio file with ease. This is one the gold standard of transcription kits, and is also the one I currently own.
If you’re just starting out in your transcribing endeavor, it might make sense to just invest in the hardware, and settle for the free version of Express Scribe for the time being. Infinity is the most popular foot pedal on the market for a reason. It’s lightweight, ergonomic, and perhaps most importantly, very durable. The main switch has been stress tested for over 2,000,000 depressions.
Best Transcription Software
This is a versatile piece of software that does everything you’d expect from a good transcription software. The interface is extremely well laid out and user friendly. Lots of hotkeys to make transcribing as efficient as possible. The software supports both audio and video playback.
Inqscribe is an advanced transcription software that works with audio and video files. Many people use Inqscribe to add subtitles to videos. Just open the audio or video file, and use the right panel to transcribe what you hear. You can insert timecodes alongside a transcription to easily jump to the point in the video it corresponds to.
This a simple, no fuss transcription software that’s also free. In truth it’s basically a media player bundled with a text editor, though a few handy features make it more than just the sum of its part. The skip arrows for example move the recording forward or back just a few seconds, making it easier to zero in on a single word or short phrase. Also, when you hit the Pause button, Listen N Write’s media player reverses the recording by one second, which helps keep words from being truncated. It’s a good software if you’re just doing very light and basic transcription work, though inadequate for anything more.
files from different clients to transcribe. The foot pedal is durable and built to last, though it only works with compatible Olympus software.
Best Transcription Foot Pedals
If you’re already using some sort of transcription software and wish to add a foot pedal to your work flow to really boost your output, the following foot pedal is the most highly rated on Amazon. Just make sure there are no compatibility issues between the software and pedal before you make the purchase.
Over 450 perfect 4 stars on Amazon says this is a damn good transcription foot pedal. It comes with 3 pedals to control your audio or video playback, and a very generous 93 inches of cord to plug into your computer, wherever that may be. The pedal is compatible with Express Scribe Pro, to name a few software.
Best Transcription Training
Having the proper equipment is only half the equation when it comes to being successful at transcription. If you’re just breaking into the field, having some transcription training can mean the difference between landing your first client or not, and leaving a good impression or getting the boot before you even finish your first project.
One of the best video courses on general transcribing is Chelsea Flint’s “Learn Beginning to Advanced Transcription Skills“. As a transcriptionist herself, Chelsea knows exactly what skills you need to master to succeed, and delivers them to you in a format that’s easy to digest and fun.
The course is also super affordable, at $19 when on sale.
Ergonomic Office Chair
Finally, when you’re transcribing, it really helps to have a comfortable chair from my experience. If your chair is uncomfortable, you’ll quickly develop back and neck pain from sitting.
If you’re on a budget, check out my list of the best office chairs under $50.
Also take a look at Ergonomic Trend’s picks for the best ergonomic office chairs if you’re willing to spend a little more.
In today’s modern world, you’re only as good as the best tools if you want to be competitive. In the world of transcription, the right software and equipment will pay itself back many times over, by making you more efficient and less prone to errors. And that makes them a no brainer to invest in.
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