Transcription companies generally take a battery of online transcription tests that will thoroughly judge you on the important skills required to do transcription work. It includes your language, grammar, spelling, punctuation and listening skills, knowledge of the required computer software, and good keyboarding skills.
The 8 Simple Hacks to Pass Transcription Tests Online
Here are tips to keep in mind for passing a transcription test taken online by the transcription companies before they hire you for work:
Practice Typing Regularly
Understand Proper Punctuation
Brush Up on Grammar and Spelling
While each company sets its own standards for acceptable typing speed, you should set a goal to type at least 60 words per minute (wpm) without errors. It’s possible to type as slowly as 35 wpm and pass transcription tests, but any slower than that can be challenging. Learn to place your fingers on the keyboard without looking at them in your transcription practice sessions.
It’s helpful to practice audio transcription from videos that you enjoy, even if you don’t own transcription equipment yet. If you really want a career in this field, you will need to make typing a regular habit. Keep in mind that in most cases accuracy is more important than speed, although both are important skills.
Being able to hear words from audio recordings properly is a major requirement for passing a transcription test online. Typing too many wrong words during testing can adversely affect your score. Make sure when you practice and test that you are completely focused on the audio without distractions. That usually means turn off the TV or any other background noise that may disrupt your performance.
There may be times when words are completely unintelligible, in which you will either insert this term in brackets such as [unintelligible] or whatever the study guide for a specific test calls for. Transcription tests are timed so you will have to use your best judgment and move on.
Punctuation is a tricky topic because different rules for punctuation are applied by different sources, depending on the purpose. Academic writing, for example, has strict punctuation rules in which the US and UK differ. In the US, periods and commas are usually placed inside quotes but are placed outside in the UK. Remember in your transcription practice to already know which method you will use, as determined by where the testing is based.
Transcribing for a media firm may have different punctuation rules. While much of AP style conforms to American academic punctuation rules, media outlets that are more commentary-based often have looser rules. So it’s easy to be thrown off “proper English” rules if you read a lot of pop culture literature. To be safe, you should practice audio transcription using standard academic rules for testing. Then in your transcription practice, follow the rules according to your client or employer.
Proper grammar and spelling are extremely crucial in transcription tests. Use a spellcheck program when you practice audio transcription to gauge your accuracy. Make sure that you understand the functions of each of the following eight classifications of words used in the English language:
- nouns (persons beyond pronouns, places or things: kid, playground, toy)
- pronouns (relate to people: me, him, her)
- adjectives (descriptive words: beautiful, smart, happy)
- verbs (action words: walk, run, swim)
- adverbs (express how something is done: slowly, moderately, quickly)
- prepositions (relate to another word: on the beach, at the park, in the air)
- conjunctions (words that connect thoughts: and, but, or)
- interjections (emotional standalone words: hey, hi, yes)
Learn Transcription Formatting
In order to score high on a transcription test online, you will need to have a clear understanding of transcription formatting. Transcription services and schools usually require specific formatting, which you will need to review in the particular institution’s study guide. Typically, you will insert a line break between speakers. Identifiers such as “speaker” or “audience” are usually typed in bold. Transcription tests often ask participants to save a file, using the appropriate file name and extension (such as – Test.mp4). Page layouts, margins, font types, and sizes are also part of formatting.
Use Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is essential to transcription practice. There will be times when you must make decisions on what the speaker says and the context in which words are used. Since many words have multiple meanings, you will need to make judgments, such as whether a person said “here” or “hear.”
Invest in Transcription Tools
If you work independently, you will need to invest in your own audio recording equipment and accessories, such as a headset and transcription software. A headset will help you be more comfortable and concentrate better when taking a transcription test online.
Free Resources and Practice Files to Polish Your Transcription Skills
If you are looking for some quality resources and practice files to pass transcription tests, you can find a few listed below:
- Free Typing Training: It offers a free, fun and engaging classroom learning program for both the teachers and students
- How Well You Transcribe: You can try this link to test your transcription skills.
- Listen and Write: This is a useful resource to test your listening ability.
- Express Scribe Practice Transcription Files: This again, is a useful resource to judge your transcription skills.
Wondering how much money you can make as a transcriptionist? Watch this video! It’s for you!
Over to You!
Passing transcription tests aren’t complicated if you prepare yourself accordingly and practice audio transcription. While typing speed comes with time, the main concerns during testing deal more with accurate interpretation of what you hear and type. You must have a strong command of grammar and spelling. It’s best to develop a full understanding of what transcription involves as far as tools and requirements before attempting to take a test for certification.
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Mahesh is the spokesperson of the Transcription Certification Institute, an Ellensburg, WA based company that provides comprehensive online general transcription training certification courses. This transcription certification course facilitates careers in transcription because it provides a guaranteed internship with a major transcription company upon certification.