Transcription jobs generally involve the transfer of verbal information into a written form, although the term transcription is also used in the fields of music and genetics. Stenographers and court reporters directly transcribe speech. Medical transcription is the transcription of medical records from oral into typed form. Other less industry-specific varieties of transcription also use data from audio files. Transcriptionists are also employed to aid the deaf with telecommunications.
Stenographers and court reporters are responsible for keeping an accurate, typed record of meetings and legal proceedings. Transcription jobs in these areas once relied solely on an individual's typing or shorthand speed. Modern systems record data digitally, which is then used to build a transcript and also kept on hand as an audio record, to further guarantee accuracy. Proficiency in specialized transcription techniques as well as knowledge of a specialized vocabulary are generally required for these transcription jobs. Speed and accuracy are of paramount importance.
Medical transcription is a very active field, dealing with the transfer of audio records of medical information to text. Many medical organizations prefer to collect records as audio recordings and have the recordings transcribed at a later date, rather than have medical personnel type information in. Work in this field requires attention to detail and a solid understanding of medical terminology in order to ensure accurate transcription. Most organizations have specific standards of training that their transcriptionists must meet in order to assure that they have this proficiency.
A number of transcription jobs facilitate access to information by the deaf. Transcriptionists are employed to provide subtitling for television programming, although in some cases, technology has replaced human transcriptionists in this role. Speed, accuracy, and language proficiency are critical for this work.
Human transcriptionists also serve as a key link in communications for the deaf. Most nations have some version of a speech to teletype conversion exchange. Transcriptionists employed by these exchanges type information received orally into devices that transmit it as text into the homes or cell phones of the deaf and then speak the typed replies in the other direction. Speed and accuracy are crucial in these sorts of transcription jobs as is an ability to respect the privacy rights of the clients of such a service.