Now if you ask most people in Kenya what transcription is the answer would be, “I don’t know.” This is because transcription is not very popular in Kenya although in the recent years, say the last three to five years, its popularity has slightly increased. The spark in interest has emerged from the fact that quite a number of Kenyans have turned to working online given the busy schedules and of course the need to make that extra cash (9 to 5 jobs alone don’t cut it anymore with this economy). As companies are realizing the benefits of outsourcing transcription services many Kenyans have taken that opportunity to make some cash. Some do it as a full-time job but many are still going about it as a part-time job. Reason? Transcription is not as easy as one would think. Listening to an audio while typing it out is not an easy task more so when faced with audios with a lot of background noise or speakers with heavy accents.
Another factor that has contributed to many Kenyans taking transcription jobs as a part-time job is because there are high and low seasons. Transcription jobs are not always available throughout the year. There comes a point when the demand goes down thus the need to have a back-up plan (read 9 to 5 job). Some have perfected the art of transcription; they are fast and good with just about any accent. We will call them transcription gurus. Of these some are kind enough to offer training services to newbies free of charge, while others do it at a fee (again, that extra cash does come in handy). Not many landlords would accept your kind gestures in lieu of the rent or are there any who would? No? Didn’t think so.
For those who are not lucky enough to be taken under the wings of the gurus fret not. This is the era of the internet. What is that popular motto doing rounds in campus again? What Google has I have. There are uncounted number of free eBooks and guides on how to go about perfecting the art of transcription online. All you have to do is have internet access, a computer, headphones and transcription software you are good to go. Then you can proceed to pray to God that you don’t experience a power blackout in the middle of your transcription.
If you put in time and efforts it does not take long to master the art of transcription. The key is to have good grammar skills and get into the audio, really get into it. Follow what is being said, don’t just type passively. You are more likely to make mistakes this way.
Several pages have been formed on Facebook bringing Kenyan transcribers together to form somewhat a community to offer support and advice to fellow transcribers. Such pages include Awesome Transcribers in Kenya a closed group with 11,725 members and counting, Transcribers Kenya: Working Online from Home and Creating Wealth another closed group with 2, 743, Reach Transcribers in Kenya also a closed group with 1313 members to mention but a few.
In as much as these groups are set up to provide support not all the members in these groups are here for genuine reasons. Some are out to make money by conning others. The admins of the group might try as much as possible to weed out such members but trust me there are always more of them lurking somewhere waiting for an opportunity. It could be through offering non-existent training services or bogus study materials at a fee or selling ‘imaginary’ data bundles or modems at dirt cheap prices. Always be weary.
For those not brave enough to go the DIY way there are well-established and reputable companies like Adept Technologies Ltd who are willing to hire inexperienced transcribers and even offer free training. Many have chosen to go the company way as it is ‘less risky’. They provide you not only with the training but also the computer, headphones and did I mention the internet. No spending money on data, just make sure you show up and be ready to learn. Yeah, nothing comes for free you have to put in the effort to learn and actually learn.