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How Fast Do Transcriptionists Need to Type?

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Transcriptionists convert audio recordings into typed documents. Professional transcriptionists type material for medical, legal or general clients. While a reasonable typing speed is important, transcriptionists also need advanced spelling, grammar, punctuation, research and listening skills.


While most transcriptionists can type at least 50 words per minute (wpm), there is not an official typing speed requirement for this profession. Transcriptionists who work with time-sensitive projects usually type 65 to 75 wpm. Some transcriptionists who complete overflow and non-crucial work type an average of 40 to 45 wpm, according to The General Transcription Business Guide.


Virtual and classroom training is available for current and aspiring transcriptionists wanting to improve their productivity and accuracy. Courses usually focus on medical or legal transcription.

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Transcriptionists need access to a computer with a media player and word processing program. A foot pedal can be used to control audio playback. Foot pedals increase typing speed by preventing transcriptionists from having to remove their hands from the keyboard to stop or start audio playback, according to the Transcription Certification Institute.

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