Transcription Equipment

Transcription Equipment

Working as a transcriber is a flexible way to make money from home.  In my previous blog on transcription for beginners I talk about the necessary equipment to get you started and what transcription is all about. You can also have a look at my blog on software transcription tools where I delve into the pros and cons of different softwares necessary for transcription. Have a look at those particular blogs and see if this is a field you can excel in.

In this article we’ll cover the most essential transcription equipment both hardware and software, that will help you get started working as a transcriber. Let’s start with the hardware.



Desktop or Laptop

This is the most basic equipment you’ll need. Work within your budget and find one that suits your transcription needs. No need to get anything fancy-schmancy. It is also important to note that most of transcription work is on Windows, so preferably acquiring a PC rather than a MAC would be encouraged.

Desk and Chair

A desk and chair make up a work station. A dedicated ergonomic home workstation encourages you to be more disciplined and excited to get to work. Again nothing high end office kind of desk and chair, just a chair and desk that won’t force you to strain while working from home.


This is an essential hardware because as a transcriber you will be wearing this 100% of the time you will be working. It is because of this factor of constant use, you’ll need to pick wisely a pair of headsets that will be comfortable. There are a couple of headset option you can chose from these include.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

These cover your entire ear and are comfortable as they rest over your entire earlobe. They have a number of advantages such as,

  • Improve concentration
  • Protect your health as they reduce the volume of whatever it is you’re listening to through your headphones.

Earbuds and In-ear headphones

These are another option, however they are not as comfortable as noise-canceling headphones.

Wireless headphones

These work by pairing or connecting with the device you want to use, in this case your PC through an infrared signal or Bluetooth device and just as the name states they are wireless. No plug in required. Some transcribers prefer these as the wire or cord can get caught on your chair or get in your way, they are expensive though. So there is a tradeoff.

Foot Pedal

In transcription it’s all about listening and typing out what you’ve heard onto a word document. And just like any recorder, the softwares used in transcription (which we’ll discuss later in this article) allow you to pause, play, rewind, forward, basically regulate the audio in play. The footpedal allows you to control audio with your foot, thus freeing your hands to focus on typing.



Choosing your software is important as it will have a big impact on your work. There are some free software options available but they are limited in what they offer and in the long run you’ll end up spending more money to acquire better or more efficient ones.

Word Processor

A word processor is a type of software application used for composing, editing, formating and printing documents which you will do a lot of in transcription. There are a couple of word processing softwares, so find one that works best for you and that you are comfortable with and use it.

Transcription tools

These are softwares that allow transcribers to convert audio tracks into digital texts. The softwares come with the ability to load dictions or audio files ready to be transcribed, they have playback, play, forward, rewind and pause options as well as other options that ease your transcription ability through your keyboard or footpedal. Some have custom dictionaries, they also have timestamp setting that allows for placing timestamps in the document. Some examples of free transcription tools include.

  • OTranscribe: This can be used straight from the web browser.
  • Express Scribe: This can be installed for free on a Mac or PC and lets you control everything through your keyboard or footpedal
  • The FTW Transcriber: This is a downloadable tool with high-quality audio playback. It supports a range of audio and video file types and features automatic timestamps.
  • Inqscribe: This is another good option. It has a 14-day free trial, the full version costs about $99.

Audio Editing tool

Sometimes as a transcriber you get these files that are just not that clear, or have a lot of background noise and transcribing them would just be a nightmare without some sort of miracle. Well the good news is, there are tools that assist in making the quality of audio files bearable. One such tool is Audacity. I personally have used audacity and I can say for a fact it is a life saver. Audacity allows you to trim files, reduce their length, remove background noise, edit out silence and adjust volume and much more.  The best part about this tool is that its open source, meaning anyone can download it for free without restrictions of use.  There are number of other audio editing software tools that you can look into and learn more about such as Adobe Audition, GarageBand, Sound Forge and so many more.

Text Expanders

Now this is not 100% necessary but it is a nice to have tool as they save you a lot of time while transcribing and in the long run you type faster and eventually make more money. Text expanders also help to reduce errors. The way text expanders work is similar to how autocomplete works in smartphones.  For example in medical transcripts the term COVID-19 may be repeatedly used. Instead of typing it over and over again, you can use a custom abbreviation to insert the word COVID-19 like COV and text expanders insert the word for you automatically. Neat huh?

A text expander tool I‘d recommend is PhraseExpress. It works with MACs and PCs as well. PhraseExpress requires only a one-time payment with no recurring fees. There is a free trial before you decide to purchase the tool. The prices range from $49 to $219 depending on the version you decide to go with


If you are just getting started with transcription there is a lot that you can do without for now. Once you decide that transcription is an area you would like to pursue, further investing in proper hardware and software would be highly recommended. You may also have some of the equipment above which is a good start. Hopefully this article gave you a boost to start your transcription career.

For any transcription needs feel free to get in touch with us and remember to always be kind try to stay positive and learn to unwind

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