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Academic transcription is the process of creating written documents from spoken recordings; this might include lectures, recorded research notes, meetings, or other anything else that is necessary. Transcription projects are often outsourced to companies or individual contractors; the individual will listen to the recording, write it down in the format specified, and send it back to the original source. There are a number of reasons for this. Some teachers or professors might want to record and preserve their lectures for future work or publications; in addition, students with disabilities may make use of academic transcription if they have difficulty hearing the instructor or taking notes for any reason. Busy researchers may also simply find it easier to speak their notes into a recorder and read them later, than to stop in the midst of working and write them down.
Similar to professionals who do medical or legal transcription, anyone wanting to do academic transcription will usually need to be trained. Certificate programs are available that teach the necessary skills, as well as how to use the software and technology. For transcriptionists who will be working in a specific area with a great deal of esoteric terminology, such as medical research for example, additional training may be required. These individuals can then charge more for their services, however.
Though some work with companies, most transcriptionists are independent contractors, and many will develop their own regular client base and get enough work that way. This is particularly true for academic transcription, in which the school or the professor might hire an individual specifically. For a researcher with a lengthy ongoing project, finding a reliable, responsible transcriptionist to work with, who will keep the information he or she receives confidential, can be invaluable.
Some of the most common type of academic recordings that need to be transcribed are lectures and research notes. Meetings and seminars are also common, however, and these can be more difficult with multiple people talking; this will often require additional work and take more time than other types. The client will generally specify the format in which he or she requires the transcription to be written, but regardless, it should be as free of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, or any other proofreading issues as possible. Academic transcription may sometimes require a rush as well; some clients want the work returned to them in just a few days, and some in less than 24 hours, so transcriptionists should keep this in mind as well, as such jobs can be especially lucrative for those that can handle them.