The arduous task of recruiting new transcribers

Here at TP Transcription Limited and University Transcriptions we operate an extremely vigorous recruitment process when it comes to offering jobs in transcription to new transcribers.

The very nature of transcription work requires an ultra sensitive ear for deciphering the spoken word, an extremely good grasp of the English language which we require native English speakers from the UK at all times for, and a good work ethic.

Completing transcription work and being a transcriber is not an easy job. It is not easy work, it can be extremely boring and requires a considerable amount of time to be spent sat at a computer (or stood of course!).

We have transcribers working with us who have been undertaking assignments for us for over 10 years, and have worked on copious numbers of research projects and contracts. However because of our size we do have to undertake a virtually continuous recruitment programme as we are expanding at a very fast rate.

So what does our recruitment process entail?

Firstly we advertise for UK based native English speaking transcribers only. We do not recruit overseas transcriptionists (another term used for ‘transcribers’), and similarly we do not outsource work overseas to transcriptionists or transcribers working for other companies. Over the years we have watched as Indian, South African and Kenyan transcription companies have tried to take work from the UK but the accuracy levels have been similar to the automated transcription software solutions like Rev.

Secondly we check the technical ability and capability of everyone who works with us, and require as an absolute minimum a reasonable amount of IT knowledge in order to be able to download recordings and upload transcriptions. We do this by way of a lengthy application form asking our future transcribers about their capabilities and knowledge.

We also review each individual transcriber’s CV. The overwhelming majority of our transcribers are former legal and medical secretaries, but we have graduates looking for flexible work to fit around other commitments as well as parents and semi-retired people in a similar position.

The main part of our initial application is to get each would-be transcriber to complete a piece of work for us as if it were from a client.  We have the same piece of work for everybody and send it out to every applicant for transcription work regardless of their previous experience.

This helps us filter out anyone who thinks that transcription work would be a good idea but who have never actually completed any and when they have done they discover it really is not for them.

This process takes the applicant about 45 minutes to complete including the sample transcription work, and we spend some time reviewing each application to assess whether a transcriber is going to fit within our fairly tight criteria for work. Accuracy levels are key.

Once we have processed the application forms, considered the CVs and assessed the same transcription, we then assign a short piece of work to each successful transcriber.

You would think having gone through the initial process that anyone who is not going to be suitable or who is not going to want to undertake the work, would have worked out by now that transcription work is not for them, and they need to go and consider something else instead.

Unfortunately this is not the case and we do have to use another process to filter out further transcribers who are not going to work to the high standard or complete within agreed turnaround times. At this stage about 50% of transcribers are culled from our lists and we do not send them any further work. This may sound a little bit harsh, particularly because they have gone through such an arduous process, but we pay for the initial piece of work the transcriber undertakes and then let them know there will be no further work coming their way.

We tend to know quite early on whether or not an applicant is going to be of the high standard we expect to work with, and this is very often borne out with the results of the two tier assessment stage that we go through.

Once transcribers have been through the process we expect to work with them for a very long period of time, and as I mentioned above a good number of our transcribers stay with us for many years. We reward transcribers with quality work when they give us their time and put in the effort and a rewarding career can be enjoyed as a transcriptionist if you are able to demonstrate a high level of attention to detail and a good work ethic.

If you would like to be considered for transcription work as part of the TP Transcription team please email Anna Gresty, our managing director, at and she will forward you across the information pack and application forms for your consideration. You can also visit our recruitment page by clicking the link below:

Our Accreditations

We are Cyber Essentials Plus audited annually and we hold the Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus certificates. We are UKAS ISO 27001:2022 audited and accredited and ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 systems accredited company. We are members of the American Translators Association and we are assessed for GDPR compliance annually by IASME (Cyber Assurance Level 1).

10% Profits to Charity

10% of our profits are donated to the Ten Percent Foundation, a charitable trust registered in the UK. Since 2000 over £150,000 has been donated to projects in Africa and the UK. Click here for details.