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How to Become a Legal Transcriptionist

For all those who want to join the world of legal transcription, this write-up will give you some of the steps that you can follow to achieve a flourishing career.
Sujata Iyer

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Legal transcription is one of the fastest growing careers in the legal world. Why? Similar to medical transcription, legal transcription is also a highly demanded job profile as just like the medical world, there is a constant need for quick and accurate documentation of the various happenings in court cases.
So, people with superior typing and active listening skills are sought out for legal transcription. Here are some guidelines on how you too can go ahead and become a legal transcriptionist, given that it doesn't have any formal educational requirements for the profile.

Becoming a Legal Transcriptionist

Know your Language

Being any kind of transcriptionist requires a very efficient command over the language that you will be transcribing in. For our purpose, we'll take that as English. So, if you have plans of becoming a transcriptionist, then one thing you need to make absolutely sure of is that you have impeccable knowledge of the English language.
Grammar is of utmost importance, because sometimes you may be required to even review and proofread legal documents. When you know your grammar well, you can catch incorrect statements and correct them, thus making the document error free.
Getting certified in an English speaking course can help you with this. Or if you've majored in English while in school or college, that can also prove to be beneficial. This is not a mandatory step, but will definitely help you increase your level of confidence.

Get Typing

The next step to getting into the world of legal transcribing is to master the art of typing.
Yes, you will be required to listen, comprehend and type verbatim whatever is dictated to you about particular cases by your employer. Or you may also be employed directly in the courthouse to type out the court proceedings as they take place. So, it is imperative that you have a very good typing speed.
About 65 to 80 words per minute is the average typing speed that is expected of most legal transcriptionists. For this, you also need to have a good knowledge of word processors and be at least moderately computer literate. You can enroll yourself in a proficient typing course and learn to type fast and increase your speed.

Get Certified

Once you're confident about your typing speed and your language skills, you can search for courses on legal transcription.
There are several online courses which not only guide you on the process of legal transcribing, but also help you to learn, read, pronounce, and understand the various legal terms that are used in everyday court proceedings.
Plus, they also give you knowledge about the format of documentation in the legal world. Most of them last about 12 weeks. When searching for such courses online, or in your locality, make sure that you choose one which is suitably accredited by the Department of Education of the United States of America.
Again, note that getting certified in legal transcription is not a formal requirement for the profession, but it will certainly give you an edge because you'll already have some prior knowledge of the functioning of the job.

Job Hunt

Once you get certified the task of hunting for a suitable  job begins. You can apply with independent lawyers or to a legal firm which handles multiple clients and different legal domains. You can look for openings at courthouses.
The job requires a lot of concentration and confidence in one's ability to hear and type out accurately whatever is being said.
The job prospects in legal transcription are only growing with time. It can unfold into a full-fledged legal career and that too at an appealing income between $20,000 to $60,000 a year. So, if you think you're made for this kind of job, then go ahead and do all that is required. Good luck!