Are you considering entering the world of legal typists? One fascinating (and fun) niche you may explore in the legal typing field is becoming a legal audio typist. It’s just one of the many types of legal transcription work we specialise in here at Legal Typing- so today we’re taking a closer look at the role and everything you need to know to make the best possible decision.
What are legal transcriptionists and typists, anyway?
You may be aware of general transcription work, as it’s one of the few ‘stay-at-home’ fields that pays decently, allows you to set your own schedule and to work around the needs of family, health or other work.
Legal typing (or legal transcription)- of which being a legal audio typist is one form- is a specialised niche form of this work. Legal transcription work focuses on the unique needs of the legal industry. As with medical transcription, legal typing and legal transcription are a little different from normal transcription work. Although it’s not always necessary to have a background as a paralegal, legal secretary (or even retired lawyer/notary) to do the job, it does help considerably as you’re already familiar with the different demands of the work, acceptable standards, and the industry jargon.
So what is a legal AUDIO typist?
So, legal typing work is about meeting the niche demands of the legal industry by performing typing tasks that meet the unique types of documents (and confidentiality needs) of the industry. Within the field of ‘legal typing work’, we then have several niche fields. We will be looking at the rest of these in closer detail in later blogs. One of the staple roles, however, is as a legal audio typist.
Being a legal audio typist, or legal transcriptionist involves listening to recorded audio and typing out what is being said into a document. That doesn’t just mean that your final work will be a verbatim list of the conversation, however. You may be required to take the information contained in the audio file and apply it to a specific type of legal document. The exact demands of the job will vary from client to client. That variability and excitement help keep the work interesting.
However, as a legal typist, you will be providing the end client with a typed hard copy of audio files they provide. These can be general legal conversations, recorded depositions, and even file notes for the legal team. The end document you produce will either be something required in a formal format the client provides, often so it can be filed with the courts, or else their private file notes. While it is often easier for the legal firm to capture these notes on audio, ensuring they don’t waste client time making written notes themselves, it’s much easier to access the facts later as a hard copy file note then as an audio file they have to hunt through. Providing that service is a key part of your role as a legal audio typist.
What is the role of a legal audio typist like?
Do bear in mind that the strict process you will follow will vary slightly from job to job. However, you will generally be required to write out each audio file you receive as a legal audio typist verbatim. This means each and every single thing you hear needs to be recorded- including stutters, false starts or filler words like ‘you know’ and ‘um’.
Only if it is part of the strict instructions coming from your agency (and thus the end client) will you deviate from doing this. This is sometimes the case if you are compiling a document for presentation to the court (or other interested parties) rather than for file notes. This is rarer to encounter as a legal audio typist, however, and typically will be the realm of other forms of legal typing jobs.
What equipment does a legal audio typist require?
Attention to detail and meticulous working habits are essential for a legal audio typist. You will be expected to go through the audio recording several times, comparing it to your transcript and ensuring total accuracy. You will also need to proofread and edit your transcripts to be user-friendly. This means that, while not essential, audio transcription software often makes your job far easier and more comfortable. It will also help optimise your turn-around times significantly.
You can start this work simply with a laptop, a stable working internet connection and your willingness to work hard. However, there is some other equipment that will make your work faster and simpler you can invest in over time.
Looking something like a guitar foot pedal, this will allow you to pause and restart audio, rewind, play and more with your foot. This will save you time and effort, allowing you to focus your fingers on typing.
2.Audio transcription software:
Your audio files will come in specific formats (like mp3). Software that plays these formats (and ties in with your foot pedal) will make things like timestamping and other required formalities simpler. They often play a crisper, better quality sound, or allow you to play with the file to enhance audio, which makes your role as a legal audio typist easier too.
There is a distinct improvement in the audio you experience from a headset (vs PC speakers), and it can aid in clarity greatly. Even a cheaper headset will make your job easier. As you get better at your work, you may even want to invest in a pricier industry leader that will be more comfortable for long use and provide the utmost clarity.
Should I work with an agency like Legal Typing?
While it is certainly possible to make a career as a legal audio typist working by yourself, it is considerably easier (and the work you receive will be more reliable) to work with an agency like Legal Typing. Not only does this ensure you are not taken in by scam job listings or unscrupulous clients who had no intention of paying, but it also ensures a steady stream of work. Your agent will also act as a liaison between you and the client, leaving you free to concentrate on your work. Working with an agency, you have a better chance of earning a stable living, and your agency can help you gain experience with their wisdom, tips and tricks.
Are you keen to try your hand as a legal audio typist? Why not get in touch with Legal Typing today, and learn more about the process of becoming one of our legal typing team?