We don’t have to “go it alone” just because we work from home. The world is more connected than ever, so working as a freelance transcriptionist doesn’t need to result in social or professional isolation.
Luckily we have plenty of options to engage with like-minded individuals online. Sure, there’s always Facebook and LinkedIn, but are there other options?
Yes. Online transcription forums.
Online transcription forums are a valuable resource for newbie and experienced transcriptionists alike. You can learn new tips and tricks, find job opportunities, keep up with the latest industry trends, and even forge professional and personal relationships.
Just found out about a job opportunity with a company you’ve never heard of? Well, that’s the perfect opportunity to check with forum members. Chances are, someone else has had an experience with that company they can share.
Plus, because several of the best transcriptionist forums are closed to the general public, members often feel freer to speak their minds.
What’s not to love?
Here are four of the best transcription forums every transcriptionist should know about.
As the name suggests, MT Stars is a “community of U.S. medical transcriptionists” and primarily geared toward the medical transcriptionist (MT), although you’ll still find discussions and job posts for other types of transcription.
Beyond just being able to post questions and peruse job ads, you can also upload a resume to help subscribed employers quickly find you. If you happen to work for either of the two major medical transcription companies, Nuance or M*Modal, you’re in luck. There are dedicated boards on this online transcription forum for each, so your ‘co-workers’ are just a click away.
MT Stars is an open forum, meaning membership is not required, and all posts are publicly visible. Some of the posts can get quite…heated. So bring your thick skin, dive in, and enjoy!
Work-at-Home Moms, like MT Stars, is also an open public forum. Here, you’ll find a much broader array of topics. The website and forums offer tons of resources and advice for those wanting to launch just about any type of work-at-home business, so you’ll find a lot more here than just transcription.
While it is an open forum, you’ll still need to register with a username and e-mail address. Registration cuts down on some, but not all, of the advertising, which can get distracting at times. There are also different membership levels, starting with the free basic level and progressing to a paid professional membership that comes with additional perks.
While many experienced transcriptionists are active in the WAHM forum community, you’ll often see newbies posting here, which can result in some basic topics being repeatedly discussed. To avoid rehashing already asked (and answered) questions, make sure to search the forum to see if someone else has already asked the same question.
This is a private forum. If you want to join, you must apply and be approved for membership, which is well worth the time it takes.
Once you’re accepted, you’ll find this online transcription forum is an excellent resource, despite having less activity than some of the other forums. It’s also a bit more tailored for those new to the transcription industry. There’s a treasure trove of everything, from pay rate surveys, to information on company reputations, equipment recommendations, and more.
Transcription Haven’s tagline says, “A safe place to post and ask questions regarding transcription and working at home.” That speaks volumes. This is indeed an extremely friendly, welcoming, and upbeat forum with very kind, knowledgeable, and professional members.
However, the downside of the overall positive tone of the forum is that it sometimes results in controversial topics fizzling out. This can be a pro or a con depending on your viewpoint. Some people love to trash talk, but it can be uncomfortable for others. You’ll find most posts are quite polite—which isn’t a bad thing, but can sometimes mean avoiding diving deeper into topics.
Transcription Essentials is another private forum. It’s a useful place for both newcomers and experienced transcriptionists, but everyone is encouraged to do their own due diligence and research before posting questions. Because of those frequent friendly reminders (from top notch moderators), you won’t find as many repetitive posts here which is part of what makes it such a fantastic resource for transcriptionists.
Transcription Essentials is also very well organized so you can find the information you’re looking for quickly — whether it’s details about a particular company, current transcription job openings, or a poll on pay rates.
Beyond having very experienced, wise members who are willing to share their expertise, this online transcription forum is also good for taking the pulse of the transcription industry, whether it’s general, medical, or legal. The discussions here don’t shy away from what changes might be on the horizon and what we can do about them.
Four great options to suit every taste
As you can see, forums can be valuable resources for creating a sense of community with fellow transcription professionals. If you’re not already an active forum member, I encourage you to take advantage of these great resources.
Just remember that forums are about interaction, and that means both taking and giving. There’s nothing wrong with being a silent observer, but if you’re going to get the most value from the time you spend on forums, you should engage. Comment, react, share your knowledge, and connect with fellow transcriptionists. Pay it forward!
If you know of a best-kept-secret online transcription forum not mentioned here, leave a note in the comments and let us know!