The words form rapidly in your head and ease effortlessly off your tongue as you talk about your area of expertise. But somehow when it comes to typing or writing about it, there is a disconnect and you struggle to get something down on paper. This situation is far from unique and affects many would-be authors, causing hours of frustration and at times deterring them from writing altogether.

Gifted authors are not always natural writers. Some may easily be able to express their ideas and share their knowledge orally, but have considerable difficulty reproducing and expressing the same concepts and expertise in writing. They are speakers not writers. Alternatively, they may simply not enjoy the actual writing process or find typing difficult; regardless of how easy modern technology purports to make it. If this is something that you are experiencing, then it may well be worthwhile hiring a transcriber.

Using a professional transcriber will not just help save you from physically having to write your book, it will also save you a huge amount of time. The average person speaks about 125 words per minute. That’s well over 7000 words an hour. Given that the average non-fiction book is around 30,000-60,000 words it doesn’t take long to realize that using a transcriber can really shorten the writing process.

The purpose of using someone to transcribe what you are saying is essentially to create or build content, the benefits of which can be multifold. Here are just a few of them:

    • An expert, professional transcriber can produce accurate and efficient copy very quickly.
    • Time is important for authorpreneurs. Less time actually writing means more time to devote to other aspects of self-publishing.
    • You can use transcripts to create blog posts, online articles or promotional material.
    • Transcription can form an active part of your marketing effort.
    • Your work may sound better and benefit from the conversational, fluid style you employ when speaking.
    • You can use transcripts for e-books or chapters of e-books.
    • Talks that you give can be transcribed and copies given to interested parties.
    • Seminars can be turned into webinars with the transcriptions available online. Written text yields greater results on big search engines than video so you are attracting a wider audience.


    Print consultants can give advice and offer recommendations when hiring a transcriber. As always, do your research and give yourself plenty of time to find the right person.  
    Finally, it’s interesting to note that despite today’s technology driven jack-of-all-trades society it was not so long ago that people used professional scribes to write for them as a matter of course. Much of what we use today has its origins firmly rooted in the past. Transcription is no exception.

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    Mary Vaux-ClarkMary Vaux-Clark is a freelance editor, proof-reader and writer. Her areas of interest include current affairs, travel, history and sport. She has travelled widely and worked in Hong Kong as an editor and ESL teacher for over ten years.