The U.S. transcription market size was valued at USD 25.98 billion in 2022 and is expected to expand at the rate of 5.8% from 2023 to 2030. In today’s digital age, transcription services have become increasingly popular as businesses and individuals recognize the value of converting spoken language into written form. 

Deposition transcription services are the process of converting spoken language into written form. It involves carefully listening to audio recordings and accurately transcribing them into written documents. Transcriptionists play a vital role in accurately transcribing audio files into written documents, whether for legal purposes, business meetings, interviews, and much more. 

However, not all transcriptionists perform the same type of work. This article will explore the key differences between legal and general transcriptionists, including their roles, skills required, and salary prospects.

Types of Transcription Work

Transcription work can be categorized into several types based on its specific field or industry. Two common types of transcription work include:

1. Legal Transcription

Legal transcription service involves audio recordings of legal proceedings, such as court hearings, depositions, and legal interviews. Legal transcriptionists are responsible for accurately transcribing legal terminology, documenting witness statements, and ensuring the integrity of the legal record.

2. General Transcription

General transcription encompasses a broader range of transcription service. General transcriptionists transcribe audio recordings from various industries, including business, academic, and media. They transcribe interviews, meetings, podcasts, webinars, and recordings that do not fall into the legal category.

Difference Between Legal and General Transcriptionists

While both legal and general transcriptionists perform transcription work, there are several key differences between the two roles:

1. Purpose and Content

Legal transcriptionists focus specifically on transcribing legal proceedings and documents. They handle audio recordings related to court cases, depositions, legal interviews, and other legal events. Their transcriptions are often used as evidence or reference material in legal proceedings.

On the other hand, general transcriptionists handle a more comprehensive range of audio content from various industries. They transcribe interviews, business meetings, academic lectures, podcasts, and other non-legal recordings. The content they transcribe is typically used for informational or reference purposes rather than legal proceedings.

2. Knowledge of Legal Terminology

Legal transcriptionists require a solid understanding of legal terminology and concepts. They must accurately transcribe complex legal jargon, court-specific terminology, and statutes. This knowledge ensures the precision and accuracy of the transcriptions, enabling them to capture the nuances and intricacies of legal proceedings.

In contrast, general transcriptionists can use more than in-depth knowledge of legal terminology. They focus more on capturing the essence of the conversation, accurately transcribing the spoken words, and ensuring grammatical correctness.

3. Formatting Requirements

Legal transcriptions often have specific formatting requirements mandated by the legal system. These requirements may include strict adherence to line numbering, timestamps, speaker identification, and clear formatting styles. Legal transcriptionists must follow these guidelines to maintain the integrity and validity of the legal record.

General transcriptions, on the other hand, may not have strict formatting requirements. While accuracy and clarity are essential, the formatting guidelines for general transcriptions may be more flexible, depending on the client’s preferences or industry standards.

4. Confidentiality and Privacy

Legal transcriptionists often handle sensitive and confidential information related to legal cases. They must maintain high confidentiality and adhere to strict privacy guidelines. Legal documents may contain sensitive personal or financial information, and maintaining client confidentiality is paramount.

General transcriptionists may also encounter confidential information in their work, depending on the nature of the recordings.

Skills Required to Become a General Transcriptionist and a Legal Transcriptionist

In the field of transcription, whether general or legal, specific skills are essential to excel and provide accurate and efficient transcription services. Let us look at the skills required for both general and legal transcriptionists.

General Transcriptionist Skills

To become a general transcriptionist, here are some skills you should possess:

1. Excellent Listening Skills

A general transcriptionist must have exceptional listening skills to transcribe audio recordings accurately. Clear and focused listening ensures accurate capture of the spoken content, including words, accents, and nuances.

2. Strong Language Skills

A good command of the language, including grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary, is crucial for a general transcriptionist. It ensures the delivery of a well-written and error-free transcript.

3. Typing Proficiency

General transcriptionists should have fast and accurate typing skills. The ability to type quickly while maintaining accuracy is essential to keep up with the pace of the audio and produce timely transcripts.

4. Time Management

General transcriptionists often work with deadlines, so time management is crucial. Organizing and prioritizing tasks ensures the timely delivery of transcripts without compromising quality.

5. Research Skills

Sometimes, general transcriptionists encounter unfamiliar terms or industry-specific jargon. Good research skills help in understanding and accurately transcribing such content.

6. Technical Competence

Familiarity with transcription software, audio playback tools, and word processing applications is essential for general transcriptionists. Being tech-savvy enables efficient management of files and transcription workflow.

Legal Transcriptionist Skills

Legal transcriptionists require specialized skills and the general transcription skills mentioned above. Here are some essential skills specific to legal transcription:

1. Knowledge of Legal Terminology

Legal transcriptionists must have a solid understanding of legal terminology, court procedures, and legal documents. Familiarity with legal jargon and concepts ensures accurate transcription of legal recordings.

2. Legal Research Skills

Legal transcriptionists often encounter legal references and citations. The ability to conduct legal research to verify and cross-reference information is essential for maintaining accuracy.

3. Confidentiality and Ethics

Legal transcriptionists handle sensitive and confidential information, so they must adhere to strict ethical guidelines and maintain confidentiality.

4. Attention to Detail

Precision is critical in legal transcription. Legal transcriptionists must pay close attention to detail, ensuring that every word, punctuation mark, and formatting element accurately represents the transcript.

5. Courtroom Protocol

Familiarity with courtroom procedures, including legal document formatting, is essential for legal transcriptionists. Understanding the context and purpose of legal proceedings helps in producing accurate transcripts.

Salary of General and Legal Transcriptionists

The salary of general and legal transcriptionists can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and industry demand. According to Glassdoor, the average annual wage for a general transcriptionist in the United States ranges from $25,000 to $50,000. However, this can vary significantly based on individual factors.

For legal transcriptionists, the salary can be higher due to the specialized nature of the work. Depending on various factors, legal transcriptionists can earn an average annual salary ranging from $30,000 to $60,000.


Both general and legal transcriptionists require specific skills to excel in their respective fields. General transcriptionists need excellent listening skills, language proficiency, typing proficiency, time management, research skills, and technical competence. In addition to these skills, legal transcriptionists require knowledge of legal terminology, legal research skills, confidentiality and ethics, attention to detail, and familiarity with courtroom protocols.