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Don't be the disappearing transcriptionist / VA



New Member
Since there are so many newbie VAs on SBF now, I thought I'd put a copy of my latest blog post here.

Don't be the Disappearing Transcriptionist / VA

Hi guys,

I know I've blogged about this before, but disappearing subcontractors never cease to be a bug bear to me. Thank goodness, I haven't had a disappearing subcontractor in a while, but it's been happening to a friend of mine and I thought I would just remind everyone how annoying this is.
First of all, let me explain what I mean by 'disappearing subcontractors'. You're a subcontractor, more than likely a relative newbie to the field. So, you hear of a more experienced VA or transcriptionist company looking for a VA or transcriptionist to help out with massive overflow. "Yay", you think. Money, for an easy job.

Until. The work arrives. And you find it isn't so easy. Or, you find that your internet breaks down or your computer doesn't work, or you can't download the file. These instances are all understandable, and most of us are human. Most of us won't eat you alive if you contact us and say "I have such and such a problem". In fact, many of us will try to assist to resolve the problem. But you don't realise this. Or your best friend has asked you out for a drink and this will mean you can't meet your deadline. "So", you think. "It's not that I really NEED this one little bit of horrid work. I just won't do it." And this is where the magic happens. You bcome the 'disappearing transcriptionist'. You switch off skype, disconnect your email, turn your cellphone off and for all the intents and purposes of the poor old person waiting to get their work back, you disappear. Because you're too scared to come forward and say there's a problem.

Now in case you haven't realised, here are the disadvantages to such behaviour.
- You won't get your money for the job.
- It's a small industry. Word gets around.
- The dolly that you just let down has a long memory. She isn't going to employ you again.
- The dolly that you just let down may now have to let HER client down, thereby giving us all a bad reputation.

There are other disadvantages too. So don't do it. And there are advantages of getting through difficult work, too.
- You get a reputation as a person who is committed.
- You get paid.
- You get more work from the dolly you didn't let down, as she can keep her clients.
- You get experience.

If you want to disappear, go to a magic show and be the guinea pig. Don't be the disappearing transcriptionist.

Anybody wanting to repost this feel free but, please give accreditation to me and TAVASA


New Member
I'm afraid Gaynor, that some people think that being a transcriptionist would be easy work. Yes, sometimes it is but to do an excellent job means that one has to be able to spell, know where to place apostrophes and be prepared to check the work and check again.

Audio transcription is probably the most time consuming because there may be technical terms which should be researched to get the correct spelling. I recently transcribed some University botany lectures and the research on the botanical names took longer than the actual typing!

If some VAs don't do a good job then collectively our reputation will suffer.



New Member
Hi Theresia,

You are right ... people have this notion that virtual work is easy, and it is not. At least, not always.

But I maintain that if you've committed to doing something, then you should do it and do it to the best of your ability - otherwise, as you say, our entire industry is brought down. I'm transcribing varsity research at the moment, too ...