A transcriptionist or typist is often involved in repetitive work and meeting very tight deadlines. A typist is either looking at the text to be copy-typed or a transcriptionist listening to recorded speech and typing the text spoken. When undertaking the transcription or typing process, there are things that you can do to help you obtain better productivity, efficiency and accuracy.
As a touch-typist and transcriptionist with over 20 years experience, to help you achieve a higher capacity in the production of transcripts or copy typing text, I will give you my top 5 secrets to increase your typing productivity and speed.
Before starting any work at all prepare your workstation to the correct ergonomics for your stature. Preferably work with an ergonomic keyboard too. This is a picture of the ideal workstation set-up to prevent any strains on your joints through repetitive typing work.
2. Take regular and frequent breaks. I personally like to take a break from typing or transcription every 20 minutes for 5 minutes. Recommendations by the University of New South Wales in Australia also recommend taking breaks every 20-30 minutes, if only for 2-3 minutes. This gives you chance to stretch, give your eyes and ears a break too. Even after just a couple of minutes not listening to someone speak, or looking at the text to be typed, is enough to recharge and carry on more productively.
3. If you are a transcriptionist and using specialist software, such as Express Scribe Professional, make sure everything is set-up correctly and to your specification. Test your foot pedal is ready to use to what you are used to. When I am transcribing I like to have it set to jump 5 seconds back for if I don’t catch what the person said the first time round. Listen to the first few minutes of the audio and adjust the replay speed according to your typing speed and the rate of speech that is being spoken. Check there is no background noise, if there is, some software players have ‘background noise reduction’ feature such as Express Scribe Professional. Alternatively, if that hasn’t had an effect or has helped but not cleared the audio up completely try an online converter such as www.online-convert.com. I have found from past experience that converting an audio can sometimes help clear any background or interference noise. If it is not in a mp3 format I will always convert an audio into the mp3 format and then perform the background noise reduction feature again.
4. Check with your client the purpose of the transcript. If you are transcribing a video it may be prudent to produce the transcript in a text (.txt) file and not a word document if it is being used for closed captions. Syncing the speech with the text is much easier. If it is to be produced in a Word document utilise the auto-correct and find/replace if you need to perform several replacements of a word.
5. Ask your client for the names involved in the audio or how they would like them referred to in the transcript if more than one speaker. Before commencing also enquire as to whether there is any specialist terminology you should be aware of, and/or any websites that may help with research if you cannot quite make out the word.
So there are my five secrets to help you type more accurately and transcribe more productively. Even taking regular breaks may seem like it is time you could be transcribing, as many transcriptionists have to work to tight deadlines. This may feel the case, but in reality, because you have taken even just 2 minutes away from listening, you will return to your keyboard and foot pedal and type more productively because of it. From many years experience working from work as a typist and transcriptionist, I know that frequent breaks and the correct ergonomics, preferably with an ergonomic keyboard too, are instantly going to help you be more productive and complete the work much quicker.
Please don’t hesitate to use the ‘contact me’ form if you would like to ask any questions about transcription, typing or my virtual assistant services that I can offer.