5 Secrets to Increase Your Typing Productivity and Speed

Type more accurately with speed
Type more accurately with speed
5 Secrets to Increase your Typing Productivity and Speed

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.

  1. 5 Secrets to Increase Your Typing Productivity and Speed
    Picture courtesy of Cornell University Ergonomics

    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.

 

 

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What does a copy typist do and what is copy typing?

touch typist looks at text to be copied
What does a copy typist do?
What does a copy typist do?

The history of printing and the ability to imprint and the use of seals goes back to the early times of Mesopotamian civilisation before 3000 BCE.

After the initial printing process got developed over the ages came handwriting experts and then advancing to manually operated machines to produce printed characters onto paper.  This mechanical device was a typewriter and naturally followed the development of quick typing method, known as ‘touch typing’ by Frank Edward McGurrin in 1888.

typewriter home keys fingers
Touch typing home keys for a typist’s fingers

Typewriters increased the speed of producing documents, letters, and other important reading material at that time.  Learning to touch type meant that you could get a job and earn a living wage.  Many businesses were using these devices and required touch-typists to produce letters and documents.

 

 

Even though typewriters are no longer used in this advanced technological age, computers and word processors are now used. The good news is that doesn’t necessarily put the touch-typist out of a job.  It just means a readjustment to this new era and way of working.  A copy typist can undertake data entry, online secretarial tasks, audio and video transcription, virtual assistant and many other duties that can be performed online via the internet, our new ‘typewriting and communication’ tool of the 21st century, our modern, new age technology!

As a copy typist, what is it that I do?

As a copy typist, that is literally what I do!  Any type of English text, I copy type.  However, is it usually of non-original digital format, and can be faded or of poor quality. 

Original documents that I have been asked to transcribe into an editable text has comprised of a variety of texts.  I’ve successfully transcribed a unique dot matrix printed 250-page fictional book; religious newspaper articles that were written by E. W. Kenyon; handwritten notes for recipes and other non-digital scanned documents.

Because some out-dated texts, documents, reports, contracts, books and such like have been kept from before the computer age.  Now people are looking back on these and now wanting them to be digitalised.  Or they have found a useful document that they would like to edit but cannot do so because it is not in an editable format. 

PDF’s are a popular request to be copy-typed, simply because they can easily be converted into a Word document, but the software to carry out the process is expensive and generally it is more economical for businesses or individuals to seek the services of a freelance typist, like me, here at Virtuadmin.  I provide my typing and transcription skills through trusted and reputable freelance websites such as People Per Hour and Fiverr.  When printed or scanned documents are requested to be copied, wherever possible, I try to keep the same font, font colour, underlining, page set-up, and any other details.

It is now commonplace for businesses, entrepreneurs and individuals to seek these and other types of online freelance services as mentioned above.  Your money is protected through the website you using to hire/contract the typist, and any non-delivery enables you to get a refund.  Therefore, sometimes it is simply just more economical, quicker and easier to use them than buy software or programs that you may not be able to understand or use, let alone have a lot of use for after your initial conversion project is completed. 

What is my method of working?

A common question I frequently get asked is ‘do I manually type the text or use a text converter of some kind?’  My method is manual, every single time.  My touch typing speed is 80 to 90 words per minute (WPM).  It is actually far quicker for me to manually type any text than use a document converter that I would then have to edit.

I use Microsoft OneNote2013 to take a screenshot, view 2 pages of Microsoft word so that the document to be typed is side-by-side with the page I then type into to.  Then, simply reading the text I start typing away.  Because a touch typist does not need to look at the keyboard, only the text to be typed enables a much faster copy by the professional typist.

Tables, graphs and charts if they are included in the document and required by the client, do take more time, but I can still copy them and accompanying data and would communicate any additional time involved for this.

Am I copywriter as well?

Because the word ‘copy’ is in the title of ‘copy typist’, people often think that copy typing and ‘copywriting‘ are and can be one of the same things that freelancers undertake. No, they are not the same thing.  I am sure there are touch typists out there that benefit greatly from having touch typing skills as copywriters, but it is not the same profession. 

A copywriter is a person that writes online media content, say for a website or marketing agency.  The point of employing content or copywriters is that the written material to be persuasive to people and businesses, and create brand awareness.

As a copy typist, I receive documents and material that people literally just want to be copied, into usually a Word document, but more importantly into an editable format for them to expand and build on themselves once they have received the copy from me.

Conclusion

Most of my freelance ‘gigs’ have been for audio transcription and adding captions to videos for SEO enhancement.  It was only when I started a new gig for typing and copy text documents that I came to understand the amount of printed copy that is not digitalised.  It also amazed me how many people, not businesses, that want the services of a copy typist.  Personal notes, recipes, books, or anything else they required in a hard copy.  For me at the moment, most of the work I undertake is for copy typing and growing in demand daily. 

Luckily I enjoy my job as a typist and transcriptionist, so please look me up on People Per Hour or Fiverr and read about my conscientious service I offer.  I offer customisation for bespoke orders too, please just ask.

 

 

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What best describes what kind of typist you are?

Typist's roles

Typist DifferencesDid you know that there are various kinds of typist?  No?  Okay, well neither did I even as a transcriptionist of over 20 years!  Why?  Because with the digital world and the advancements that have been made between transcribing from a microcassette to now transcribing mp3, mp4 and other audio formats, my job role has changed without me even realising it.

When I researched the subject further, that is when it became apparent that there are indeed different types of typist and the variations I am now going to explain.

Audio Typist

 An audio typist is someone who specialises in typing text from an audio source which they listen to. – Wikipedia

The source is a Dictaphone in which the person speaks into with instructions on where to pause, stop, start a new sentence or new paragraph.  Sounds easy but having done this type of audio typing in the 1990’s from a microcassette this takes a lot of getting used to but once you have mastered it, in comparison to transcription (which I will explain next) this is an easier way of learning audio typing because you do not have to determine where the grammar, new paragraphs etcetera go it is all done for you by the person dictating.

Transcriptionist

A transcriptionist is similar to an audio typist, but the audio source is more likely to be a recording of someone speaking naturally instead of a dictation. – Wikipedia

So in comparison to an audio typist where I started over 20 years ago (see my post why I love being a transcriptionist) transcription is where I am the transcriptionist listening to a person either recording say calm relaxing affirmations to music I determine where ALL the grammar should be, the paragraphs and when to insert a necessary um or ah to read correctly.  This can be easier with Interview transcription between they are a question and answer scenario.

Focus groups are a difficult area for a transcriptionist having to determine which speaker is saying what, inserting the correct grammar, paragraphing if one person has quite a bit to say. When there is more than one speaker when the speaker changes the typist starts a new line; a lot to think about when there are more than three or four speakers.

Of course along with this and being a transcriptionist the client may require the um’s and ah’s left in the actual transcript (known as strict verbatim transcription) and time-stamping for easy reference to the audio.

So although technology has made transcribing as a profession a lot easier and flexible in a much not going out to an office and using micro cassettes, you can download a mp3 or mp4 file and start transcribing immediately.  But it is actually harder now because of all the responsibility that has since now transferred to the transcriptionist; recording meetings, interviews, phone conversations has never been easier, but in certain situations, background noise can be an issue in as much it is difficult to hear what is being said.  Dictaphone dictation is usually very clear because the person recording is using specialist equipment aware that they are dictating and adjusts their voice accordingly;  the typist has specialist equipment.

That’s not to say that a transcriptionist doesn’t have specialist equipment they do, pretty much the same as what an audio typist’s equipment consists off which is a headset, foot pedal, adjustable speed control, tape counter, backspace feature, pause, search. 

A professional transcriptionist, however, will not have a micro-cassette player but professional transcribing software on a laptop or desktop that will indeed have adjustable play speed control, backspace feature used by the foot pedal so that the typist does not have to take their fingers off the keyboard and a headset to enable total clarity of what is being spoken and not hearing anything in the background within they are working in.

Medical Audio Typist/Medical Secretary

A medical audio typist usually types up clinical letters and notes from dictation of patients’ appointments, tests, operations and procedures and may work in a hospital or health centre for one or more clinician.

Another area that I have had experience in working as a medical audio typist in an outpatient department for a large health authority.  A medical secretary has other duties apart from typing dictations for out-patients appointments, test or operations.  A medical audio typist may type non-standard letters, take phone calls for the Doctor they are working for, file letters and reports, diary management, adding or removing patients from procedure lists, the list can go on depending on the department, job requirements and so on.

Medical transcription is a specialist knowledge type of transcription and can be carried out remotely in certain circumstance; outsourcing specialist types of audio transcription is becoming increasingly popular due to the cost saving and convenience.  A medical secretary would not usually work remotely and would travel to their job.

Copy Typist

A copy typist is someone who specialises in typing text from a source which they read. – Wikipedia

A copy typist and in fact any typist from the outset much know how to touch type.  The reason for this is that a touch typist does not have to look at the keyboard, they look at the document they are reading from to copy type.

I enjoy copying typing because to me it is easy, just look at writing or notes and just type away!  (I have been typing since I was young, though – see my post Why I love being a transcriptionist).

Stenographer

A stenographer usually uses a special machine to type a kind of shorthand of what was said in court. – Wikipedia

A Stenography Machine The Different Types of Typist
A Stenography Machine The Different Types of Typist

A stenographer / court reporter uses a special keyboard machine, shorthand, or voice writing equipment to produce official transcripts of what was spoken in a courtroom or official proceedings.  A court report typically works for law firms, local government, local council meetings and other official roles.

 

 

 

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