Digital Audio Transcription & Typing Services
One of Virtuadmin’s retro typewriter’s the Olympia Simplex with a French keyboard.
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.
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, 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 pre-digital texts, documents, reports, contracts, books, newspapers and such like that have been kept from before the computer age people are now looking to back these up, 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.
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.
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.
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.
As experiments with artificial intelligence go, making a magical typewriter that collaborates on fairy tales probably wouldn’t be your first idea. That’s just what Mercedes-Benz have made, however, as part of a demonstration of the power of AI. The result is both very “Harry Potter” and very cool.
It’s the handiwork of a team at the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development Center of North America, in Sunnyvale California. Usually, the engineers and programmers there are working on new infotainment designs, smarter dashboards which can predict where you might want to go and how hot you want the cabin to be, and integration with things like Google Home and Apple Watch.
To put a new artificial intelligence through its paces, though, they turned to a more entertaining concept. While this might look like an old-fashioned typewriter, and indeed operates as one, it also has a mind of its own.
They taught it very little to start with, basically that it should build up a text character by character. Then they fed it with a stack of old Brothers Grimm fairytales. The Ai doesn’t really know it’s writing a story, but it does know to take a prompt typed from a human and then interact with the story.
In practice, it means you type a few sentences and then pause, only to have the typewriter itself pick up the thread and add its own twist to the tale. Nothing is pre-programmed, with the artificial intelligence instead analyzing what its human co-author has written and attempting to come up with something that fits thematically.
As for the eye-catching typewriter design, while the Mercedes team could’ve had the whole thing working on a laptop display, the feeling was that this fit better with the gothic atmosphere of classically creepy fairy tales. The keys themselves are linked by cables to individual actuators, which pull them down to type. The engineers conceded that an electric typewriter mechanism would’ve been a whole lot easier to work with – you have to clear the occasional jam, just like in the old days – but then you wouldn’t have quite the same charm.
The stories themselves aren’t going to win any book awards for great literature, but the AI does a surprisingly good job of picking out characters, items, and topics introduced by human authors and taking those forward as it develops the tale. Fed with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek range of characters including a bear and an Uber, it managed to cling to its fairytale theme.
Of course, Mercedes isn’t planning to get into the ebook business. The automaker’s real goal is using artificial intelligence’s like these to build self-driving cars that can monitor the road around it for other traffic, pedestrians, and potential obstacles, and adapt in real-time rather than needing programming for every situation. Being able to react to unpredictable human drivers and pedestrians, not to mention changeable weather conditions, would give an autonomous vehicle an edge that even years of traditional engineering couldn’t achieve.
** This post first appeared on Slashgear.com on December 12, 2016 and written by Chris Davies. All images and the video are from the original post.