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.
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.
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.
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).
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.