What You Need to Become a Professional Typist
Why Should You Become a Typist?
Working as a typist can be an exciting career for many people. You may be adding this to your tasks as a secretary or working as an independent contractor. This job entails listening to audio files and converting them into text. The type of audio files you may encounter range from research interviews, medical dictations to business meetings. Transcripts are required for these areas to provide an accurate record of what was said.
Being a typist is great career option for people who have a desire for lifelong learning and are determined to produce high quality work. An independent typing contractor working for Pacific Transcription receives many benefits including flexible working hours, the ability to work from home and the satisfaction of running their own business.
What Background Knowledge Does a Typist Need?
To be a successful typist, you need to be knowledgeable in field you are transcribing. For example, if you will be working as a medical transcriptionist, having knowledge of medical terminology will be a great advantage. The same applies for if you are working in academic, legal or business fields. Being knowledgeable in the jargon of the field you are transcribing will help you work more efficiently and a create a more accurate transcript.
If you will be working as a typing contractor for a business such as Pacific Transcription, having strong general knowledge and a keen interest in world events will be looked upon favourably. Familiarity with a broad range of subjects when working as a typist is vital as you will be challenged with a diverse range of topics.
Probably the most important things for transcriptionists to understand are the rules of English writing. You need to have a strong grasp of spelling, grammar and sentence structures. Knowing simple things, such as the difference between your and you’re, vastly improves the quality of a professional transcript. Take the time to brush up on the basics and improve your writing.
What Skills Are Required to be a Successful Typist?
To be a professional typist you require certain skills which can be acquired through practice.
For example, a Pacific Transcription typist needs to be able to type at a speed of 70 words per minute with 97% accuracy. You may not be at that speed and accuracy yet, but you can reach this speed and accuracy with practice. There are many free typing practice programs and tests online to help improve your speed. Also, you can utilise hotkeys and text expansion apps such as Breevy and PhraseExpander to type with more efficiency.
Some other skills that will be helpful for any typist include:
- Time management
- Computer literacy
- Strong attention to detail
- Understanding accents
- Research (e.g. Google)
Which Tools Are Recommended for Typists?
There are many software programs and equipment that you can utilise to make typing a breeze.
Specialised transcription software programs such as ODMS, SpeechExec Pro and Express Scribe provide a variety of features to optimise your audio. Some of these features include background noise cancellation, speed adjustment and tone control. These are all useful features for transcribing as they can make the audio easier to understand and leads to more accuracy.
Foot pedals work in conjunction with your transcription software to control the audio playback hands-free. They generally have three to four buttons which you can configure to have a variety of settings. Most commonly, people have the buttons set to play/pause, fast-forward and rewind. Some other functions can include slowdown, jump or next dictation. By allowing you to focus on typing, foot pedals are a simple to use tool that can greatly improve your efficiency as a typist. Pacific Transcription sells a range of foot pedals from leading brands, Olympus and Philips.
A good quality headset is a requirement for any transcription work. Specialised transcription headsets such as the Olympus E-103 or the Philips LFH-334 are designed with comfort and audio clarity in mind. Transcription headsets are generally ‘on-ear’. For many people, on-ear and lightweight transcription headsets are the most comfortable for wearing over long periods of time. Another advantage of using a transcription headset is that their design is optimised for the frequency range of the human voice.
For further information on transcription software, foot pedals and headsets, please contact the Pacific Transcription Products Team. Some other software and equipment you may want to consider getting are speakers, text expansion apps and the latest version of Microsoft office.
Typists play a vital role in many businesses, so get started with all the skills and tools required to become success in this field. Good luck and happy typing!