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Seven Questions: Andrew Hansen

We continue our series of 7 Questions, in which we interview transcribers and coordinators who are part of the TypeWell community.

This month we meet with Andrew Hansen, a TypeWell transcriber in New York City with All Hands in Motion Professional Sign Language Interpreters LLC.

If you had to describe your job to someone with no knowledge of TW — in 30 seconds or less — what would you say?

My standard response is: "I sit in college classrooms and 'closed caption' the lecture for deaf and hard-of-hearing students." If the conversation continues, I go into more details about how it all actually works.

How and at what age did you learn to type, or what did you enjoy about learning to type?

Commodore 64 system

My grandfather had an old typewriter in his office that I loved to play with at a very early age. When my family bought our first computer (a Commodore 64), we were each able to choose one game. I chose a learn-to-type game.

What did you study in college, or what were your favorite subjects in school?

I have a BFA in Musical Theater from Otterbein University, a tiny school in Westerville, Ohio. It was basically a double major in Music and Theater and I loved all of those classes. It was definitely a fun way to get through college.

What do you believe are the most important skills or traits for a TypeWell transcriber to have?

I believe the number one skill you should have is a high typing speed so that you don't have to stress about missing important information. Another skill that I feel has come in handy is the ability to absorb random bits of information whenever you're reading, watching television or a movie, and having casual conversations while you're out and about. It's amazing how often something is mentioned in a class that I just heard or read about and I can dredge that up out of my memory so I'm not completely in the dark.

If you could change anything about your work, what would it be?

I would love my job to be more stable as far as pay and benefits go.

Fisherman's Friend cough lozenge

What's the weirdest thing we might find on your desk or in your roller bag?

Fisherman's Friend cough lozenges. They taste horrible, but they work!

Who inspires you, and why?

The very first client I worked with as a TypeWell transcriber was born and raised in Switzerland. This person was completely deaf until the age of 16. Then my client received a cochlear implant and heard speech for the very first time. In just a few years, this person was speaking French, German, and English with complete fluency and had written a book about the experience. That kind of drive and determination completely inspires me.

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Edited by Betty Barnes

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