Transcribing for My Dad
My father is an active, funny, interested (and interesting!) 76 year old man. He's also late-deafened. Three years ago, when he and my mom were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary at a couple of different parties with friends and family — one in the Northwest and one at their snowbird home near Phoenix — I transcribed the events for him.
I had started transcribing a couple of years previously, so my father had been aware of my job and what it entails, but I'd never transcribed for him. These parties seemed to warrant me doing so.
He laughed when somebody said something funny.
He got it when the person was saying it.
The set-up at the parties involved round tables for guests positioned around the room, with a microphone up front. My parents sat at one of the tables near the front, with a laptop in front of them, and I was positioned behind them with my laptop on a steno table.
As always when working, I was pretty focused on my screen, but once in awhile I glanced up and saw my dad watching the screen pretty intently. I loved that! I loved seeing that what I was doing was helping him.
But even better that that? I'd see him laugh! He laughed when people said something funny — and that meant he got it! He got it when the person was saying it. My mom didn't have to repeat it back to him loudly after he noticed that people around him were laughing.
Some of our friends and family were aware ahead of time that I would be transcribing for my dad. Some stood behind me to watch. When it it was my dad's turn to speak, he explained to the rest of the guests what I was doing (and I saw a possible future career develop, as the eyes of my dad's elderly friends lit up with understanding and appreciation!).
After the first event, my dad sent me an e-mail that I'll remember for a long time. He said:
"Thank you! Thank you. I haven't been able to follow things for years because I couldn't hear what people were saying. This time I could."
Sometimes now I'll open up a TypeWell Web Linking channel on my laptop and call my dad, telling him to open the Web Reader page on his computer. Then he'll talk and I'll write my replies. We've had better conversations since I started doing this, which has been great. I'm thankful for how TypeWell can be used not just to provide service in the classroom, but in various other avenues as well.