Add TypeWell to your feed

Byword: A blog by and for the TW community

Volunteer Transcribing: Combining Your Passions

Editor's note: We are always thrilled to hear about TypeWell transcribers who volunteer their services in the community. Do you volunteer? Leave a comment below about what you do and why!  

Recently I had the opportunity to combine two things I feel quite passionate about: providing communication access and the plight of the honey bee. While I have been a TypeWell transcriber since 2006, I've only this year become a beekeeper. I've been following the plight of the honey bee in the news and felt I had to do something.

Kristin R Transcribing In Bee Suit
Kristin transcribing in a bee suit by her bee box

In the process of becoming a beekeeper and learning everything I can about all types of bees, I met a retired Deputy Agricultural Commissioner of California. Rich Little is also an entomologist and Master Gardener. Rich is working diligently to save all pollinators which includes honey bees, bumblebees, mason bees, and bats to name a few, but is specifically focusing on the native bees of Oregon. 

Rich is well-known for his work with the native bees and was asked to consult on the Governor’s Task Force for Pollinator Health. I met Rich while taking one of his classes this summer, and again two days later when Rich presented at my local beekeeping meeting. 

Rich has a profound hearing loss and is hoping to receive a cochlear implant early next year. His passion and tireless work for the pollinators inspired me to act. I sent Rich an email telling him about TypeWell and volunteered to provide service toward his efforts. After I demonstrated the service, his response was, “where were you 40 years ago?” He decided he could most use the service for the task force meetings at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

To date, we have attended two of the four meetings, I was thankful to have fellow transcriber Julie Aho at the second meeting. She is the person who introduced me to TypeWell, and she volunteered to team with me. Rich is exuberant in his praise for the service, claiming he gets more out of the meetings by having the assistance of a real-time transcript.

Rich and Kristin at Capitol building

Rich Little and Kristin Rifai

Moments like these remind me why I love TypeWell. I love being able to provide communication access to deaf and hard of hearing individuals who may never have experienced it before. Being appreciated by these folks is a huge reward.

There are two more meetings in which Kristin and Rich will be working together. Kristin is looking for others who would volunteer to team with her for those three-hour meetings. If you are interested, please contact Kristin at helpfultype [at] 

Saturday, August 16, 2014 is National Honey Bee Day!


Kristin Rifai

Kristin Rifai is the owner of Helpful Type; a communication access provider and a Human Resources Consultant at Oregon State University where she received her BA in Anthropology.She received her MBA from Marylhurst University. She resides in Corvallis, O

comments powered by Disqus