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Why did you become a TypeWell transcriber?

Ask ten TypeWell transcribers the question, "What exactly do you do?" and you’ll get ten different versions of the same answer. But ask them, "What drew you to this profession?" and you’ll be surprised at the diversity of reasons.

"Distance learning students just want to get on with their learning and save the teacher interaction for when they really need it."
Woman Talking On Cell Phone

When I first joined the TypeWell teaching team in 2009, we conducted an introductory phone call with each new transcribing student. During those calls, we’d get to know each other a bit and discuss what to expect from the course.

We’ve since learned that most modern distance learners prefer to keep their distance, at least initially. Pressed for time in an ever-busier lifestyle, students just want to get on with their learning and save the teacher interaction for when they really need it. So we shifted to an online questionnaire a couple of years ago.

But are we asking new candidates the right questions? I recently had a discussion with some colleagues about what makes a "career" TypeWell transcriber. It seems that for some, this work is just a temporary gig during college until they graduate and move on to their chosen career. For others (myself included), this becomes their chosen career once they realize how much they love the work.

So I recently added to the questionnaire for the Basic Skills Course:

How did you learn about this job? What in particular drew you to this profession?

As you might expect, many candidates pursue the job of a TypeWell transcriber because it seems like a good fit for their existing skill set. That — combined with a desire to learn or a desire to help others — is a common motivation:

“What drew me to the profession is the fact that I have been typing since I was very young when my mother had me learn to type through Mavis Beacon and it is a skill I've longed to use in some profession or another. This job allows me to use my skills as well as to help others.”

“They advertised needing someone with good typing, spelling and communication skills. All of which I have!”

“I was drawn to transcribing because it seemed like a very flexible job that would help me improve skills applicable to my major (such as typing super fast, accurate and concise paraphrasing skills, memory exercise, etc...).”

“I have always been very interested in academia, and language use is something that has fascinated me for a long time. I think it is an interesting way to use my love of academia and my linguistics background to provide a much needed service to hearing-impaired people.”

Some candidates learn about TypeWell through a personal reference or social media:

“I heard about this opportunity through the Facebook page for my university’s Deaf Studies program.”

“My partner is a sign language interpreter and she told me about this profession.”

“My friend has been working as a transcriber and has had nothing but positive things to say for the past couple of years.”

If you consider yourself a "career transcriber" please tell us: What drew you to TypeWell initially, and what are your reasons for sticking with it?

What questions might you want to ask new transcribers who are just starting their journey?

photo credits: Lori Greig via photopin cc and pheezy via photopin cc


Kate Ervin

Kate became a TypeWell transcriber in 2004 and began training new transcribers in 2009. She has served as TypeWell's Executive Director since 2011.

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