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Byword: A blog by and for the TW community

Deducting Job-Related Educational Expenses

Sometimes the answer to a question we receive from a transcriber can benefit others as well, so we’re sharing this one with you.

Q: Can any of the courses taken through TypeWell's LEO (Learning & Enrichment Online) be deducted on my taxes?

A: Yes, you can deduct the cost of continuing education courses — whether taken through TypeWell or elsewhere — with just a few stipulations...

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A Transcriber Among Students

The TypeWell transcriber's professional Code of Ethics prohibits the transcriber from participating in the class discussion or activities. This can create a distance between transcribers and the rest of the class — a distance that some students and instructors want to bridge.

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Coordinator Spotlight: Tina Cowsert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I interviewed Tina Cowsert recently about her process of acclimation to her new position as Access Specialist for Deaf/HOH and Blind/Low Vision students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) is a bustling and extensive department, and I was aware that TypeWell was likely only a small portion of Tina's position, particularly in the first few weeks, so I checked in with her about two months after her start date for this interview.

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On-Demand Transcribing: communication access, whenever you need it

Even for transcribers who have relatively stable part-time or full-time transcribing gigs, there are still gaps where the work (and the money) slows down. Transcribers aren’t earning income during holiday breaks, exam weeks, or when students cancel services due to illness. To fill in those gaps, one could simply hop onto a website like Shiftboard to pick-up available short-term jobs.

But in an interview with the New York Times, one economist said, "Can you imagine if this turns into an economy where everyone is doing piecework at all odd hours, and no one knows when the next job will come, and how much it will pay? What kind of private lives can we possibly have, what kind of relationships, what kind of families?”

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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, I transcribed the events for him.

I was pretty focused on my screen, but once in awhile I glanced up and saw...

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The Secrets of the PAL (Part 2)

I provided Steve with my own Personal Abbreviation List to get his analysis. I was surprised to find that certain words I had added were actually counter-productive. 

Steve put my entries into eight basic categories, two of which were bad. Here is his reasoning.

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Pilot Co-Op Class Begins November 2014

We're looking forward to offering several online continuing education opportunities for professional TypeWell transcribers and disability service coordinators. These will take place in a new section of our website called “LEO” (short for “Learning & Enrichment Online”). 

The course offerings will begin in earnest in Spring 2015, but the pilot class beginning this month marks our soft launch.

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The Secrets of The PAL (Part 1)

"I was thinking that transcribers hadn't been able to quickly identify the abbreviations that they use frequently and those they never use," says TypeWell co-founder Steve Colwell. "That was keeping them from maintaining their PALs effectively, both for pruning unused abbreviations, and for adding new ones such as for variant endings of abbreviations that have proved useful."

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The Transcriber Who Knew Too Much

The TypeWell Code of Ethics dictates that transcribers should serve as a “conduit of information” for consumers. In the tale I’m about to relate, a seasoned TypeWell transcriber knew that principle, but chose the wrong action...

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