In order to have a high-quality smooth-running speech-to-text support service program, every site, service agency and independent contractor must have policies that address each of the items below.
It is important that policies be stated clearly at the beginning of service delivery, and that all parties are informed of expectations. These policies should be in written form, and given to all transcribers, instructors, students and other readers, and to parents (in pre-college settings).
In the case of independent contractors, written policies addressing the points below should be given to the site administrators as part of the initial work agreement with each school or other work site. Either the independent contractor or the site administrator should clearly have the responsibility to provide appropriate information about service policies to students and other readers, to instructors and presenters, and to parents (in pre-college settings) before the start of service delivery.
Some of the items below will already be addressed by a site's interpreting services policies, and those polices will be a good starting point for setting up policies for speech-to-text support services. However, some items below refer only to text-based services (e.g., item 1, 7, 8, 12 - 15, etc.), and it is important that these be thoughtfully developed and communicated to all parties. See the links at the bottom of this page for examples of site handbooks of specific policies developed by several sites.
Specific Policies YOU must develop
- How long will a transcriber wait at the start of a class/meeting if the reader is late? Is the transcriber to wait until a break in the class/meeting to pack up the transcribing laptops and other equipment, so as not to disturb everyone?
- What are students/readers to do if they know they will be late or absent?
- What will a transcriber be expected to do during the class/meeting time if a reader has a planned absence?
What about an unplanned absence? Will the transcriber be paid for the assignment?
- What is the transcriber to do if he or she must miss an assignment?
Who is to be called and when?
- How will service be provided to a reader in the event of a transcriber's absence?
- Is the transcriber to inform anyone if the student/reader misses a class/meeting?
- Is the transcriber to inform anyone if the student/reader does not look at the computer at all during a class/meeting?
- Is the transcriber to inform anyone if the student/reader does not pick up notes in a timely fashion?
What is a 'timely fashion'?
- How and when will teaming be done?
- How will Prep Time be handled?
What are criteria for needing prep time, length of time, pay level?
- Will videos be available for preview before class?
Who will handle getting these?
- Will notes be polished before being given to the reader?
- Is the transcriber to give a copy of the notes to the instructor? Can an instructor distribute the notes to other students without informing the support services supervisor this is being done?
- Who is the transcriber to inform if there are equipment problems?
- Is the transcriber allowed to use the laptop for personal work (e.g., his or her own course work)?
- Who will inform instructors and students at the start of the term that a transcriber will be in a particular class?
- Who will inform the instructor, students/readers, and parents (in a pre-college setting) about the proper professional behaviors related to the service (e.g., the instructor is not to engage the transcriber in class discussion, nor ask the transcriber to help students in the class; the student cannot chat socially with the transcriber; the student cannot ask the transcriber questions about class content; parents and the transcriber are not to communicate directly about the service or the class)?
- Who will deal with any 'people issues' that arise, such as instructors, students or parents not following the specific site policies about which everyone has been informed? Which issues should the transcriber handle himself/herself, and which must be referred to a site supervisor?
Sample Handbooks and Policies
Many sites have developed detailed, high-quality written policies and handbooks for running their TypeWell support services program. We thank the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, and Oregon State University in Corvallis for their gracious permission to share their materials with you.
You can also include a copy of the TypeWell Transcriber's Code of Ethics (pdf format).
Next read technical information about using the TypeWell software.