What you need to become a typist
What equipment do I need to work as a typist?
At a professional level, transcription requires more than just a computer and a keyboard. To achieve the high levels of accuracy and quality that TypeOut strives for, there are a few essential pieces of equipment you need if you’re going to be working for us.
We have given examples of popular brands, but it may be worth doing your own research to see what suits your needs and budget.
It is essential to buy a good quality set of headphones. Not only will the audio be clearer (so you’ll spend less time rewinding the tape) but the connections will be made out of better quality materials meaning you’ll get less audio noise and other problems. At TypeOut head office we insist on our team using Sennheiser headphones – Sennheiser HD 201 headphones start from around £20 to £30.
A foot pedal is used to fast forward, play and rewind the audio via a piece of equipment that you can control with your feet. This enables you to type much faster as you do not have to keep pausing to rewind the tape.
Most brands have fully customizable features so that you can assign switches to different functions. We recommend using a good brand – this is going to be something you’re going to be using for a long time so it’s worth getting good quality. At the TypeOut head office we use Olympus foot pedals.
It needs to be USB compatible as most computers have USB connections these days. At TypeOut head office we use the Olympus RS28H footswitch.
Apart from the two pieces of hardware above, you’ll need a computer program to be able to listen to and control the audio files. Pre-installed Windows software like media player will not do for transcribing.
There are many pieces of software out there, some of which come bundled with the foot pedal, others you can download from the internet. Some of the most popular ones are Olympus software & Express Scribe.
Some are free and some you have to pay for, with the purchased software there are more features and they are more compatible with different types of audio files.
As well as the transcription software it is also useful to download some free audio enhancement software and audio file conversion software. These would need a little research but if you can convert files you have the flexibility to be able to transcribe all types of audio / video files – meaning you are not restricting yourself.
Sound enhancement software can be great if you have been given a poor quality audio file to transcribe – you can boost the audio or clean it up.