Last month, at the TypeWell TECHWell 2016 Conference in Reno, Nevada, the Association for Transcribers and Speech-to-Text Providers hosted an Information and Planning Session, where members of the TypeWell and C-Print communities had a chance to ask questions and learn more about ATSP’s and the organization’s future goals.
“It’s important to thank our consumers,” said ATSP President, Shannon Cowling. “Without them, we wouldn’t be in this position now. We wouldn’t be working or have an organization. I want to make sure that we’re mindful of our stakeholders, consumers, and people that we work for and with.”
ATSP started back in 2014 with an initial task force whose focus was on examining the needs in the field of speech-to-text service provision. After meetings with tax accountants, non-profit consultants, and an attorney who reviewed the organization’s bylaws and articles of incorporation, 2016 quickly became the year of independence for ATSP, with the organization finally opening its doors to memberships, forming a Subject Matter Expert Panel, and starting a job analysis pilot program (the first step toward establishing certification for the field). By autumn of this year, ATSP should have 501(c)(3) status.
Most of the Information Session focused on how ATSP, as a non-profit organization plans to promote excellence and integrity in the delivery of real-time speech-to-text communication access, through the following steps:
• Establishing a national standard of quality for speech-to-text service providers
• Educating the public about real-time speech-to-text accommodations
• Strengthening networks between providers and stakeholders
• Advocating for equal access to effective communication
• Developing and maintaining continuing education programs, certification, and accreditation for speech-to-text service providers
In the words of one attendee: “I think in the minds of administrators ATSP gives legitimacy. [Having] an organization behind you means you’re not just someone who happens to type.”
One way in which ATSP can build legitimacy is through developing a certification process. To help advance these efforts toward certification, ATSP needs at least 400 service providers, coordinators, agency owners, and other advocates to complete the verification survey posted here on ATSP’s website.
“We want our field to be strong. We want a network of like-minded people,” said ATSP Co-Treasurer Karen Walraven. “[So] we count on the community for your time and membership status.”
Jason Kapcala is Coordinator of Auxiliary Aids for West Virginia University’s Office of Accessibility Services. Prior to becoming a Transcriber, he worked as a writer and college English instructor.