Speech-to-text transcribers listen to spoken English and transcribe the message using specialized text expansion software. This service is useful for individuals who are Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing, visually impaired, or otherwise needing additional support.
Transcribers (sometimes called “real-time captionists”) are trained in meaning-for-meaning transcribing and do not produce a verbatim transcript. A meaning-for-meaning transcript includes environmental cues, non-verbal, and nuanced information.
According to the ADA, a qualified speech-to-text provider is defined as someone who effectively, accurately, and impartially conveys real-time communication access in text, either on-site or remotely. A qualified provider will have a high level of comprehension, ethical behavior, real-time speed, and accuracy” (Fast Facts-Speech to Text Services: Hiring Qualified Providers, 2015).
ATSP is committed to advancing the quality of speech-to-text transcribing services and supporting the professionals who do this important work. If you are interested in becoming a transcriber, the following information is to be used as a guide to your transcribing career.
Transcribers work in K-12, higher education, business, and community settings. Depending on the hiring entity and need, transcribers are employed part-time or full-time. You can work on-site or connect off-site via an audio connection such as Skype. Some transcribers have their own software and equipment (i.e, computer, steno table, reader device) while others have employers who provide the software and equipment.
Effective real-time communication requires specific skills to do the job well. Successful candidates have the ability to type (before training) at least 60 words per minute with high accuracy. A much higher base typing speed is recommended, so that once the candidate becomes trained in the use of condensing techniques and specialized software, the transcriber can keep up with the rapid pace of speech encountered in classes and meetings. Additionally, transcribers must have:
- basic computer knowledge
- good listening and memory skills
- excellent English skills
Both TypeWell and C-Print® train transcribers to retain and process information and accurately convey (type) the meaning. Using specialized text expansion software, transcribers type the information and the transcript appears immediately in a web browser page or a proprietary software application installed on the viewer’s device.
Skill building courses are required to learn these systems. The TypeWell coursework takes approximately 35-60 hours over a span of 2-3 months to complete. Expert TypeWell teachers provide support, encouragement, and regular focused feedback via email and phone. The C-Print® training course is available online through the Rochester Institute of Technology course management system. The C-Print Pro Server software is required to complete the training modules.