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Posted on 6th June 2018 • Categories: Transcription

I often get asked what the difference is between a typist and transcriptionist?  After all both roles essentially involve typing, together with excellent grammar, spelling and typing skills.

A Typist:

A skilled typist can produce typed documents with speed and accuracy on average between 65 to 85 words per minute (WPM), while the average person can type about 20 to 30 words per minute (WPM).

A typist will often have other duties included within the role including: filing, photocopying, answering phones and other administrative tasks.

A Transcriptionist:

A skilled transcriptionist can produce an accurate, written record of audio recordings.

Transcriptionists use a foot pedal to play, pause, fast forward or rewind the audio file they are working on to match their typing speed. Many transcriptionists will specialise in a particular field such as legal, surveying, medical and academic transcription.

Transcription is far more complicated than copy typing because it involves:

  1. Accents and dialects: Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to understand some of the speakers on audio files. There can often be strong accents, non-English accents fast speakers and quiet speakers.
  2. Audio Quality: The quality of the recording will also affect the difficulty of the task. Low quality equipment for the recording can affect the sound quality as can background noise, making it hard for the transcriber to understand and hear the recording clearly.
  3. Number of Speakers: If there are multiple speakers, the job of the Transcriptionist is going to become more difficult, as they need to be able to accurately identify each speaker and sometimes they will have to identify between quite a large number of speakers, maybe up to twelve people. So there is a lot of concentration required on the transcriptionist’s behalf.