Does typing speed matter? Yes, when you’re doing transcriptions. The faster you type as a transcriber, the more you’d likely catch up with the speaker—the easier it would be to produce a transcript at any given time.
Most audio typing transcription services have a 4:1 ratio standard. This means that one transcriber can transcribe hour-long audio in four hours. Time standard also is dependent on the audio quality you’ve to work with. If the file contains muffled voices, loud sounds, or there is more than one speaker talking at the same time—this will take more time to transcribe.
Your listening and typing skills are two of your best selling points as a transcriptionist. Perfecting your listening skills is easy. Simply, buy a good pair of headsets and work in a quiet environment—then you’re all set. Typing, on the other hand, requires a bit of practice.
It’s also not just important to type fast, you also have to be accurate. Lucky for you, there are many ways to improve your typing speed and accuracy. Read the tips below to help you get started:
The easiest way to improve your speed in typing is just to type a lot. Transcribe a few audio files every day to harness your skill. If you want free audio files to transcribe, there’s actually a lot you can find on Youtube. You can also improve your typing skills by practicing with typing games and apps. There are so many good ones these days that you’ll absolutely have fun while using them.
2. Follow the Correct Typing Technique
Type with both hands. The basic principle is that one of your thumbs should always be on the keyboard. You should also avoid wood pecking. Wood pecking is when you’re typing with a single finger. Instead, use touch typing techniques. Both F and J have raised bars over them and this will help you position your hands on the right keys.
Your fingers should always be on the home keys: A, S, D, and F for the left and J, K, L, and; for the right. Using all your fingers will significantly improve your typing speed. The only way to become good at typing and to type fast is to memorize the positions and keep a mental map of the keys. It will be a bit hard at first, but over time, you’ll definitely get better with practice.
3. Sit Comfortably
You should be seated comfortably with your back inwards. It’s also important to use a table that has the right height so that your wrist and finger rest on the keyboard. The lower part of your body should also be in a comfortable position, and your feet firm on the ground.
4. Take Breaks
When your fingers or wrists are tired, take a break. Breaks are great for remaining productive. It will also help alleviate eye strain and fatigue on wrists and fingers. Just like we take a few minutes of break at work, it’s usually beneficial too when we take breaks from transcribing work.
Breaks can be spent on doing productive and fun things like stretching, playing a game, or taking a nap. This will refresh your brain and get you back to focus after working long hours. Some people can take longer 3-5 hour works while others need short work hours of 1-2. Find your rhythm and incorporate breaks in your workflow.
5. Avoid Looking at the Keyboard
If you want to be a fast typist, you should avoid looking at the keyboard. This will train your fingers to be more accurate while typing. It will also develop your muscle memory so that you will have fewer mistakes. Your brain will simply imprint the position of the keys so that even when you’re not looking, you know where they are.
6. Use Transcription Software and Tools
If you’re working on a time-limited transcription job, you’ll probably appreciate the use of tools to make your tasks more efficient. If you’re transcribing, you might want to install special transcription software that can enable you to hear the audio again. Good transcription software often has hotkeys that allow you to speed up, slow down, rewind, or pause audio whenever you need to.
Many web-based transcription tools also let you upload and transcribe recordings online. Some of the most recommended transcription tools online include Express Scribe, Inscribe, and the FTW Transcriber. While most of them have free versions, their upgrades can surely make your work a lot more efficient.
There are also amazing free correction tools that can help you type faster by auto-correcting mistakes you make. Examples of these are the autocorrect on Google Docs and MS Word.
7. Try a Foot Pedal
Foot pedals allow you to stop or start audio with your foot. This is usually used by the most professional transcribers and it helps a lot with efficiency. It’s a bit of an extra purchase but if you’re serious about transcription, it can definitely help you.
8. Master Dialects and Accents
One reason many transcriptionists have a hard time with their files is because of accents they can’t comprehend in audio. Today, there are many websites that can help you get familiar with different dialects and accents of English. You can practice on them for ear-training. This will greatly improve your transcripts over time.
9. Divide Work into Smaller Chunks
Transcribing can be tedious work. To keep you focused and energized throughout the whole transcription job, break the audio and tasks into batches. The whole point of this is to trick your brain that you can tackle work in one sitting. This will often lead to high concentration and better transcript results.
10. Outsource Transcription Work
Today, there are many freelance transcriptionists who can transcribe audio and video files fast. If you’re on a tight deadline and need to do more than three or four in a day—delegating some of your work to get more work done can also be beneficial.
11. Work in a Quiet Environment
Increase your productivity and concentration while transcribing by controlling your environment. Strive to transcribe in a quiet and distraction-free place so that you can work faster and have error-free transcripts. If this isn’t possible, you can also buy noise-canceling headphones to block the noise from outside.