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Transcriber Duties and Code of Ethics

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2015 03:37PM MST

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Being a TypeWell transcriber includes more than just listening and typing.  There are certain duties and professional behaviors that are part of the job of every TypeWell transcriber. 

The duties listed below relate to day-to-day work activities that are necessary parts of providing high-quality communication access and notes to students and other readers. 

Below the list of duties, you will see the TypeWell Transcriber's Code of Ethics.  It lists professional behaviors that must be followed rigorously by every transcriber, and must be supported and required by every service coordinator, service agency and independent contractor.  

A Transcriber's Duties

Prepare for lectures by looking over the textbook or handouts before class

Arrive 5 minutes before class to have enough time to set up your equipment. 

Arrange ahead of time with the instructor:

  • where you will sit so you can hear and see well

  • how you will indicate that you need something repeated

  • how the voicing process works, if you will be voicing questions and comments from the student/reader. 

  • that you will need a copy of any handouts given to the class/audience.

Actively use your abbreviation and condensing skills to keep up with the lecture and discussion.  Aim always for solid, high-quality meaning-for-meaning transcribing. 

Ask the instructor for copies of all handouts to aid your understanding of the content of the class or meeting.  These copies are for you, not for the person(s) reading your transcripts in the class or meeting. 

Don't say anything during class, except to ask for needed repetitions or the spelling of unfamiliar vocabulary.  Don't offer information or opinions, or otherwise engage in the activities of the class or meeting. 

Refer all student/reader content questions and comments to the instructor. 

Summarize videotapes, both captioned and uncaptioned ones. 

Do not do a meaning-for-meaning transcript of text that is read verbatim by an instructor or others.  Do state the page number being read, the title, and other clues to orient the reader.  Summarize the reading if appropriate, being sure to tell the reader it is your summary. 

Indicate when something important is shown on an overhead, the board or other visual display.  The student is usually responsible for copying diagrams and other graphical information. 

Edit your work during breaks in the class/meeting, IF you want to and you don't need a rest from typing.  Be alert so you can immediately start to transcribe when someone begins talking again. 

Work only on class-related materials in breaks in class, or when it is not your turn to type in a teaming situation.  Edit your notes, read the class materials, help your team mate, etc.  Do not read personal books or do personal tasks while in the class or meeting room

Be alert to your ergonomic needs.  Let your service coordinator know if you have any ergonomic questions or concerns.  Talk to your medical advisor for specific advice. 

Prepare and distribute notes in a timely fashion.  The goal is to get them to the readers on the same day, or within 24 hours at the latest. 

Maintain a professional relationship with the students and other readers, as well as with instructors and others in the class or meeting.  Do not share personal information, give advice about school, work or personal matters, etc. 

TypeWell Transcriber's Code of Ethics


  • The transcriber will keep strictly confidential all information learned during transcribing assignments.

  • The transcriber will accurately transcribe the meaning of the spoken utterances made by individuals in the class or other transcribing situation.

  • The transcriber will accurately voice comments and questions in reverse interpreting situations.

  • The transcriber will not answer student questions about class content.  The transcriber will instead facilitate communication between the instructor and student/reader, by transcribing or voicing as needed.

  • The transcriber will not offer opinions or input of any kind in classes and meetings, even if invited to do so by instructors or others.

  • The transcriber will accept only those assignments for which he or she possesses appropriate skills.

  • The transcriber will strive to continually improve his or her transcribing skills.

  • The transcriber will prevent unauthorized people from using TypeWell to provide services for students and others.

Click here to download the Transcriber's Code of Ethics (PDF format).

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