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English skill requirements for transcriber candidates

The transcriber training candidate must have good English grammar and spelling skills. What the transcriber writes will be the main source of information for some readers, whose English skills may still be formative. If the transcriber uses imperfect English, they may pass on those lesser skills to the readers.

In addition, the TypeWell abbreviation system depends on accurate spelling. Poor spelling can negate the speed advantages of the system. In other words, the system is designed to enhance the speed of accurate spellers, but at the cost of getting in the way of poor spellers. Therefore, poor spellers often flunk out of the course partway through.

Finally, it's important to not only be able to write grammatical English but to be able to write grammatical English quickly. That's a big difference. We find that some candidates, who can produce correct English when using a spell checker and taking time to check over their work, slip into inferior grammar and spelling when typing at high speed. A transcriber will be writing English as rapidly as possible. There won't be time to think about rules of grammar or to puzzle over spelling.

If the candidate has to concentrate to get the grammar right, or their her written grammar or spelling is poor, the job will be frustrating and the reader won't be able to easily understand what the transcriber writes.

What is the grammar screening test like?

During the application for the Basic Skills Course, we present the candidate with a series of sentences to see if they can quickly distinguish between correct and incorrect grammar.

Here is an example of the format of the questions we'll be asking:

In the above example, the correct response would be to click the No button, since the sentence isn't complete. Now, below is an example where the correct response would be to click the Yes button:

The test questions will cover many aspects of grammar and spelling, including not just proper use of different types of words but also proper use of commas and apostrophes.