In this article:
- What is the TypeWell Skill Assessment?
- Which skills are being assessed?
- Is there a knowledge test (e.g. multiple choice or short essay)?
- How long does the assessment take, and when will we see the results?
- What is the subject content and difficulty level of the lecture to be transcribed?
- INFORMATION DENSITY as a measure of difficulty level
- What Terms & Conditions apply to the Skill Assessment?
- Will other Skill Assessments be offered in the future?
Grading & Reporting
- How is the Skill Assessment graded?
- Who will grade my Skill Assessment?
- How are the results reported?
- Will a more detailed report be available?
- Will I receive a copy of my transcript?
- Do the results of the Skill Assessment equate to a certification?
- Who may view the results of a transcriber’s Skill Assessment?
- How will the results of the Skill Assessment assist employers?
Eligibility & Preparation
- Who is eligible to take the Skill Assessment?
- How can transcribers prepare for the Skill Assessment?
- Can a transcriber take the Skill Assessment more than once?
Outcome & Follow-Up
- If a transcriber does poorly on the Skill Assessment, will their TypeWell service qualification be revoked?
- Will TypeWell offer follow-up training for transcribers to improve their skills?
Pricing & Payment
- How much does the Skill Assessment cost?
- Is the Skill Assessment fee refundable or transferable?
- Are there any discounts available?
- How do I pay for my own Skill Assessment?
- I’m an employer. How do I pay for a transcriber’s Skill Assessment?
- Why does the email address return an error message, “Invalid or non-registered e-mail”?
- Is a proctor required for the Skill Assessment?
- What type of software license is required to take the Skill Assessment?
- What equipment is required to take the Skill Assessment?
- Is an internet connection required?
Additional FAQs for TypeWell Transcribers
- I’m ready to take the Skill Assessment! How do I proceed?
- Will I be able to use my own Personal Abbreviation List (PAL)?
- Should I complete the Skill Assessment in one sitting?
- I need to exit out of the Skill Assessment program so that I can use TypeWell for normal work. How do I get out of Skill Assessment mode?
- I exited out of the Skill Assessment before starting the scored lecture. How do I resume the Skill Assessment?
What is the TypeWell Skill Assessment?
A Skill Assessment is a service provided by TypeWell, whereby an experienced transcriber listens to and transcribes an audio lecture (provided by TypeWell) and then submits the completed transcript for evaluation.
Which skills are being assessed?
The transcriber’s skills are measured in the following categories:
- Rate of Content Captured
- Quality of Message Content
- Technical Skills
Is there a knowledge test (e.g. multiple choice or short essay)?
No. The Skill Assessment is designed solely to assess a transcriber’s real-time transcribing skills.
How long does the assessment take, and when will we see the results?
The Skill Assessment can be completed by a transcriber in less than 1 hour.
The results of the Skill Assessment will be posted on the transcriber’s Educational History page within 6-8 weeks. Once the results are posted, we’ll send an email to the transcriber (and also to the paying party, if applicable).
What is the subject content and difficulty level of the lecture to be transcribed?
The first assessment (ENG200, available early 2017) is based on a 200-level College English lecture. The average speed of the ENG200 lecture is 121 words per minute (WPM), with a high of about 185 WPM. The average information density of the lecture is 11 ideas per minute (IPM), with a high of 19 IPM.
INFORMATION DENSITY as a measure of difficulty level:
For a meaning-for-meaning transcriber, the difficulty level of a lecture conversation has more to do with the density of information than the rate of speech. Some speakers convey a lot of meaning in few words, while other speakers may use a lot of words to convey relatively few concepts.
TypeWell transcribers are trained to adjust to these variations in speaking style by varying their typing speed along with their style of text output. A relatively slow lecture segment can be transcribed nearly word-for-word (although this is not the goal of meaning-for-meaning transcribing). A fast lecture segment, however, requires the use of condensing and paraphrasing skills to convey the full meaning of the spoken message in fewer words, while maintaining accuracy, completeness, and readability.
For verbatim communication access, it makes sense to evaluate the provider’s skill based on the rate of speech (words per minute, or WPM). In contrast, the difficulty level of TypeWell’s Skill Assessments for meaning-for-meaning service providers will take into consideration not only the WPM but also the “information density” of the source lecture (ideas per minute, or IPM).
By accounting for variations in speaking style, employers, mentors, and scheduling staff can better understand how well individual TypeWell transcribers might perform in various classroom, meeting, or conversational settings.
What Terms & Conditions apply to the Skill Assessment?
Transcribers who complete the Skill Assessment—as well as any party paying for the Skill Assessment on behalf of a transcriber—must agree to the following Terms & Conditions:
- Once I have downloaded the Skill Assessment, the fee is non-refundable.
- Completion of this Skill Assessment does not constitute a service qualification, certification, or any other credential. It is merely an assessment of my current skills.
- Completion of this Skill Assessment does not allow me to teach others to use the TypeWell transcription system.
- A summary of my performance on this Skill Assessment will be posted to the Educational History page in my TypeWell account. I can sign in to my account and enter the email addresses of current or potential employers to whom I wish to provide access to that page.
- TypeWell reserves the right to provide current or potential employers with access to my Educational History page when requested.
- I will not hold TypeWell liable for any change in employment status that I may experience as a result of my performance on this Skill Assessment.
- I will not discuss the content of the lectures in this Skill Assessment with anyone, including my employer.
The Skill Assessment is also covered by TypeWell's End-User License Agreement (EULA).
Will other Skill Assessments be offered in the future?
TypeWell plans to offer new/different Skill Assessments periodically, using different source lectures from different types of classes/settings and varying degrees of difficulty.
Grading & Reporting
How is the Skill Assessment graded?
The transcript will be securely uploaded to the TypeWell server, where it is decoded and then manually graded by a team of trained scorers. The identity of the transcriber is withheld from the scorers, and double-blind scoring is employed to provide multiple, independent readings.
Detailed quantitative data are tallied and transferred into a weighted scoring rubric. These quantitative measures include the percent of scored content captured in the transcript, number of fact accuracy errors, number of grammar mistakes, etc.
The weighted scoring rubric is proprietary, and quantitative data and thresholds will not be shared publicly.
Who will grade my Skill Assessment?
The team of trained scorers includes TypeWell teachers and experienced transcribers who have been selected and trained by TypeWell. To protect the process, the scorers' names will remain confidential.
How are the results reported?
Results will be reported on the transcriber’s Educational History page in the form of qualitative rankings for each category:
- Rate of Content Captured
- Clarity / Accuracy / Completeness (previously, "Quality of Message Content")
- Technical Skills
The email notification sent privately to the transcriber will also identify 3-5 skills to improve.
Will a more detailed report be available?
After viewing the Skill Assessment results on their Educational History page, transcribers can order a separate list of Transcript Deficiencies ($20) or a more detailed Feedback Report ($50). The Feedback Report will be prepared by a TypeWell Teacher and sent via email within 10 business days. This report will provide a more detailed breakdown of the skills demonstrated within each skill category. The Feedback Report will also include specific practice strategies that the transcriber can use to remediate any problem areas.
For more information: [Skill Assessment Supplementary Feedback]
Will I receive a copy of my typed transcript?
No, unfortunately, we cannot share transcripts. Doing so would compromise the integrity of the Skill Assessment, which is designed to be a tool for uniformly evaluating transcribers' skills. If you are seeking individualized and comprehensive feedback, please consider a Skill Consultation instead.
Benefits of a Skill Consultation (which are NOT part of this Skill Assessment) include the ability to:
- choose your own lecture topic
- watch a screencast recording of your real-time work
- review your transcript against the audio
- see specific examples of wording/phrasing in your own transcript that could be improved
- receive feedback within a day or two of the observation, while the lecture is still fresh in your mind (vs. 6-8 weeks for the Skill Assessment)
Do the results of the Skill Assessment equate to a certification?
No, this is not a certification test.
For more information about a certification process for TypeWell transcribers, please visit the Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers (ATSP) at atspnetwork.org.
Who may view the results of a transcriber’s Skill Assessment?
The Skill Assessment results will be posted on the transcriber’s Educational History page, which is the transcriber’s official training record. That page displays the transcriber’s original training date as well as any TypeWell-sanctioned continuing education courses that have been attempted or completed.
Once the results of a Skill Assessment are posted, the transcriber (and the paying party, if applicable) will be notified by email that the transcriber’s training record has been updated.
A transcriber can access their training record by signing into their account and clicking on the “History” tab. From there, the transcriber can type in the email address of a prospective or current employer and click the button to “Send access to this page.” This will send a secure link from the TypeWell server directly to that email address. (Transcribers should NOT print or take screenshots of their Educational History page to share with others; the emailed URL is the official way to access the most current and valid training and assessment records.)
NOTE: The individual or organization who pays for the Skill Assessment (if other than the transcriber) may request access to the results of the transcriber’s Skill Assessment by emailing email@example.com. TypeWell reserves the right to provide employers with a secure URL to view a transcriber’s Educational History page when requested. If a transcriber pays for their own Skill Assessment, TypeWell will NOT share the results without the transcriber's permission.
How will the results of the Skill Assessment benefit or assist employers?
TypeWell has always encouraged employers to evaluate their speech-to-text providers on an ongoing basis. The results of a Skill Assessment are not comprehensive or predictive, nor should they be considered a substitute for ongoing evaluation and supervision. It is our hope that these formal Skill Assessments will help those employers who need assistance with evaluating their transcribers’ skills (especially those who do not have a background in speech-to-text services).
Employers may use the results of a Skill Assessment to gauge how well a transcriber might perform in a transcribing assignment of similar difficulty level. However, employers should not assume that a transcriber who attains a certain grade or outcome on the Skill Assessment will automatically be qualified for every assignment.
Eligibility & Preparation
Who is eligible to take the Skill Assessment?
To take the Skill Assessment, you should be a TypeWell transcriber with:
- a current service qualification, and
- a minimum of one year of real-time transcribing experience.
As most TypeWell transcribers work in the academic setting, one “academic year” (9-10 months) is sufficient experience to take the ENG200 Skill Assessment.
Future Skill Assessments that use more difficult source lectures (e.g. advanced mathematics) may require additional transcribing experience.
How can transcribers prepare for the Skill Assessment?
The best preparation for the Skill Assessment is to regularly use the TypeWell software to provide real-time communication access in live classes or meetings. No additional preparation is necessary.
Can a transcriber take the Skill Assessment more than once?
A transcriber may retake the same Skill Assessment after 12 months (from the assessment date, not the report date).
Retaking the Skill Assessment will not replace the transcriber’s original score, but it will add a new score to the transcriber’s official training record (i.e., the Educational History page).
If a transcriber does poorly on the Skill Assessment, will their TypeWell service qualification be revoked?
No. However, if a transcriber does very poorly on the Skill Assessment, their service qualification may be downgraded to “probationary status” with the following notation on their official training record:
PROBATIONARY QUALIFICATION to provide real-time communication access services, on-site or remotely, at the Basic Skill Level. NOT qualified to provide communication access services in advanced or highly technical classes. Remedial training and mentoring strongly recommended. TypeWell reserves the right to administer a requalification test within 6-12 months. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The purpose of the Skill Assessment is not to identify and punish transcribers who may be struggling, but rather to identify areas for improvement and to provide transcribers and their employers with the opportunity to improve the quality of service they provide to consumers.
Will TypeWell offer follow-up training for transcribers to improve their skills?
TypeWell offers several follow-up training opportunities for transcribers to improve their skills:
- Skill Assessment Supplementary Feedback
- Refresher Course
- Individual Skill Consultation Package
- Turbo Courselet
- LEO Short Courses & Co-Op Classes
Pricing & Payment
How much does the Skill Assessment cost?
The price of the ENG-200 Skill Assessment is $150.
Is the Skill Assessment fee refundable or transferable?
Once the Skill Assessment has been downloaded into the transcriber’s TypeWell program, the fee is non-refundable. Because they use their account email/password to log in and download the file, that downloaded file is then associated with that specific transcriber.
If the file has not yet been downloaded, then the fee can be refunded OR transferred to a different transcriber, less at $25 administrative charge.
Are there any discounts available?
Yes! The Association of Transcribers and Speech-to-text Providers (ATSP) is a non-profit professional association for people who work in this field. TypeWell offers a $25 discount on the Skill Assessment fee for current members of ATSP. Visit atspnetwork.org for information about ATSP's membership rates and other benefits.
Additionally, employers purchasing 15 or more Skill Assessments may qualify for a bulk discount. Contact us for more information about bulk discounts.
Discounts are entered on the Services page using a promo code. Discounts cannot be combined.
How do I pay for my own Skill Assessment?
If you are a qualified TypeWell transcriber in good standing:
- Sign in to your TypeWell account and go to the Services tab and select the option to “Purchase for myself.” Click the Purchase button to pay by PayPal or credit card.
- Once the Skill Assessment has been paid for, you will be able to download and run the Skill Assessment through your TypeWell Transcriber software program (revision 753 or higher). When you click Train > Skill Assessment, you will be prompted to enter your account email address and password again, at which point the server will validate that your Skill Assessment has been paid for.
- Remember to keep a copy of your emailed receipt, so you can write off the Skill Assessment as a business expense!
I’m an employer. How do I pay for a transcriber’s Skill Assessment?
To pay for someone else’s Skill Assessment, you need to be signed into a TypeWell account. If your organization already has a TypeWell account, then you (or the account manager) should sign in to that account. If you don’t have a TypeWell account, please request one by sending us an email.
Once signed in, go to the Services tab and select the option to “Purchase for others.” Enter the email address(es) of the transcriber(s) for whom you wish to purchase a Skill Assessment. You need to enter the official email address associated with the transcriber’s TypeWell account; that is, the same email address they use to sign in to their account. If you enter an invalid email address or one that’s not associated with a qualified transcriber’s account, you will receive an error message.
You can enter up to 10 email addresses per transaction. Click the Purchase button to pay by PayPal or credit card.
Once the Skill Assessment has been paid for, the transcriber(s) will be able to download and run the Skill Assessment through their V7 Transcriber software program (revision 753 or higher).
When they click Train > Skill Assessment, they will be prompted to enter their user account credentials, at which point the server will validate that their Skill Assessment has been paid for.
Why does the email address return an error message, “Invalid or non-registered e-mail”?
The Skill Assessment can only be purchased for TypeWell transcribers with a current service qualification. Here are some reasons why you might be seeing that message:
- The email address was misspelled or mistyped. (Make sure that the email address is exactly the same as the one the transcriber uses to sign into their account. NOTE: some schools use different email subdomains like email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.)
- The email address belongs to a transcriber whose service qualification has been revoked. (In this case, the transcriber’s Educational History page will say “Refresher Course Required.”)
- The email address belongs to someone who has a TypeWell account but who has not yet successfully completed the Basic Skills Course.
What type of software license is required to take the Skill Assessment?
To complete the Skill Assessment, a transcriber needs to use the V7 or V8 Transcriber software (either Basic or Premium), revision 753 or higher.
What equipment is required to take the Skill Assessment?
Transcribers should complete the activity on their usual transcribing computer (laptop or desktop), i.e., wherever their TypeWell Transcriber software is currently installed. The Skill Assessment will download and run directly within their Transcriber software program (revision 753 or higher). The computer should be plugged in during the Skill Assessment or have enough charge to allow the transcriber to complete the lecture activity without any distracting “low battery” warning messages.
TypeWell strongly recommends the use of a steno table for any type of real-time transcribing work, including the Skill Assessment.
Headphones are strongly recommended, to ensure optimal hearing during the Skill Assessment. There is an “audio check” at the beginning of the Skill Assessment so transcriber can make sure that their headphones or speakers are working correctly. TypeWell is not responsible for a transcriber’s failure to wear headphones or to otherwise ensure optimal hearing during the Skill Assessment.
Is a proctor required for the Skill Assessment?
No, TypeWell does not require a proctor. However, an employer who is paying for a transcriber’s Skill Assessment may require that a proctor be present. This should be arranged between the employer and the transcriber.
Is an internet connection required?
The computer must be connected to the internet in order to download the Skill Assessment into the V7 Transcriber program. The computer can be offline after the Skill Assessment has been downloaded, while the transcriber runs through the program. After the Skill Assessment has been completed, the computer must be connected to the internet in order to upload the results to the TypeWell server.
Additional FAQs for TypeWell Transcribers
I’m ready to take the Skill Assessment! How do I start?
If you’re a qualified and current TypeWell transcriber, sign in to your TypeWell account and click on the Services tab. Click "Purchase for myself," enter and apply a discount code (if applicable), and then click "Purchase" to pay via PayPal or credit/debit card.
Once your Skill Assessment is paid for, open the V7 Transcriber software and click the Train menu, then Skill Assessment. Note that you must have revision 753 or higher in order to see the Train menu. You'll be prompted for your TypeWell user account credentials once more, and then the assessment program will automatically download into your V7 Transcriber software and begin running. Written and audible instructions will guide you through the entire Skill Assessment sequence.
When you are finished with the final activity, your transcript will be uploaded to the TypeWell server automatically (when the computer is online).
Will I be able to use my own Personal Abbreviation List (PAL)?
Yes. You’ll download and run the Skill Assessment within your TypeWell V7 Transcriber software, so you can use the software as you normally do. You’ll be prompted at the beginning of the Skill Assessment to double-check that your software settings (PAL, abbreviation mode, etc.) are configured the way you like.
Should I complete the Skill Assessment in one sitting?
The Skill Assessment program runs through the following sequence:
1.1.1 Terms and Conditions (click here to begin)
1.1.2 Audio Set-up
1.1.4 Preparing Your Work Area
1.1.5 Preparing Your TypeWell Software
1.1.6 Review Instructions
1.2 Skill Assessment
1.2.1 Enter Transcriber Name
1.2.2 Warm-Up Lecture
1.2.3 Scored Lecture
1.2.4 Skill Assessment Wrap-Up
You should plan to complete the entire program in one sitting. If you are interrupted or need to take a break during the Introduction, you will be permitted to restart, but only one time and only from the beginning.
I need to exit out of the Skill Assessment program so that I can use TypeWell for normal work. How do I get out of Skill Assessment mode?
If you do NOT have Everywhere in Windows enabled, then just click File > Exit to close out of the V7 Transcriber program.
If you do have Everywhere in Windows enabled, then remember File > Exit only minimizes the V7 Transcriber program but does not close the program entirely. To close the program entirely, you need to right-click on the Everywhere icon in your system tray and click “Exit.”
After exiting the V7 transcriber program, when you restart the program you should no longer see the Skill Assessment info in the top window, and you should be able to use TypeWell normally.
I exited out of the Skill Assessment before starting the scored lecture. How do I restart the Skill Assessment?
Click Train > Skill Assessment to restart the Skill Assessment. Please note that you can only start the Skill Assessment up to two times, after which you’ll be required to contact us with an explanation of the problem or issue that you’re encountering.
Once you’ve begun the transcribing portion of the Skill Assessment, you should definitely not exit TypeWell until you’re done. Doing so may compromise your Skill Assessment.
NOTE: Your progress through the program is NOT saved when you exit out of the Skill Assessment. If you exit before completing the program, then you will have to start back at the beginning of the instructions.
What else can we answer for you? Let us know so we can continue to improve this article!