Last week at the Sanderson Center we had the opportunity to experience TypeWell, “A system for capturing spoken content and generating an immediate meaning-for-meaning transcript.” Kate Ervin, executive director of Typewell was in Salt Lake and offered to give us a demonstration before leaving town. Reading about it online, I came up with the above description and wondered how it differed from CART.
She came in before the speech reading class putting a lap top and a Kindle Fire in the middle of the table, each facing different sides. She sat to the side with her laptop in front of her, ready to go. The previous week I told the others she would be there but all three of them had no idea what to expect. Kathy, Robin and I are used to captioning but we love having options.
One of the students in the speech reading class was recently deafened due to acoustic neuroma and she was thrilled to see speech transcribed in front of her. Her husband was happy to know these kinds of options exist. Another attendee is a college student who has gone through most of her education without any CART or captioning at all. She was told it was a hassle to sign up with the disability resource center and that a note-taker would work just fine. All this time she struggled through classes when this was available? She could see where it would have made her college time much, much easier.
How is TypeWell different from CART? She uses her laptop with advanced abbreviation software instead of a stenography machine. Kate said they summarize by leaving out false starts and filler words but they also try to capture everything like other people’s remarks and sounds such as car alarms that may be going off outside to show why everyone is looking out the window. It easier for the transcribers if only person at a time talks. CART might better suit someone who wants to hear/see everything such as person with a new CI who is learning to hear again.
How is it like CART? Captioning in all it’s sources is wonderful. Just like CART, it appears on the screen in front of you and it follows the conversation and I didn’t see any missing words (except when I stumbled over my words/sentences). There is a slight delay as with CART but not enough to make a big difference. It can be done on-site or remotely (off-site). Notes can be saved and used to study or review later.
How do people become a transcriber under TypeWell? TypeWell doesn’t provide services but instead train people to do it. Kate said each person has to be able to type 60 words a minute with no errors and they need strong English skills. They have to pass a specific test or they do not get the software to work with. (She also mentioned their software has a math mode for in the classroom.) Training cost is about $500 and about $100-200 dollars a year for the software. There are ongoing training opportunities and workshops to attend.
They will train anyone who can work with a university or an agency first to gain experience (either as an employee or contracted) and later transcribers can become independent contractors. The typical charge for services is $15-$30 an hour, with the high end being $40-$60 and hour. There is a TypeWell provider in the Odgen area and another in Utah County but so far there isn’t one for the Salt Lake City area.
If you are hearing and this sounds good to you, think about applying because the hard of hearing population is growing and I think captioning will be more in demand. People with hearing loss are becoming less passive and want to be included. This job can be used in conjunction with another job, see the TypeWell blog for Jarren in Washington who provides services to both the Deaf and hard of hearing as an ASL interpreter and a TypeWell provider.
TypeWell is another option for real-time access to communication for those who are hard of hearing. Visit their website for more information and locate a local provider with this link: http://support.typewell.com/customer/portal/articles/229852.