As a writer or, most likely, as a transcriptionist, chances are that freelancers have encountered the conundrum of whether or not they type at an adequate speed. It’s true, typing speeds can make or break a freelancer’s career in transcription, and greatly hinder productivity as a writer. So, in order to stay competitive, there are several ways in which freelancers can increase their typing speeds.
What’s up to par?
In the transcription world, the average typing speed required for acceptance does tend to vary. However, as a general rule, I would say it’s best to be able to type at least 80-85 words per minute (wpm). An average speed is, most of the time, considered to be around 60-65 wpm. Of course, there are those with years of typing experience, be it in transcription or in other administrative capacities, who can type above 100 wpm.
All of this being noted, it’s one thing to be able to type at a company’s required speed, and it’s quite another to actually type accurately. Although companies generally have various editors/quality assurance people in place to review transcripts, it’s a matter of delivering quality work to clients quickly. A freelancer might seem like he or she has a great typing speed, yet if the work has a lot of errors, that speed voids itself because of the prolonged editing process. Therefore, companies might be more selective in screening their candidates by first testing their accuracy via a number of typing test exercises.
As for writers, I have yet to notice a specific typing speed required in any of the job postings I’ve seen. However, when a job posting says that writers must be able to write and research several articles per day, it can be surmised that typing speeds need to be above normal at the very least. Therefore, it benefits writers just as much as transcriptionists to work on how fast they type and how well they type.
Instead of just jumping into a transcription company’s application, it’s preferable for freelancers to train much like an athlete would until they feel confident about their typing skills. There are many different free typing test exercises available out there on the Internet, some more effective than others. The one that I would recommend for this process is TypingTest.com, which offers tests, games, and even courses on how to increase typing skills.
Taking into account different rates of learning and dexterity, note that there’s no one specific path to increasing typing speed. However, there are a couple of guidelines to follow, no matter the scenario:
- It’s important to have proper support for wrists. Some people find it most convenient to just rest their wrists on their desks. However, for those who prefer additional comfort, a suggestion is to search “keyboard rest support pads.”
- A good chair is imperative for good posture; the better the posture, the better the focus, which should result in more efficient typing. Don’t look at the keyboard while typing, either.
- Practice typing on a regular basis in order to improve efficiency. So, an idea would be to spend at least 15 minutes each day with those free typing tests. Gradually, typing quickly and correctly should become more like second nature, opening the doors to more freelancing opportunities along the way.
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