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If you haven't worked from home before, it can take a little while to get used to it. If at all possible, try to find a quiet area where you can work undisturbed. You may find certain times of day more convenient, ie school hours or in the evening.

The following basic equipment is all that you will need.

  • A laptop or tablet with a keyboard, a separate one if that's easier, that you feel you can work on quickly and easily. A lot of typists find the small "chiclet" type keys on a laptop keyboard difficult to use. 

  • A decent pair of headphones, that are comfortable to wear for long periods. You may find the noise-cancelling type useful.

  • A foot pedal that allows you to pause and rewind the digital audio file easily.

  • Transcription software such as ExpressScribe, in order to play back the audio file easily, and see whereabouts you are in terms of time remaining etc. It will also assist you in inserting timecodes or timestamps, if these are required.

You will need to be organised and self-disciplined, to ensure that you meet deadlines, and manage your time effectively. As a rough guide, 15 minutes of audio will take an hour to transcribe.

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Your health and well-being

It is important to take steps to look after yourself when working at a keyboard, to reduce the risk of, for example, repetitive strain injury. It's generally not advised that we remain sedentary for long periods. The following steps can help:

  • Make sure you take regular breaks, stand up away from your desk or table, and have a stretch, even if only for a few minutes. Put some music on or TV,  play a game or read - switch your mind off from the audio.

  • If you can get out for at least a short walk during the day for some fresh air (and hopefully even some sunshine!) this can lift your mood and boost your circulation.

  • Try to find the best chair that you can and also pay attention to how your wrists are positioned, the mouse etc. A wrist support may be helpful.

  • Consider the lighting and reduce glare on your computer screen, close blinds if it helps.

  • Keep in touch with others if you can - there are plenty of groups for transcriptionists on social media and as well as the advice and support that they can offer, you are also part of a community.

  • Make your enviroment attractive, maybe have some family photos or attractive pictures or a calendar, just like you would have in an office. If you are fortunate enough to have your own little office at home, you can be creative with it.

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