:: The Leaf Chronicle | Shirling is certified as transcriber for deaf ::

Shirling is certified as transcriber for deaf

The Leaf-Chronicle
Friday, April 6, 2007

Georgeanne Franke Shirling has earned Level 1 certification as a TypeWell Speech-to-Text System transcriber. She is the one of six certified transcribers in Tennessee.

Shirling provides real-time communication access and notes to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in classes and meetings as well as general transcribing services at conferences or programs.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University, she completed training with TypeWell and has been a transcriber for the League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Nashville, since April 2005. Prior to becoming a freelance transcriber, she served as the League’s business manager for three years.

“As a transcriber, I am able to work with people who are deaf or hard of hearing who are not fluent in sign language,” she said in prepared comments.

“I have transcribed meetings, conferences, college classes, rehab sessions and job interviews. In each of these situations, clear understanding was not possible without the service I am trained to provide. The work is most fulfilling because it brings understanding. Understanding is the key to knowledge, and knowledge is power.”

TypeWell is a system for transcribing speech to text in real-time. A trained TypeWell transcriber uses a laptop computer with the TypeWell abbreviation software to transcribe meaning-for-meaning what is said in settings where there is a need. A person who is deaf or hard of hearing reads the text from a second laptop in order to have full access to the communication in classes, interviews, appointments and meetings. “A TypeWell transcriber presents a richly-detailed script, while not necessarily typing every word that is said,” said Judy Colwell, director of training and research, TypeWell.

“TypeWell transcribers are trained to condense the language used while maintaining the full meaning intended by the speaker.”

The transcription may be sent wirelessly to a laptop when only one or two consumers need access, or to a large display screen for group access. Readers can type questions or comments to the transcriber to be voiced if necessary or desired for clear communication and understanding.

The text on the computer screen can be enlarged to provide access for deaf-blind people who cannot see well enough to benefit from a sign language interpreter. The words can be sent immediately to a refreshable Braille-writer for deaf-blind people who prefer that mode of reading. In an academic setting the class notes can be given to the student following the classes via hard copy or electronic copy, if requested.

This semester, Shirling transcribes for hard-of-hearing college students at Austin Peay State University, Belmont University and Tennessee State University.

“Some young students do not believe that they can go any further or do not want to since it was a struggle getting through high school,” Shirling said.

“I would like to see that change in the future.”

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