Professional transcribers often need to tackle large-scale transcription projects in relatively short periods of time. This work is often repetitive in nature and can be taxing on both the body and mind. Studies suggest that intensive computer use may increase the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome and exacerbate existing conditions like arthritis.
Whether you’re a novice transcriber or a highly trained professional, it’s important to invest in equipment to help you complete your work efficiently without compromising your physical health or comfort. There are many keyboard types and styles on the market today that can accommodate different needs or preferences. Let’s look at the most important factors to consider when searching for the right keyboard for your transcription project.
What is a Transcription Keyboard Used For?
Technically speaking, you can use any computer keyboard for the purpose of transcription. Generally speaking, transcription refers to the act of converting video or audio to written text. Professionals in a wide range of industries rely on transcription to streamline communications, improve record-keeping and boost accessibility.
Transcription is an important way to maintain day-to-day operations in many industries. Professionals in the following fields find this resource particularly important:
Many other professionals regularly employ transcribers and transcription services to cultivate more inclusive experiences for clients and employees. At the same time, transcripts help provide more consistent messaging across all forms of communication.
Best Transcription Keyboards for 2023
When it comes to choosing the right keyboard for transcription projects, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Different transcribers look for different qualities in a keyboard depending on their specific needs. Ultimately, the best keyboard for transcription is the one that allows you to complete your work efficiently and comfortably. Here are a few factors to keep in mind if you’re looking to purchase a new transcription keyboard in 2023.
The role of keyboard shapes
In recent years, we’ve seen an influx of “ergonomically designed” keyboards hit the market. If you’re not familiar with ergonomic keyboards, they’re essentially designed with a shape that encourages a more natural wrist position and reduces strain on muscles and joints.
Ergonomic keyboards are a great option for any transcriber who regularly works for long stretches of time. While they can reduce the risk of developing certain orthopedic conditions over time, they can also help ease the discomfort of professionals with existing conditions like carpal tunnel and arthritis. Here are a few examples of high-quality ergonomic keyboards.
1. Logitech Ergo K860
This wireless keyboard features an angled and curved design that allows the user to maintain a natural wrist position and can help to reduce tension in the neck and shoulders during prolonged computer use. It also features a built-in wrist pillow for increased comfort. This is a great keyboard for transcriptionists with heavy workloads who are concerned about potential physical impacts.
2. Microsoft Sculpt
This keyboard from Microsoft features an ergonomic, split design that encourages a more relaxed posture. It also features a cushioned palm rest for added comfort. This keyboard features a separate number pad, which makes it a great option for transcriptionists who regularly work with a lot of numerical data.
Transcription keyboards – considering prices
Non-standard computer keyboards often require a significant financial investment. Specialty keyboards are available at a wide range of price points. As a result, it’s important to carefully consider how much of an investment you want to make when upgrading your equipment.
Full-time professional transcribers might choose to invest in pricier models that will last several years and help them tackle a larger workload. Part-time or amateur transcribers, on the other hand, may wish to purchase slightly more cost-effective models to save money upfront. Here are a couple of low-cost options for transcription keyboards.
1. Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard
This ergonomic keyboard from Microsoft features a split, curved design that encourages a more natural typing posture. It also has an attached palm rest that helps to reduce friction on the hands and wrists while typing at high speeds. This keyboard is not wireless. However, at half the price of Logitech’s ergonomic keyboard, it’s a cost-effective option for transcriptionists of all levels of experience.
2. Perixx Periboard 512
This is another low-cost alternative for transcriptionists looking for an ergonomic keyboard. It features curved keys that suit the natural shape of human fingers to ease muscle and joint strain. This keyboard also includes a built-in wrist rest, as well as tactile keystrokes, to further increase comfort while typing.
Transcription keyboards – Accommodating high typing speeds
Even though keyboard designs are for the express purpose of typing, they’re not all built for speed. Transcriptionists must be able to type at an incredibly fast WPM rate, which contributes to increased keyboard wear and tear over time.
Serious transcribers will want to consider investing in a keyboard that is designed with speed in mind. Highly responsive keys are critical to boosting typing speed, and minimalistic design elements can eliminate distractions and safeguard against accidental keystrokes. The following keyboards are built for speed.
1. Happy Hacking Keyboard Professional 2
This keyboard comes in at one of the highest price points on our list. However, some transcribers will easily justify the costs because its features make it incredibly advantageous for high-volume transcription projects. The keys are highly responsive and require only a gentle keystroke to register. As a result, transcribers can complete their projects with less physical effort and in less time. The keys are also made from highly durable materials in order to prevent the legends from wearing off after repeated use.
2. Das Keyboard Prime 13
This keyboard provides high-quality tactile and audio feedback in order to boost typing speed. The keys also come pre-lubricated, so typing is smooth and effortless. The manufacturer boasts that the keycaps are durable enough to last through 50 million keystrokes, which means it’s built to withstand continued, long-term use. Although the Prime 13 isn’t wireless, it includes 2 USB ports allowing you to charge additional devices while you work.
Is There a Keyboard for Phonetic Transcription?
Phonetic transcription is a style of transcription that notates not just what is said but how it is said. This transcription style depends upon a set of special characters known as the International Phonetic Alphabet.
More and more business leaders recognize the need for phonetic transcription as they work to build their global presence. Transcribing the correct pronunciations of names, words and other phrases can streamline communication during meetings and help to safeguard against embarrassing or even offensive mispronunciations.
Phonetic transcription is particularly labor-intensive, and it is a skill that requires a significant amount of training to master. Phonetic transcribers must be acutely familiar with IPA symbols and diacritical markings. As a result, these projects typically fall beyond the purview of transcribers with more generalized training and experience.
The process is also uniquely tedious because there is not currently a physical phonetic transcription keyboard on the market. Transcriptionists must instead use an online IPA keyboard to complete their projects. These keyboards allow users to choose from clicking on-screen IPA symbols or selecting from a set of corresponding symbols on a standard keyboard.
Is Manual Transcription Worth It?
As you can see, professional transcribers must juggle a number of different variables when working on transcription projects. Before you commit to purchasing a new transcription keyboard, review all of the information above and consider whether manual transcription is the best option available for your brand. If you are new to transcription or lack formal training in transcription methods and best practices, you may want to consider outsourcing your transcription efforts. Trying to handle these projects in-house is often an inefficient use of company resources.
If your company needs scalable transcription capabilities, it may be worth looking into partnering with a professional transcription service like Verbit. Verbit combines the speed of artificial intelligence with the diligence of professional human transcribers to quickly provide clients with a high volume of transcripts with targeted accuracy rates of up to 99%. This high level of accuracy is critical for supporting key accessibility standards and guidelines. Additionally, the easy-to-use digital platform supports bulk uploading for more optimized workflows.
Also, Verbit has seamless software integrations to provide real-time transcription on digital communication platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting and more. These integrations can provide more equitable communication across all platforms. In fact, transcription contributes to more positive, inclusive work environments for employees and clients of diverse backgrounds.
Working with Verbit: We’ll Take it From Here
Whether your company is looking to scale up its accessibility initiatives or simply foster more effective communication, investing in accurate, efficient transcription services may help to address some of your most pressing needs. Transcription can help boost productivity, streamline record-keeping and contribute to more positive brand experiences for all.
In addition to industry-leading transcription capabilities, Verbit’s platform supports captioning, translation and audio description solutions. With Verbit, you can tackle a wide range of projects across several different mediums. Reach out to learn more about how Verbit’s assistive technologies are helping business leaders around the globe reinforce their commitment to inclusivity while making their day-to-day operations more efficient and productive.