In the first article in this series, we looked at what copy-typing is, the formats it comes in and how to price a copy-typing job. In this article, I will share some of the things I’ve learned doing a couple of large copy-typing projects.
I should say here that it’s not very common for me to get copy-typing projects to do – but when I get them, although they’re hard work, they are usually very interesting and rewarding.
Here are my main hints and tips:
1. Ergonomics, ergonomics, ergonomics
Copy-typing is hard work, especially if you are not used to typing a lot, for long periods of time.
If you’re usually an editor or do other mouse work, do have a careful think about the effect that pounding a keyboard will have on your shoulders, neck and back.
If you do a transcription as part of your job (like I do), you will be more used to typing fast for long periods of time.
I wrote a piece on ergonomics for transcribers a while ago – pop over and read that as it will give you some good pointers.
- Take care to sit up straight with a relaxed posture and level forearms
- Arrange your chair, desk and keyboard so you’re not hunching or looking up at the screen with a bent neck
- If your original is in a PDF or a set of images, try to use a screen where you can see it and your page on Word side by side to avoid switching between then, and large enough that you are not straining your eyes
- If your original is on paper, get a document holder and position it by your monitor to give the same effect as having it on the screen and to avoid bending your head constantly to look at a flat sheet of paper
- Take regular breaks to stretch, refocus and walk around
When you are quoting for how long a copy-typing job will take, factor in rest-breaks. It’s very difficult to type solidly for multiple hours at a time, and your quality will suffer.
2. Check what the client wants you to do
Does your client want you to type EXACTLY what is on the page in front of you, or do they want you to edit and smooth it out as you go along? I’ve been asked for both, so don’t assume – always ask.
If you are asked to type the document as an exact copy of the original, make sure that you type what you see and not what you want to see – you will need to include any odd phrasing, punctuation or spelling. In one of my jobs, the original writer introduced most quotations with a colon or no comma at all, where I am used to seeing a comma, and I had to be very careful to type as they typed.
3. Decide (with your client) how to deal with corrections and annotations
Many typescripts can have hand-written annotations, or maybe you’re copy-typing a written manuscript that has changes made by the author or another person. How should you deal with those?
First of all, discuss this with your client, as they may have firm ideas of how they want you to handle this.
I worked out a creative and great way to handle the hand-written annotations (including parts that were crossed out, extra parts that were added, asterisks with marginal annotations and paragraphs that needed to be moved) on one job: I typed out the typescript as normal, then turned on Track Changes and added all of the author’s annotations and marks in the appropriate places. Instead of the old type-written manuscript with hand-written corrections, we then had the modern version: a word-processed manuscript with amendments made using Tracked Changes. This worked very well.
In this article I’ve shared my three top copy-typing tips. Do you have any more? Do share them using the comments!