Two screens are better than one when transcribing
Gone are the days when you have to settle for having one Monitor when working on a desktop computer. Unless desk space doesn't permit the use of two screens, we recommend investing in a second monitor if you want to be the best transcriptionist you can be. In this article we'll explain why.
- It enables multi-tasking. The obvious benefit of having two monitors is that you can use each one for a different task at the same time. This is very useful for transcriptionists in particular, because you can have your transcript open on one screen and your audio player of choice open on the second screen. This is preferable to having everything going on in just the one screen.
- It gives you more working 'space' . Another obvious benefit is that by having your work split across two screens, you have more working 'space'. You can have your Word document filling the first screen instead of minimising it to some degree to have your audio player or other programs open on the same screen. And by having separate programs on dedicated screens, the text on the Word doc can be larger, leading to fewer typos to go back and correct.
- You have quicker access to search engines. One of the key skills you need as a transcriptionist is the ability to quickly research names, words or phrases online, to ensure that you've correctly heard and spelt them correctly. This is much quicker to do if you have Google (or Bing etc.) open at all times on your second monitor. Think how much slower you will work on a transcription project if there are lots of words to clarify via online searches and you're having to minimise your Word document every time you need to access your search engine of choice!
- It's inexpensive. There was a time when monitors didn't come cheap. OK, this is still the case if you want to buy the latest and biggest gaming monitors on the market, but if you just want a reasonable-quality HD monitor, you can pick up a second-hand one for around £50-£80 on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. There's no need to spend a fortune at all for this setup these days.
- It's easy to set up. If you have a relatively modern desktop computer, it's likely to have at least two displayport or HDMI ports on the back. In these instances, it's simply a case of connecting two monitors via two separate cables (make sure you buy the correct ones because displayport and HDMI ports do look very similar at a glance). If you do have an older desktop, it's still likely to be feasible to use two monitors. You may just need to buy a HDMI or VGA splitter cable that runs from the computer to the two screens.
Hopefully that will give some of you the impetus you need to invest in a second monitor if you haven't already. It's inexpensive, easy enough to set up and it will definitely increase your efficiency as a transcriptionist. It may feel a bit weird the first time you use this new setup, but you will soon adjust to having two screens - In fact, you'll probably wonder how you ever managed with just the one in the first place!