Electronic Notetakers (or ENTs) are skilled individuals who work primarily with individuals and groups for whom English is their preferred or first language. The service comprises of an ENT with a dual laptop/netbook setup, who will type audio into an input computer, with the transcription appearing in real time on the second unit for the client to utilise. ENTs can also be booked by hearing clients for recording transcripts of events such as board meetings and lectures.
Working with an ENT
Increasing numbers of Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people use ENTs. One of the important things ENTs can provide is the script, which belongs to the client and allows them freedom to watch their communication support without having to worry about taking notes themselves. This is especially useful in education and employment settings, and also in conferences where there may be groups of deaf people and a variety of speakers and subjects.
The role of the ENT
- An ENT produces a typed précis of the spoken word. Most ENTs use specialist software to link up with another laptop, enabling the deaf person to read from the second screen (or overhead screen at a conference).
- ENTs should not be confused with a Speech to Text Reporter (STTR) who uses a phonetic keyboard to provide a verbatim service. However, experienced, qualified ENTs are able to work at speeds exceeding 100wpm, and ensure that important information is not omitted.
- Our ENTs adhere to a professional code of conduct. This means he/she will act professionally and impartially and respect the confidential nature of any information gained during an assignment
Important things to consider when booking an ENT
Before the meeting
- Inform Sign Language Interactions or ENT of the type of assignment and details of the date, time, length of assignment and location. Give as much information as possible about the meeting, lecture, conference, and ensure that any meeting papers, agendas and other relevant papers reach the agency or ENT in advance to enable preparation for the assignment.
During the meeting
- The ENT should be in a position to hear the speakers clearly. There should also be room for the deaf client to sit near the ENT in order to read the screen, unless he is a BSL user with an interpreter and will just require a transcript after the event.
- Only one message can be conveyed at a time, so it is important that participants speak in turn.
- Correct seating is very important for the health and safety of the ENT. A chair without arms and where possible with adjustable height (a typist’s chair) should be provided, along with a small table to put the laptops on.
- There should be access to a standard power point.
- The ENT should have frequent breaks during the meeting. If an assignment is to last more than two hours, then two ENTs should be booked, unless it can be guaranteed there will be sufficient breaks.
Health & Safety
Upper Limb Disorders (RSI) are a serious hazard for people working with keyboards/VDUs for long periods, and it is the responsibility of the agency, the booker and the ENT to follow the recommendations given by the Health and Safety Executive to comply with the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.
Specific advice can be sourced in the HSE guidance booklet Working with VDUs, in particular Appendix 3, Working with portable DSE. This information can be downloaded from the Health and Safety Executive website at www.hse.gov.uk
Sign Language Interactions
Providing Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind people.