WHAT do you actually do?

By Sally-Anne Watson Kane

When people ask me, as they often do, ‘what do you actually do?’ I find it hard to articulate what it really is that I do in just a few words.

I manage a small business, On Time Typing. As any small business
manager will tell you, it takes a lot of hours each week to manage a
business. Managing a small business includes managing quotes and
invoices, providing free consultations to a range of people including
clients, maintaining a website and social media pages, maintaining
accounts and keeping the Australian Tax Office happy. Although you never
get everything done you do your best, shut your office door when you
finish work (no matter how late at night that is), and try to fit your
‘living’ in, around the edges.

Apart from managing the business, my main roles are that of scribe and editor.

I always say that the role of a scribe is similar to that of a
butler: always opinionless, always maintaining complete confidentiality
and discretion, always professional and extremely good at what one does.
After scribing, the information has to be written, edited and proofread
into a well presented report or whatever other document is required.

I also edit and proofread documents and publications that others have
written. This year I have been editing mainly policy documents and
manuals for government. I have been rewriting and editing brochures so
that they target a different audience to the audience for which the
original document was written (this is really called ‘technical
writing’). I spent several months as chief editor of a non-fiction
publication which I edited and designed; I then coordinated the
publication which was launched in October this year.

Online transcription is one of the main focuses of my business –
transcribing audio recordings into transcripts for academic research and
marketing purposes, as well as transcribing recordings of meetings and
writing up minutes and reports. I delegate most audio transcription work
to the other excellent online transcriptionists on the On Time Typing
team: Judie, Dianne, Rae and Leila. Dianne, Judie, Rae and Leila and I
are generalist online transcriptionists with experience in a huge range
of subjects. I proofread the transcripts myself when 1) the client
requires guaranteed 100% Accurate Transcripts and 2) the transcript
involves NT or Indigenous speakers/events (because I am especially
skilled in those areas). Leila produces all our property valuation
reports. Leila and I produce all financial report case notes and

I can handle the basic formatting knowledge that is part and parcel
of editing and proofreading, but when complex formatting or design is
required, I delegate those tasks to the formatting expert on the team,
Richard Powell. Richard is the one to whom those ‘headache’ documents –
the ones that have glitches that no amount of troubleshooting has been
able to resolve – are a piece of cake. He is fantastic at his job and On
Time Typing is very lucky to have him on the team.

Last but not least, On Time Typing also does what its name suggests –
simply typing: copy typing handwritten and typed documents, and typing
resumes and job applications, submissions and reports. Occasionally,
when I have time, I do this typing work myself but more often than not,
Leila, Rae, Dianne or Judie completes this work.

That is what I do.