what is a typist?

A typist is a skilled individual who is proficient in typing and transcribing texts, usually using a computer or other electronic device designed for typing. You play an essential role in various industries, such as legal, medical, and administrative settings. You ensure that documents are accurately transcribed, formatted, and presented in a professional manner, adhering to the guidelines and requirements of your employer.

Typists are often employed by government agencies, private companies, law firms, and media organisations. You may work in-house or as a freelancer, providing services remotely. Your primary responsibility as a typist is to type content quickly and accurately, with an emphasis on maintaining proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

You will usually be responsible for proofreading and editing the documents you type, ensuring that errors are minimal and that the content is clear, concise, and coherent. Additionally, you may be required to manage and organise files, perform data entry tasks, and prepare reports as needed. Your role can vary depending on the organisation you work for and the specific tasks you are assigned.

If you are a competent typist and like the sound of this profession, read on to find out more about the different types of roles and the skills needed to succeed in this position.

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average typist salary

According to Payscale, the average salary of a typist is roughly around ₹214,769 a year. Your pay will likely be stable, as commissions or profit sharing is not typically involved, though you may earn bonuses. There is quite a large range of potential pay for typists in India. An entry-level salary starts at ₹55,000 per year, while experienced typists earn as much as ₹850,000 per year.

factors that affect a typist's pay

One of the main factors in your earning potential is the amount of experience you have. Generally speaking, you will earn a higher salary with more experience than typists who are new to the field. While a high school diploma is typically the minimum requirement for a typist, those with advanced education or specialised training may command higher pay.

Usually, the largest factor in how much you earn as a typist is your technical ability. Typists with faster typing speeds and high accuracy levels can command higher pay due to their increased productivity and efficiency.


types of typist

The fundamental role of a typist is the same, regardless of the specific role. However, there are different types of typist roles, typically defined by the information you are typing. The most common types of typists include:

  • data entry operator: data entry operators are responsible for inputting data from various sources into electronic databases, spreadsheets, or other applications.
  • court reporter: in this role, you transcribe legal proceedings, such as trials and hearings, ensuring that an accurate record is maintained.
  • medical transcriptionist: as a medical transcriptionist, you transcribe healthcare professionals' voice recordings into written documents, such as medical reports and patient records.
  • legal secretary: legal secretaries may perform typing tasks specific to the legal field, such as preparing legal documents, correspondence, and contracts.
  • stenographer: as a stenographer, you use a specialised machine called a stenotype to type at very high speeds, often transcribing speeches or other spoken events in real time.

working as a typist

Being a typist often involves preparing company documents or inputting information from various sources into a computer system. Keep reading to find out more about the specifics of this role.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for typists include:

  • high school or equivalent: a high school education is usually the minimum educational requirement for a typist. Some employers may prefer candidates with a higher education, such as a diploma or degree in a related field. This will be down to each employer.
  • typing certification: many employers prefer or require a typing certification to demonstrate that you possess the necessary typing speed and accuracy. In India, a common certification is the Certificate in Computer Based English Typing, which tests your typing abilities in English and regional languages.
  • language proficiency: depending on the job requirements, you may need to be proficient in English or other regional languages. In India, proficiency in Hindi or other regional languages, such as Bengali, Marathi, or Tamil, can be an asset in certain job markets.
  • industry-specific qualifications: some industries may require you to have additional qualifications, such as a legal or medical transcription certificate, to be eligible for a typist position in that specific field.

typist skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a typist include:

  • speed and accuracy: the foundation of a successful typist lies in their ability to type quickly without sacrificing accuracy. To excel in this field, you should strive for a typing speed of at least 40 words per minute (WPM) with minimal errors. Developing this skill requires consistent practice and familiarity with the keyboard layout, which will help you type more efficiently.
  • attention to detail: as a typist, the quality of your work is paramount. It's vital to possess a keen eye for detail to spot and correct errors in your typed content. This skill extends to proofreading your work and ensuring that the final output is free of mistakes, which is essential for maintaining the trust of your clients or employers.
  • language proficiency: A strong command of the language you are working in and a thorough understanding of grammar, punctuation, and spelling rules are crucial for a typist. Being proficient in regional languages, such as Hindi, Tamil, or Bengali, can be advantageous, and English is often a requirement.
  • computer and software skills: familiarity with word processing software such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs is necessary for a typist. You are comfortable with basic formatting, editing, and file management tasks. Additionally, learning transcription software and tools can help you further streamline your work process and increase productivity.
  • time management: as a typist, you often work with strict deadlines. Developing strong time management skills will help you organise your tasks, prioritise work, and complete projects on time. This skill is invaluable, especially for freelancers or those working in fast-paced environments.
Woman sitting at a desk working on marketing platform.
Woman sitting at a desk working on marketing platform.

FAQs about working as a typist

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a typist.

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