A copy typist is someone who specialises in typing text from a source which they read.
The source, or original document is called the copy. They have the document to be typed in front of them and the copy is often held in a copyholder. The adjustable arm on the copyholder aids legibility and maximises the typing speed. There could also be an adjustable ruler and marker to help the typist keep their position when they are interrupted, clips to hold the pages in place, and a light.
Copy can be hand written notes perhaps from an author of a book, a play, or a TV show. It might be their own notes in shorthand — perhaps minutes from a meeting or notes from a talk, lecture, or presentation. In the past when word processors were not available and few people could type they would have typed up dissertations, research papers, and letters that had been hand written by the authors. An urgent letter which was typed up was often signed by the secretary with a pp or was otherwise given back to the sender to sign before dispatch.
A copy typist or a secretary with this skill will quote their speed in words per minute (abbreviated to wpm) on their curriculum vitae and may be asked to demonstrate their speed and accuracy of this skill as part of the interview or application process.
- See audio typist for someone who uses an audio source for the documents they are typing.
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