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Electronic notetakers

Learn how a notetaker can help deaf people and people with hearing loss communicate and how to book one.

Notetakers produce a set of notes for people who can’t take their own because they are lipreading or watching a sign language interpreter. 

They can be used in work situations such as a meeting, training courses and at other work-related events. 

Notetakers need regular breaks, and you shouldn’t expect them to work through lunch and coffee breaks. If the event is longer than 2 hours, you should book 2 notetakers. 

There are 2 main types of notetaking: electronic and manual. 

Electronic notetakers 

Electronic notetakers take notes on a laptop. Most use 2 devices – 1 for the notetaker and 1 for the deaf person or person with hearing loss (the user). 

The operator types a summary of what’s being said into the computer and the text appears on the user’s screen. This allows the user to interact with the operator and add their own notes. It’s up to the user, not the notetaker, to decide what they want to keep. Or they can just take notes directly on their own laptop and pass them over to the user afterwards. 

Electronic notetaking doesn’t produce a full verbatim (word for word) account of what’s been said. If this is what you need, you should use a speech-to-text reporting service.

Electronic notetakers are regulated by the National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD).

Manual notetakers 

A manual notetaker is trained to take clear notes in handwritten English. They’re often used in educational settings.

Finding notetakers 

With over 200 communication support providers in the UK, it’s important to always choose one that only uses registered communication professionals. That way, you can be confident that the communication professional has the relevant qualifications, knowledge, and skills.

If you would like support in choosing a new provider then Action Deafness, the leading deaf-led charity in the UK, and who we have previously partnered with, are our recommended provider. The experienced bookings team at Action Deafness will work with you to facilitate single or repeat appointments and connect you with fully qualified and experienced communication professionals.

To find out more and to make a booking please visit Action Deafness or email enquiries@actiondeafness.org.uk.

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Page last updated: 31 March 2023

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