What is a Transcriber?

A transcriber is employed for the purpose of transcribing a student’s answer to an examination paper. This procedure is usually undertaken when the student has returned their answers in some other form than is immediately accessible, eg. Dictaphone, or where a transcription is required because of a student’s handwriting.

If a student requires a transcriber for examinations this should be detailed in the student’s Student Support Agreement (SSA), a follow up memorandum from Disabilities and Learning Support (DLSS)  or in instances of temporary disability, a medical report.

A transcriber should have a basic understanding of the subject in which they are transcribing and would normally be a member of School / Department support staff or in some instances a postgraduate student of the relevant School / Department. The transcriber should not be the student’s lecturer, tutor, friend or relative

 Notes for guidance

  • When a student submits their answers in a non-written form a transcript will be produced by the transcriber after the end of the examination, where possible this should be undertaken within 24 hours of the examination or on the next working day when an examination is taken on a Saturday. The candidate’s original answers should be submitted to the examiner along with the transcription.
  • When a transcription is required due to a candidate’s handwriting this will be produced in the presence of the student without correction as per the timeframe above. The student’s original script will be submitted along with the transcription. Any text that cannot be transcribed will be clearly indicated both on the original and on the transcribed scripts.
  • In instances where students have submitted their answers in Braille a transcription company should transcribe their script. The Examinations Office will meet any costs incurred providing the examination is centrally administered and is done during the University Main Summer and Supplementary Examination period.

Prior to the examination

Prior to the first examination session the School / Department should:

  • arrange a familiarisation session between the transcriber and the student where answers are being submitted in non-written form. During this session the transcriber should check with the student how they wish to use their support. Different students may have different preferences in terms of how they wish to use their support. It is important that the transcriber and the student agree in the approach preferred prior to the exam date.

The transcriber should:

  • familiarise themselves with these notes for guidance and the Universities Codes of Practice on the Conduct of Centrally Co-ordinated Formal Written Examinations.

During the examination

During the transcription session the transcriber should:

  • consult the student when clarification is required over words used
  • allow the student to read each answer transcribed and ensure that the student sign a form to confirm that the completed transcription has been correctly recorded
  • ensure that the completed transcription has the student's student ID number as the only form of identification on the transcript, as anonymity will need to remain when the script is been marked. It is also essential that the exam assessment code and the date and time of the exam are also put on the completed script.

The transcriber should not:

  • allow the student to change any of the wordings of their original answers during the transcription session
  • correct the student's grammar or choice of words

At the end of the examination

All discussions between the transcriber and the student are strictly confidential. The transcriber should not discuss the student outside the working environment.

Student responsibilities

  • Students are responsible for notifying their Schools / Departments immediately of any alternative examination requirements. Any late notification will require at least 48 hours for appropriate arrangements to be made.
  • If a student requiring a transcriber fails to attend a scheduled examination they should advise the School / Department as soon as possible.
  • The University Code of Practice states that:
    6.14 Registered Students must ensure that they write legibly in their examination answer books. If it is necessary because of illegibility to arrange for a transcription of the script to be produced in advance of marking, the student will be liable to the School for the direct costs involved in this work.
  • In addition to this The University Regulation 7.2.3 (d) (vi) states:
    Answers must be written in longhand in answer books and/or other papers provided as per the instructions on examination question paper rubrics, apart from exemptions made for particular Registered Students as specified below, and be legible. Registered Students who submit scripts, answers, or parts of answers which examiners find illegible may be liable to penalty. If the examiners decide that it is necessary to obtain a legible transcript before a script may be marked, the Registered Student concerned will be liable for the cost of producing the transcript.

NB: In such instances where a student does not have a Student Support Agreement the School / Department may pass on any associated costs of transcribing the examination script to the student.

School responsibilities

Schools / Departments are responsible for appointing a transcriber and for providing a separate examination venue for transcribing a student’s recorded or written answers if required. Should Schools / Departments experience difficulties in finding a suitable transcriber, advice can be sought from Disabilities and Learning Support Services or The Examinations Office.

Guidelines on use of transcribers

  • Schools / Departments should arrange an initial briefing session prior to the examination to facilitate a practice or familiarisation session. This will allow the student to clarify their mode of working without eroding the time between a student's examinations.
  • The School / Departments should provide the transcriber and student with a copy of these guidelines prior to the start of the examination.
  • In instances where a student states that they require a transcriber but this does not form part of a Student Support Agreement, please contact DLSS in the first instance.

Examinations Office responsibilities

  • The Examinations Office will meet the costs for transcription for students with alternative examination arrangements for exams which are centrally administered during the January, Main Summer and Supplementary examination periods. The Examinations Office will also only meet costs for completed transcriptions done by non-University staff members.
  • Schools / Departments will be required to meet the costs for a transcriber required for any class tests or examinations which fall outside this period.


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