Mind-boggling processing power, awesome, speed-of-light graphics, realistic surround sound capabilities and a futuristic chassis. You can’t wait to get it out of the box and start using it. Your new computer. Wow!
The only component that has not evolved with the rest is the keyboard. Comedian Stephen Fry pretty much summed it up when he said, “Imagine you’re on the maiden flight of that new ultra-modern aircraft, the Dreamliner. And you notice it’s being towed to the runway by donkeys. Better still, camels.”
It’s true! The QWERTY keyboard is the extremely old-fashioned system used to operate our state-of-the-art equipment. The real history of the modern keyboard began in 1867, when American newspaper editor and printer Christopher Sholes built the first actual Type-Writer – in fact, that was the patented name of the invention.
It seems incredible that typing is not a compulsory part of children’s IT lessons, especially as many job postings now require candidates to include information about their typing ability along with other qualifications. While kids learn about spreadsheets, word documents, data imputing and perhaps even website design, basic typing skills are left off the curriculum. For translators, touch-typing is an essential skill, enabling us to keep our eyes on the text we are translating without having to flick back and forth to the keyboard. Using the correct fingers for the correct keys also makes typing more comfortable and accurate, improving our health and productivity.
Once you know where everything is without looking, you can start using the many available keyboard shortcuts and can leave the mouse to one side for a more ergonomic way of working.
Even people with special needs can type through assistive technologies and adapted keyboards. Some use online keyboards, which are simply a digital representation of a physical keyboard. They need a mouse or another pointing device to click on each key on the digital keyboard to type out any text. Although this method is slower than typing with ten fingers, it is a viable option for people with disabilities.
There’s no need to go to secretarial college and bang away at big black typewriters without letters on the keys these days. Just download one of the numerous programmes available to teach you to get your fingers flying fast. They’re suitable for adults and children alike and some claim you will be touch typing in just 90 minutes.
Personally, when I want to get my speed and accuracy up to scratch, I use Mavis Beacon teaches typing, which I had on my PC in one form or another for 15 years! However, it’s up to you, as there are hundreds of free and paid-for options. Happy typing!