Way With Words
Michele Travaglini – Transcript Proofreader
We interview Michele Travaglini, transcript proofreader extraordinaire for Way With Words. Be prepared to have a good laugh and find out about his flying adventures!
As our transcribers are the backbone of our business, we sometimes delve into their past and their present so you know who the fantastic people are behind your transcripts.
This month we talk to Michele Travaglini, a Transcript Proofreader for Way With Words.
How long have you been working with Way With Words?
I signed with WWW in December of 2011, so approximately 18 months.
From where do you hail?
I was born in Rome, Italy. My parents moved to what was then Rhodesia when I was three. I was schooled and got my first job there.
I was involved in the bush war in the Corps of Engineers from 1972 to 1979 but, unable to progress my civilian career, I called it quits and moved to Cape Town where I spent the rest of my working life.
When I eventually took early retirement I was the Network Manager for the City of Cape Town.
I emigrated back to Italy with my wife in 2004 and we have lived here ever since.
It was a bit of a culture shock for her, but she is now a fully integrated Italian citizen, including hand gestures!
How did you become a transcriber?
I was first introduced to WWW through one of my two sisters. I thought my command of English was above average so I applied – many times.
My first ‘Britney and Justin’ attempt (an incredibly challenging audio file to transcribe) goes back as far as 2005. After numerous, yearly, failed attempts, I was finally accepted in 2011. My advice would be to never give up.
In August of 2012 I was also successful in getting a proofreading position with WWW.
I am fluent in English and Italian and I have just enough schoolboy French to get me into trouble.
What I find amusing is that because I am fluent in Italian it is assumed that I am able to transcribe an Italian murdering the English language.
What does a typical transcript proofing job entail?
Proofreading entails the checking of someone else’s transcript for accuracy, grammar and punctuation, formatting, time codes, resolving unclears… Did I miss anything? Of course not! I’m a proofreader.
We then produce a report detailing what has been checked and time codes for remaining unclears, etc, if any. The report is then sent to Ops with the revised transcript.
What have you done in your past life?
In my past life, since leaving school, I have been a Civil Engineering Technician, Programmer, Systems Designer and finally a Network Manager.
And now, of course, I’m a transcriber.
Can you tell us some interesting stuff about yourself?
Amongst my greatest personal achievements, I am proud of the fact that while I was working full-time I obtained a BSc through UNISA in five years, majoring in Psychology and Information Systems.
I obtained my Private Pilot’s License at the age of 17 in the space of 22 days during my August polytechnic holidays, including 40 hours of flying and five theory exams.
I flew approximately 200 hours in total, was rated on four different aircraft and I had a night rating! I had to let my license lapse due to a lack of funds when I changed career streams and became a programmer.
I have been fortunate enough to see parts of the Western Cape from an aerial perspective and it is breathtaking. I have flown to play golf in George, to have Sunday afternoon tea at the Lord Milner in Matjiesfontein, for a picnic on the beach at Hermanus and of course numerous flights around Cape Town with its beautiful mountain and coastline. It sounds ostentatious, but it was possible to do those things in the 80s and it definitely didn’t require a second mortgage. As an absolute minimum add ‘flight around the peninsula’ to your bucket list.
One other notable event in the flying realm is that I was involved in an aircraft accident in a four-seater aircraft at DF Malan airport, but I’m still here to talk about it. No, I wasn’t the pilot and, no, don’t add that to your bucket list unless it’s the very last entry.
Before flying, at the age of 16, having forged my parents’ signatures on the consent forms, I did a series of nine parachute jumps until I figured it was probably not the smartest thing to do, to jump out of a perfectly serviceable aircraft. This led me to take up flying a year later.
I have done the Bloukrans bungee jump, which is the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee jump at 216 metres. On the way back to Cape Town my wife and I also did the 65 metre Gouritz bridge jump – and, yes, we have the T-shirts.
I have ridden, what was then, the Guinness world records highest, fastest and steepest roller coaster, The Desperado, at Buffalo Bill’s in Nevada. That was a rush.
I guess I was a bit of an adrenaline junkie, but no longer.