I'm wondering if most reporters are expecting what I'm expecting from a scopist. I'd be curious to hear both reporters' and scopists' opinions, of course.

Do you expect your scopist to:

Look up on the Internet spellings of any proper noun, i.e., company names, cities, doctors, products?

Fix wrong punctuation at the end of a sentence? Example:
"You were there what dates."

Follow your preferences as best they can? Examples:
Paragraph frequently
Put "BY" lines after any interruption in Q&A

When it's a video, go over the videotape word for word and be sure every word is in there?

Follow basic punctuation rules? And I know this is an area of much controversy and disagreement, but there are several basic punctuation rules that both Morson's and the rest of the world uses (Chicago Manual of Style and others). I'm very curious what punctuation most people can agree on.

How about these:

Comma between two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction. Example: "He was happy, but he didn't like it." "She went up the stairs, and she fell down on her crown."

Break up run-on or choppy sentences - at least in SOME way. Example:
Q Do you recall during the time, I think you told me you worked there for about a year, during the time you worked at Rain Bird, was there any type of safety training that went about there?

Let me know what you think. Are there basics we all expect?

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I asked a scopist - my 10th probably this year - if she googled stuff, because I noticed a lot of things were misspelled. And here was her reply:

I really feel like I Google a lot. Was there one thing in particular? I know you had a street name that I couldn't make out. Usually what happens there is by the time I get the audio it isn't quite as clear as it once was. I'm not always sure what the word even sounds like. So in a case like a local street, if it's not obvious and the witness doesn't give a full company name or even the exact city, I will leave it for the reporter. I always figure the reporter is familiar with local names and it would take me longer to look it up and then guess. I noticed this witness also misspelled some company names as he was going.

These were a few of the things she missed which prompted my question:
1. Levoxyl, Norvasc, Detryl [Detrol] LA, and B6.
2. 14815 Saddle Peak [Saddlepeak – one word] Drive, Fontana.
3. I lived in a little town called La Porte [Laporte - one word, no upcap on P], L-a-P-o-r-t-e, for a few months and then Fort Collins.
4. The only place they had me at was Rainbird [Rain Bird] Manufacturing.

And this isn't the first time a scopist hasn't looked stuff up on the Internet. So that made me curious if I'm just being too demanding. Punctuation styles can always be worked out, in my opinion, with a few feedback emails. Communication is key, of course. But when they don't have basic punctuation and grammar down - and the majority of the scopists I've tried don't - then how can I keep using them?

Not to mention videotaped depos. My audio is clear as a bell, and I can't tell you how many scopists have had an extraordinary amount of mistakes - not adding words that were said, adding words that weren't said, etc.

After I get the job back from the scopist, I end up spending as much time, if not more, editing my job and giving them feedback as I would if I'd done it myself.

And I regularly tran between 99.4 or 99.8. And I clean up throughout the day. I'm a very clean writer, not a lot of drops.

I am at my wit's end. I don't know what to do. I can't increase my workload - even though I'd love to - until I find a scopist who knows what an independent clause is and can use a comma properly.

Ugh. Thanks for relating, Kelli. It's nice to know I'm not the only one suffering and wasting my money on substandard work.
What software are you on? I have a few good scopists, but need to know what software you are on.

I used a scopist once for a few jobs......I never used her again. She spelled ExxonMobile....like Mobile, Alabama --- who doesn't know the spelling of a gas station. Geez....she didn't google anything. And just like you, spent all my time having to go over it word for word --- mind you, I paid her to hear audio word for word....so when I paid her less than she should have been paid, she was pissed ---- too bad!!!!
But email me at ariellesantos@hotmail.com and I will give you some scopists names that are really good
so true!!!! Well, her bill was over 2,000.00 and she charged a lot to begin with, but I had no choice because I had switched over to a new software and who I really wanted was her sister, but the sister was too busy, so she gave me the younger sister --- who needs a lot more experience ---- just a young girl that needs more experience in reading transcripts. But my whole argument was, "if you hear word for word, there should be no errors" Ugggghhhhhh
That's what I'm thinking. We should get a discount if they do such a bad job that it causes us more work. I've always paid my scopists whether they do a horrendous job or not, but I've had a few offer me a discount after they see the mistakes I send them back.

I'm thinking of maybe a contract that includes language like, "If you make more than 50 mistakes, I will deduct 10% for each 50-mistake interval.” I just made that up, but that sounds good. I don’t think any scopists would go for it, though. Then you'd have to define what a mistake was, whether it's not following a preference or a misspelling. Hmmmmm.....
I just don't bother to use them again. If they're really bad.

I like everything done word for word, but I find very few scopist who do this. That's why it's tough to find a good scopist. I too am on the hunt. Good luck
Hi, Kyung ~ I'm the scopist you're looking for! I'm very careful and scope word for word! I'm on Catalyst V9, and I have lots of referrals for you! Contact me at diane_dangelo@msn.com or 626-233-1394
Marla, I'm wondering how Denise worked out. I know she's a busy girl at times. I don't use a scopist, but I have on a couple of occasions many, many, many years ago. Of course, there's no such thing as a verbatim or word-for-word transcript, but we do the best we can. I edit all my work and send it out to proof. I'm a horrible proofer of my own work. You begin to read things in that aren't there, etc. I do a lot of research every now and then on jobs on the Internet, and if I can't find it, I write a note to Denise for help. If she can't find it, then you just do the best you can. I know, depending on some jobs I edit, I would love to just make 50 mistakes when I get back the corrections, but then I'm not being paid probably 1/3 of the page rate to edit it either. Sometimes I get rushed to get it to my proofer and it's not the best quality. I believe it really depends on the relationship between you and your scopist letting him/her know what your expectations are. If you're wanting something extremely clean, almost perfect, you should expect to pay a lot more than standard rate. Anything else probably is negotiable. But it's like I said on another blog, the young people coming up are not getting the necessary education...not that I know everything either...but they don't take the time to look things up, they depend on spell check, which isn't always accurate, and they don't really notice if something doesn't sound right; for example, Fontana, and if it's something they've never heard before, I'm surprised if any of them know how to use a dictionary sometimes. I doubt I've helped any. I know I need to take some time and figure out how to use my Search Master myself. I think that would be a real timesaver. Also you might want to keep in mind that depending how many reporters a scopist is working for and what states, everyone has a different format and way of doing things. I know y'all do things really different than what we do here in TX. Once again, it's communication between you and your scopist so there's no mistake in what you expect.
Are you on Eclipse? I'm a scopist who likes things perfect. I don't always get them exact, but if you tell me what is wrong, I won't, if at all possible, make that mistake again. I think there are still some of us out there who like to do a good job, so since work has been up and down lately for me, I'd love to do some scoping for you and see if we can work together well. Gena Hoffman
Hi, Marla! I'm a scopist/proofreader on CaseCatalyst 4.7. It's difficult to guarantee a 100 percent accurate transcript, but I guarantee that I am punctuation-conscious (following Morson's by heart) and will scope word-for-word if asked to. Google is a big part of my scoping practice, and rest assured I will anything still questionable after a through research. No need to make any commitment yet unless you are convinced that you approve of my work. Thus, I'm willing to scope 20 pages for free. Please e-mail me at regaden@yahoo.com. Hope to hear from you. Thanks.
I'm new to scoping, so maybe my opinion doesn't count for too much. I have found it extremely interesting to hear the opinion of reporters whose experience with scopists hasn't always been so wonderful. Wouldn't it be practical to have a basic pay scale arrangement with your scopist, and then adjust it according to the work they did on each job? For example, if I really did some lousy work, I should be willing to either get less pay on that job, or spend the time fixing it. Personally, I think that would be a great learning experience and preparation to become a really good scopist. At the same time, if the reporter is turning in some really horrendous stuff and still wants it almost perfect, then there should be the disposition to up the ante on the pay end. And if a scopist is doing really good work all the time, wouldn't it be worth it to pay a little more? And if the scopist has the desire to learn and adapt to the reporters style and needs, wouldn't it be worth spending some time with them until they get up to speed? I would like to find a reporter who is willing to work with me using a flexible arrangement like that.
Hi, Kelli~ I'm the scopist you are looking for! I look everything up, and I really care about my job and the reporters I work for. I'm on Catalyst V.9. What software are you on? I have lots of referrals that you can contact too! I've been scoping for 15 years now. If I can be of service to you, please contact me at diane_dangelo@msn.com or 626-233-1394. Thanks!
Was wondering if you found a scopists. I am searching for a reporter to give me a try. I am very dependable, reliable and I meet all deadlines. I give my all to my finished product. I believe in making the court reporters life easy by producing quality work. I always use google to do searches when needed. I use Total Eclipse software. If you have certain writing rules I will definately follow them. Eager to work.


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