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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Wow -- you sound like a good scopist ....knowing there will be mistakes and that you can take criticism well and trying to not do it again. Too bad I'm not on Eclipse. Good luck and hopefully lots of reporters will take you up on your offer.
I, too, am fairly new at scoping. You used a term "to weave voice-overs," that I am unfamiliar with. Would you please explain that for me?

Thank you.

"And Judy, that $1.25 pp for full audio, well, that's a tad more than 50% of what I make for an original. So unless I'm selling copies, I can't afford to use a scopist at all; the scopist would make more money than I would, and I have a problem with that."

Rhonda, I agree totally. I think that scopists' fees keep going up and reporters' fees are staying the same or going lower. They're going to totally price themselves out of the market before long. It's a shame because a good scopist can certainly make life easier for a reporter.

They just tell us to raise our prices. It's not that easy, especially for those who work for a firm. I saw not long ago an ad for someone doing full audio for $1.50 a page. WHAT? Then there are the new scopists who charge the same amount as a scopist with 20 years of experience. I don't think that's right, either, and it's not a good marketing tool to get business, IMO.
Yep, the schools are telling these newbies "Here's a rate sheet that's listed online..." I understand it's hard enough to break into the scoping profession, but when you add on that you're charging more than an EXPERIENCED scopist and you don't even have your first client, sheesh, doom and gloom. In the last six months I've gotten rates from two newbies that are charging more than the "average" I'm paying to a scopist with MANY years of experience. Yeah, tell me why I want to pay more to train somebody? No, thanks.
This is really bizarre. Am I just extra special or am I living in the dark ages? My rates have remained constant for so many years. I don't ask for raises, I don't charge extra for the audio, nor for experts, nor for technical. Hell, I can't remember the last time I actually charged $2.00/page for daily copy, and I've done quite a few. I have NEVER told a reporter to ask for more money, and if a scopist ever said that to me, I would know they have no experience in the industry.

If I screw up royally, I expect the reporter to tell me, and I have no problem issuing a discount if I have screwed up, which, not to toot my own horn, is rare.

$1.50 a page?! I've been scoping since I was 14 years old -- minus a few years as a reporter -- and that was WELL over 20 years ago. $1.50 for regular turnaround is insane.

And just in case anyone is curious, no, I'm not raising my rates.
Hi Marla,
I don't think you're being picky or demanding at all. I am actually a scopist, and our job is to do the very best we can to give back a clean transcript. That includes researching elusive spellings, going over any audio or video closely, and following basic punctuation rules. As a matter of fact, a scopist should know the rules cold!! Now, I'm not saying you should expect to get back a perfect transcript every time. I don't think it's terrible for a scopist to flag any questionable areas in the transcript for you to review. That doesn't mean, however, that you should have to tolerate what may just be laziness, pure and simple. After all, the money that goes to your scopist is coming out of your pocket! I believe the relationship between the reporter and the scopist should be one of mutual respect. Since court reporters have the great responsibility of preserving the record, scopists should strive for excellence in every job they do.
Whew!!! (I'm getting off my soapbox now) I'm sorry that was so long! I guess your post inspired me. :) I hope I didn't ruffle anyone's feathers out there.

I joined CSRnation yesterday and was intrigued when I saw your question posted. As a scopist, I do not feel you are out of line at all in what you are asking. In fact, making such corrections and doing research is why we are being paid. It is truly unfortunate so many reporters here have had such abysmal experiences with a scopist. It makes it that much harder for those of us who do take great pride in our work to entice other clients to take a chance on us.
You are absolutely right, K.C.
As a scopist, I definitely don't think your criteria is far fetched or even slightly out of the scopists "required duties" realm. Whenever I have a transcript, (by the way I'm looking for more work) I always do the things you mentioned. I have, however, heard of scopists that charge a little more for scoping/proofreading. I guess that means they consider scoping to be formatting, cleaning up untranslates and filling in missing words only; and proofreading is anything over and above that.

To me, scoping means producing the most clean and finished product possible. This not only means grammar clean up but research to confirm names, dates, etc... as well as using audio to make sure everything is there. I admit that doing that takes quite a bit more time and we all know time is money. Conversely, if we as scopists produce a more "final" copy to our reporters, that frees up their time and therefore, they can go on more jobs which in turn gives us more money. Personally, I'm a neat freak and like to know that I did the best job possible.

There are times, that I have wanted to give back a transcript to a reporter because her notes were ridiculous and the audio was so bad I could hardly hear what was said in order to put in what the notes were missing. In retrospect, I should have charged more per page; but I was just starting and didn't want to turn down work. Even in that case I still did the necessary research, audio, grammar, etc...

Anywho, your requirements are basic and not unreasonable.
Reading this thread has been an eye-opening experience for me. I am actually going to lower the rates on my website after I post this message. I am a fairly new scopist, and I am shocked to hear about the mistakes reporters are seeing in their transcripts after they have been scoped. I definitely do not think you are expecting too much. Everything that Marla listed in her original post is exactly what I thought a scopist should be doing. If a scopist isn't performing those tasks, I certainly don't blame you for not wanting to pay for the job. I was trained by a school where the punctuation and grammar section is based on the rules in LMEG. I also own a copy of LMEG and One Word, Two Words, Hyphen-ated? I was trained to perform research and verify spellings.

This is a great discussion, and it has really helped me to see things from a reporter's perspective. Thank you for the information!
I'm new to the site, but I'm a scopist with 18 years of experience. I don't know if I'm too late for the discussion, but I thought I'd still reply. I've had two of my reporters for over 15 years each, so I think we've got it all dialed in. I'd bend over backwards for them and they keep me busy and pay me well. For every weekend I've worked, there's a weekday I played hooky. If they sent me a really bad transcript, they know it's bad and they pay me and I give it back to them as perfect as I can, no matter what. If I charge them extra, they pay it because they know I worked hard. I never stopped to consider how much stuff I look up because I believe it's my job to check the facts, the spelling, the sense of the sentence. I read line by line and fix it or flag it when I feel something is wrong. It never would have occurred to me NOT to do any of those things. Neither of them use a proofer at all because they trust me to get it right the first time. All they do is read it over and fix the flags and send it in. I don't know, maybe I'm just a dinosaur :)


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