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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Hi Marla.

I've been scoping since '95 and I always try to do everything you listed. I have been on Case Catalyst since it came out and I stay pretty busy.

I always listen to the audio word for word if that's what the reporter has told me they want me to do. If a reporter provides me with a list of preferences, I always have it on my desk while working on jobs for that reporter.

I've been working with one reporter for almost four years now, so she's obviously happy with my work. She's a realtime writer and does a good amount of daily copy in NYC. I've been working with another reporter for just a little over a year and she has said "I'm proud to call you my scopist." She sends me every job that's ordered and keeps me pretty busy. Then there's another reporter I scope for occasionally because she isn't real busy, but she sends me all the big jobs she has. All three reporters are very good writers.

I do not think you are expecting too much. I think everything you listed should be expected of every scopist.

I just scrolled up and I see the date you posted your question was in April. I don't come to this site very often because I'm just too busy. I hope I've helped.

Joyce Izor
Hello Marla,
I am new to this forum and looking to work as a scopist. I would agree on every point. These edits seem obvious to me. I wouldn't hesitate to look up the spelling of a word or how something should be punctuated if I am unsure. You are not expecting too much. This is something I do whether I'm editing a transcript or an email I've written. This should come naturally to someone who enjoys the process of editing.
As a scopist I definitely agree those are things that should be done. After reading those horror stories, OMG!!! I would NEVER do that to my reporters!!! I take their transcript into as much consideration as I do my own! If you guys are looking for a reliable, dedicated scopist feel free to email me! I have references =o)
Hi everyone, I'm new here. As a fairly new scopist, I was amazed to read about all the mistakes that are being made on transcripts. I do not think that you are asking too much at all. It is my job to try to return the transcript as close to perfect as I can get it. I am proud of the work that I return to the official reporter that I work for. There are some things that I am still learning, and she has been very good about that. I welcome feedback on areas that I can improve on.
For me you hit every one of them. I always try to make it as perfect as I can...and, of course, there's always different ideas about punctuation. I have Morson's, Gregg Ref and OWTW, the internet...but I also belong to about 3 (this being one of them) support groups, and if I'm really stumped, more often than not, they come through for me. I always flag it if I feel I've done as much as I can but can't find/understand the word or name. I can't believe that a reporter would expect anything less from a scopist.
My two cents,
Dianne Hudson, Scopist in Austin, Texas
I want to say that I am a new scopist. I'm a hard working single mom. I am trying to get established as a scopist after spending two years in court reporting school. I have had negative feedback but feel as though I haven't really been shown what I did wrong and how I can fix the errors. Just that my punctuation isn't up to their standards. I do however spend a lot of time on google and have found so many different resource pages, including a site that offers street names for every city in the United States. I don't mind spending the time doing research, and agree that a reasonable amount of time should be spent on looking up correct spellings of names, streets, cities, etc.

I also agree that there are such different individual rules for each and every reporter. Every reporter may expect something different from their scopist. I am just saying that as a new scopist, I would like to work for a reporter for maybe a little bit less per page, who would be willing to mold a new scopist, like myself, into what they are themselves looking for in a scopist.

I'm Just looking for someone to give me a chance.
I am a scopist that is pretty busy in San Diego, California. I have a new reporter that is easy to please, but her transcripts need A LOT of cleanup. In other words, you will be transcribing most of it. It all has to be verbatim, but there's no need to look stuff up. Mostly simple Worker's Comp and car accidents. It's on CaseCAT. I will be proofing to audio the final product before I return it to the reporter. Turnaround time varies. If you are interested in some work, email me, Kathie, at got_transcripts@yahoo.com and give me a page rate.
I'm new to the world of scoping and have already found that everyone has different expectations and preferences.

I definitely research everything and strive for as close to perfect transcript when I'm done. I listen to the entire audio to include very word (especially video, which some reporters are required to sync with transcript), then print and read to make sure I didn't miss anything. I mark spots that I absolutely can't figure out. When I return the corrected transcript, I include a changes/questions sheet that includes page & line number where I note anything that I couldn't verify, questions that I couldn't figure out, and subtle but important changes that I feel they need to know about.

I've been very fortunate to have patient court reporters who are willing to work with me on their personal preferences, but I also have a preference sheet that I send to new clients. It at least gives me a starting point.

Let me know if you want me to email you a copy. mo :)
Monice, Thanks for your reply - I will try your method! Yes, if you wouldn' t mind please email me a copy of your preference sheet, that would come in handy! hockeymom46@msn.com
Thanks again!
If anyone out there wants someone who was a grammar specialist long before he was a scopist, I would like to hear from you. With a master's degree in speech communications and 10 years of transcript exposure as an instructor at Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., detailed attention to the spoken word has been my life. My background in medical transcription (graduate of Brown College; 5+ years as a trainer/facilitator with wordZXpressed, Inc, a transcription company in Atlanta) has afforded me a greater keeness in filling in blanks from my clients' transcripts. I'm currently working in CaseCatalyst. You can e-mail me at danny.newman@comcast.net
I'm a former court reporter who is interested in scoping on StenoCAT. If anyone is interested, please let me know.
Thank you, Darlene
Hi, Marla,

This discussion is probably getting old, but I wanted to chime in. I am a scopist and I completely agree with those expectations. I am a certified Technical Writer who wound up proofing for court reporters and now scoping. My mission statement, if I were to have one, is that I strive to make people look good in writing. I treat every transcript as though it were my own, as though my career depended on it. Each of those points you listed I pay strict attention to. Plus, with a biomed background in college I am especially useful for medical depos.

Okay, I guess this is kind of turning into a resume, but if your scopist isn't a detail freak, find another one. I'm available.

Jody Rake


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