Where would one start out wanting to get into scoping even as part time? I am awaiting to take state boards for voicewriting (steno mask) in April '09. I want to give it a shot & was wondering if on-the-job training would be avail? I want to make extra cash and thinking this may be a good way to get my feet wet. Do you have to buy your own equip or is there some thats readily avail? I don't want to spend more $$$ on education but would love to work in this field while waiting to test...Court Reporting school was enough money already! Anyone with useful info, i would like to hear! Thanks... JiLL

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Jill, hang in there, my friend. I know how frustrating it can be while in school.

Scoping requires one to be able to read stenotype, and so there is a knowledge base that is needed. Plus, you do need software. I think they call it a "key," and it costs a big chunk of change.

You seem like such a nice lady. Your ambition, drive, and positive energy are going to take you far. I wish you all the best! :-)
Kelli, that is good to know. I did not know that. I figured the scoping software had the notes on one side of the screen, with the text on the other side of the screen, requiring one to read the stenotype notes. If you can do it with the audio recording, then, hey, I just might give scoping a try myself. I can definitely put a transcript together, and I have 100-percent confidence in my skills in that arena.

I do have one friend who used to work in-house for several court reporting companies in the D.C. area, doing administrative-type work. She was fired from two of the companies, mainly because of her cantankerous attitude and flippant communication skills. She is a nice person, and I like her, but she did have a personality problem getting along with others in the office. In fact, she could be a real b*tch when she wanted to.

She decided to teach herself how to do scoping and work at home. She already knew how to put a transcript together and had acquired proofing skills when working for the various court reporting companies. This seemed to suit her better, working alone.

Fast forward four or five years, and she's pulling in over $100,000. Now, she does not have much of a social life and lives alone with two cats. She works 24/7, but, hey, she's loves it and is doing better financially than she ever did working in-house.

They say the hardest thing about any job is dealing with the personalities. That's why some folks are better situated when they work at home alone. ;-)
Kelli, I agree with you that we need to make decisions about priorities. That scopist who pockets six figures per annum works every day of the week, just about.

I sometimes find myself getting irritated when I hear people saying they don't have any work, and yet their priorites are such that they can truly only work 5 hours a week because they have three small children, a husband, and a household to run. That's okay, but, dag nab it, don't expect the jobs to fall out of the sky, 5 hours a week of crystal-clear audio and perfect notes, as an example. I love the ones that specify EXACTLY what kind of jobs they want. They don't want to do anything technical, accented speech, or crappy audio.

That's nice work if they can find it, but most hiring entities are looking for a little more commitment. What I have discovered is the good people are always busy, and there's a reason why. ;-)

Your friend is definitely the exception to the rule. Not only must she be working 24/7, she must be working on all daily copy work of magnificent real-time writers. Otherwise, the $100,000 figure is absolutely impossible. And for sure she must have changed her cantankerous attitude, because I've never met a reporter who would put up with that from a scopist . . . and rightfully so.

I know from where I speak. I've been working with reporters since 1982 and have been on court reporting forums since the early '90s. 99% of the scopists I know -- and I know a lot them -- never even get to the $50,000 mark.
Karen, here in D.C., she charges her reporters damn near what I make transcribing from straight audio, no court reporter present. She was an English major in college, and I will admit she's a smart cookie, and most of her experience and knowedge base came from working in-house.

It was her who told me many moons ago that "segue" was s-e-g-u-e and not "segway," the way I had been transcribing it for years before she corrected me.

I'm not exactly sure of all her page rates with her "regular" reporters, but when she was doing daily copy for a Federal District Court reporter during one high-profile trial in D.C., she requested $2.75 per page and received it, no problem.

Meanwhile, back in one of the court reporting offices I used to work in-house at, the in-house scopist made $12 per hour plus benefits. We transcriptionists got benefits plus page rates, not an hourly rate.

This scopist is good, I will give her that, but she is a b*tch. I guess I should be careful if she ever reads this forum, as I don't want to tick her off too badly.

Oh, heck with it. Just in case she does read this forum, as much money as she makes, I find is unreal that she won't spring for high-speed cable and uses her neighbor's high-speed cable for her Internet connection in her townhouse development in Virginia.

Yikes, I better run for cover now. ;-)

$2.75 for daily copy is in the ballpark for full audio, so that doesn't surprise me. But she's got to get that consistently to make the money she supposedly makes.

Reading your latest post, I think she also might be queen of the BS artists
Karen, the $2.75 per page, she was scoping a stenotypist's notes who was the so-called "official" court reporter of that trial. They did the morning session, and the afternoon session was handled by another reporter. She had the audio too. I think she could go much faster, though, with the stenotypist's notes filling in the untranslates than, say, banging out pages from scratch.

She's a great scopist, but she can also make your blood boil sometimes. I am reminded of the time she charged me $15 to return MY JOB to me. She forgot to give it to me when we met for lunch the week previous, and so when I realized I needed the original tapes that belonged to the client, I had to pay her $15 to drive 10 miles to my home. You could fry an egg on my head that morning. I mean, she'd make Lincoln scream on the copper penny.
Hi Jill,

If there is anything I can do to answer your questions, feel free to contact me at
I'm working on a project this week with three other scopists and we're trying to wrap
it up by tomorrow.

Ms. Devon Roberts
Thank You Ms. Devon!
I may be better off scoping!!! I'm doing substitute teaching. I'm hoping for tutoring. I'm hoping for a teaching job.

I'm hoping for money.

Well, I now have 79 weeks of unemployment - but only $300 a week. I'm hoping in January I get food stamps (that $25.00 extra in stimulus took away my food stamps). Well, time for the pool. It's 90 outside.

Contrary to what others have said, yes, it is important to be able to read steno as a scopist who is working with machine (stenotype) reporters. Without knowing how to do so, a scopist can't make accurate dictionary entries or globals for reporters.

Now, if you want to work with voicewriters -- which seems much more appropriate, to me at least, since that's the field of reporting you're going into -- that involves an entirely different type of "scoping" skill. In that case, you're translating the voicewriter's shortcut voice commands into English onto a transcript, which may or may not be done with a CAT system. I don't know all the details, but it's been discussed at some length on the Court Reporters Forum on CompuServe because there are people on that site that do that.

To answer your other question, yes, you do need to buy CAT software if you're scoping for nonvoicewriting reporters. They run about $1500 per CAT system, and some scopists even offer scoping in two or more CAT systems.
Maybe i should stick with proofreading...i dont wanna invest in any more equip. CR materials is enough for now!


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