Just spoke with an agency about a very, very troubling issue.  They say rough drafts are being provided without charge, if you do realtime on a case.  What!?!?!?  I don't do realtime or rough draft for free.  WHY are reporters accepting this?  Yes, times are tough, but you have to be tougher.  JUST SAY NO to this practice.  Do you like doing work for nothing? I am just disgusted by what we are not being paid for anymore.  

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"never once did it enter my mind she was suggesting that high standard to keep the number of realtimers low (insert maniacal laugh here) so she could count her pieces of gold"

Yeah, actually, she did, here:

"Next and last point:  It's all about the money.  I am in this profession for one thing:  Money, and lots of it.  As I said before, thank goodness I get paid and paid well for what I do. [portion deleted]   you've got naive reporters jumping on the realtime train, reporters who will end up hurting my ability to charge and be paid for what I do."

And I'm not doubting that MA's a good writer, really.  My only comment is "perfect," "good," "beautiful" are all descriptive words that can hold a different meaning for every person reading it (beauty is in the eye of the beholder). 

Maybe there's a reporter out there that truly is an excellent writer and everything's tranning almost totally correctly, but they think they need to be "perfect" and they're not perfect because their idea of perfect is, say, they're not able to get 100% of the CORRECT punctuation in as they're writing the job, including all dashes and semicolons.

Believe me when I say that not all reporters should be providing realtime to attorneys.  Years ago, one of my clients asked me to update his LiveNote realtime file on his computer with the final version on a depo that the other side took (he was computer-challenged).  Man-o-man, that was one fugly realtime transcript.  I don't think there was a line that didn't have an untran on it.  I even urged my client to not pay for it since it was useless!  (He insisted on paying the agency, tho.) 

That reporter shouldn't be providing realtime, no-how, no-way.  But what if there are some really good reporters out there that could actually provide really good output, but can't/won't because they keep reading "perfect," and it's their belief they're not "perfect"?  Come on, we all know nobody's perfect! 

I think a better way to approach nudging good, nervous-Nellie reporters to offer realtime -- and shoving the bad ones out of the way -- is to get rid of the ambiguous descriptives and start using concrete figures:   5%, 1%, .50% untran rates.  Just a suggestion.  I'm just afraid that there are some good reporters that won't offer the service because their perception of "beautiful" is different than a prolific writer's opinion.


Hear, hear.

"I think a better way to approach nudging good, nervous-Nellie reporters to offer realtime -- and shoving the bad ones out of the way -- is to get rid of the ambiguous descriptives and start using concrete figures:   5%, 1%, .50% untran rates.  Just a suggestion.  I'm just afraid that there are some good reporters that won't offer the service because their perception of "beautiful" is different than a prolific writer's opinion."


That is much clearer, Judy. 

Thanks, Janet.  A positive comment from you means a lot to me.

But... let me go on my rant for just a second longer.

I've complained about a nasty realtime transcript on this thread and I believe it was MA somewhere else (?) mentioned about a realtime writer -- I believe on this forum -- that advertises her/himself out a good realtime writer but yet she's heard complaints about the transcript (I hope I'm remembering that correctly).

Is there even a doubt in anybody's mind that those reporters think we're talking about them?  Heck, no!  Although, I did have to rule out in my own mind that she might be talking about me ;)

My point being, the bad ones -- at anything -- reporters, scopists, politicians, housekeepers -- they never believe they're in the bad category.  I'm pretty darn sure they're reading comments about being a realtime reporter and they're in their own little world, nodding in agreement, yup, me too! as they cash that check and accept the next assignment from another unsuspecting agency, maybe stopping a long the weigh to get some advise about a new peace of equipment [sic].

But you know whose fault that is?  The agency's.  Let the agency worry about whether they're going to have to find a replacement at noon for the screaming attorneys because they're getting a 90% tran rate, or won't be able to bill for that unreadable mess, or, horrors, have to kiss a client's a$$ when they threaten to go to a competitor that offers "beautiful" realtime because they handed the assignment off to the first reporter that said, sure, I can do realtime.

But to continue to inundate the Internet to attempt to keep one person's version of "beautiful" as the line in the sand for when somebody can potentially think about purchasing their equipment is -- my opinion -- scaring off what could be some great resources.   What a shame. 

[edited to add "sic."  apparently my strange sense of humor didn't come through.]

Hi Judy, I have been reading and this conversation is so interesting to me.  I just bought a new system, Case 13, and just ordered a real time cable for my Stentura.  I want to do realtime for myself on jobs. I can't wait to start!!  I was wondering if that tran rate of 1%, 5%, etc., is what is acceptable to do start doing realtime for attorneys?  My tran rate varies on jobs.  I do have a low untran rate, but there are days when it's fast and technical, and my tran rate will be 98% and I know it won't be fun scoping it.  I am no way near perfect in writing, and will shorten company names as I write, and then come home and J or D define it.  I will probably be too scared to do realtime for attorneys, but if I ever do, what is acceptable in your opinion?  The thought of an attorney saying "what is that word?" scares me to death, haha.  I would love to strive to do it one day.  I've been doing this for 26 years, and the thought of doing realtime for myself is exciting!  If I can fix half the untrans before I leave the job, I'll have so much more free time for myself, and my fur babies, and family!  Thanks in advance :)


See, this is where Janet should come in.  She's so calm and has such a good head on her shoulders.  Hopefully she'll respond to you too.

The number I've heard a lot of others throw out there is under 1% untran rate before you should start thinking about selling realtime to attorneys (I personally like .50% or less).  I understand Anita Paul gives EXCELLENT seminars regarding realtime.  You might want to look at her Web site and find out next time she's in your area and snag a seat at her seminar.

Also find out when RealLegal is going to give their Certified LiveNote Reporter  seminar in your area.  They'll give you tips and suggestions.  And when you pass their open-book test, they'll give you five token-free LiveNote licenses.  I personally think having your CLR certificate amounts to a hill of beans, but you will learn about their software and get those free licenses by attending.  And, unfortunately, some attorneys insist in using LN software.

My suggestion is get your cord, start realtiming for yourself, get comfortable setting up your equipment, learn how to edit your transcript from you writer, then think about how you're going to hook attorneys into your system (wireless or cords), and start getting your equipment (this might take a while).  I'd personally bring all of my equipment to just a "regular" job and set it up to make SURE you have everything you need.  Watch the other screen throughout, not just your screen.  It really is amazing how much different, say, a Bridge screen looks over an Eclipse screen.  Make sure your system is set so that it refreshes your realtime screen too.

Once you start realtiming for yourself, you might want to think about getting one of those keyboards that fits over your writer.  Makes it a lot easier to get in some of those J defines rather than having to move your hands all the way from your writer up to your laptop; that is, until you become a pro at editing directly from your writer.

Another good thing about realtiming for yourself is the ability of your software to suggest briefs for new multi-stroke words for that job.  You'll need to ask a CC reporter how that works (I'm on Eclipse).

Good luck!  And ask questions!!  This is a very supportive forum and there are lots of great people here that are willing to give advice and let you know how they do it.

I'm not familiar with Case, but I assume you must have the feature that you can edit from your steno machine.  If you can do that, it would be worthwhile to learn that.  As soon as a name or term comes up that's not in my dictionary, I scan back to it and define it.  Then it's only one untranslate for each new term.

Since you said you define the terms at home, your translation rate would improve on the spot by defining those terms as you go.  I brief company names too.  There are always short pauses while counsel reaches for a new document to mark or the witness reads from an exhibit.  A lot of reporters have the external keyboard on their writer.  I do most of my editing from my Diamante and occasionally reach up to my laptop. 

If you bring your laptop to every job and start defining on the spot, you will spend a lot less time on the back end.  It is exciting when you see improvement and watch the translation get better and better. 


Re paying the same for both:
“… that is TOTALLY INSANE because it encourages bad writing, and reporters who can't write readable realtime benefit over those who can write it right the first time.” You mean kind of like socialism? ;)

“I am very very willing to let the market decide!” If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were a Conservative, MA. :D

Not that that has anything to do with this! But it really struck me after all the political posts recently, lol.

Since you brought up this subject, I thought I would ask a different side of the topic.  What about reporters that have the scopists provide the roughs for them? I have done MANY roughs and NEVER paid even 1 penny for them. I have brought this up on before and been told to basically "dump her" and move on. There have been roughs that I have spent HOURS on, as she wanted a clean line-by-line check, and then I have to go back through with the audio later. As a scopist, my days of providing roughs, even including mailing it to the attorney, are over. If reporters get this upset about providing a service for free, which in my case the reporter is not even spending 2 minutes on, I am sure you can understand the frustration/disappointment a scopist feels for providing a service for free, especially after finding out after the fact that the reporter HAS gotten paid for it.

I agree, Christie, that you should be compensated if you're cleaning up the rough for a reporter - no question about it.  I've never asked a scopist to do a rough for me.  If I did ask, I'd be willing to pay extra for it. 

Wow, were you taken advantage of, Christie.  I'm sorry to hear that.  You obviously would have to drop everything to get the rough done, since they have to be turned in ASAP.  I also can't believe the reporter would have you contact the attorney.  I hope you did dump her.  That should never be done for free.  I wouldn't use a scopist for a rough, but I certainly would pay for it if I did.

With all due respect, MA, I don't think you make friends by making statements like "I am a beautiful realtime writer."  Seriously, you might want to tone it down a bit.  I would say the best judge of your or anyone's realtime is how often you are specifically requested to come back by the attys that have used your services.



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