How long do you think is reasonable for a scopist to return a transcript to you?

I've been looking for a new scopist this past week to help with my pages and one in particular says she wants seven days to get the transcript back to me.  I'm like, "What???"  I have to have my job in in eight business days and she wants seven of them.

What do you think is reasonable?  I was thinking something like four, five at the absolute latest.

Views: 1090

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Another thing to think about, Kelli, re a scopist that wants a seven-day turnaround, they could be a fairly new scopist and are trying to build some wiggle room into their schedule, at least that's the first thing I think when I hear that.  Personally, at this stage in my career, I can't utilize new or even fairly new scopists because I have no time to "train."  I don't know how you feel about training a new scopist.



I've spent the last year and a half training someone who just got the software at my request.  She's pretty good now, but it was a long, long road.  I'm not about to do it again.  Also, I get a lot of super, super technical work, and I can't be baby-sitting anyone at this stage. 

The job I'm doing today is 7-day turnaround.  If I had given that job to that scopist, I'd be late and this firm would probably never use me again.  Can't afford that.

Sorry, one more thing before I get in the car.

Another thing seven-day turn makes me think is that it's a part-time job for them.  Also something I can't utilize at this point, somebody that can only work on nights and weekends.  Things are moving too fast nowadays for seven-day turnarounds for scopists.

"Most firms require by the 7th day now."  Not so long ago, 10 business days to turn the job was standard; then the agencies started cutting off a day, then another day, another day, another day--why not?  Reporters just accepted it with no extra compensation, like reporters are apt to do (or didn't know any better when they agreed to shorter time frame).  Back when it was a standard turn of 10 business days (in my world, 10 days is still standard), 5 to 7 business days from the scopist was acceptable--that was standard.  Some reporters will not accept a 7-day turn or an 8-day turn without extra pay.  Some scopists will not accept a 3-day, 4-day, or a 5-day-guaranteed turn without extra pay.  Some reporters will say yes to earlier turn-in because they are afraid to lose the work or because they just think that is the norm--some scopists will do the same.  Some stand firm and take the position if you want the same effort in a compressed amount of time, no problemo--but it comes at a price.  I applaud those scopists who don't cave to reporters' quick-turn demands--they should be paid more for that 3- to 4-day turn.  This scopist isn't unreasonable citing 7 days (imagine that's at the latest--probably 5 to 7 days).  I am sure if you pay her more for what is, to a scopist, really an expedite, she will be more than happy to accommodate you.  It's not like it would be much more--but it would be fair compensation, IMO, just so long as the job was professionally scoped and delivered as promised.  The 7 days doesn't say to me has a part-time job--it says seasoned scopist, been around a while, knows better.  Things may be moving fast nowadays, but that doesn't mean the reporter (where this little problem starts) cannot speak up and negotiate more for the quicker turn--8 days + 20%, 7 days + 30%--and make the extra money to pay themselves a little and pay the scopist his or her just deserts.  My $.02.

Bravo, Amanda! 

Need any scoping help? ;-)

<Just kidding. I actually have my hands full with the reporter clients I already have; but if I ever find myself looking for more work, you're going to be the first one I contact!>

Lol--thanks, Debi!  Wish I did need an extra scopist right now!  Unless I am mistaken, you have been active on Jim's site for a number of years--and I've read and appreciated a lot of your posts.  I just got certified video training this past weekend, and have been spending quite a bit of time the last couple of months researching equipment, buying equipment, training, venturing off into this new area for me and my husband and a business partner.  I'll be getting back to writing more again soon (so boring in comparison to all the "new stuff," after more than 20 years--but I do have that Passport, that recently arrived, to play with!) that I may find I am in need of more than one scopist.  Would love to offer in-house scoping to reporters, if I had the business.  Then if I tell someone, Yeah, sure, you can have in X days, the reporters wouldn't have to worry about it at all (unless they wanted to); the office would just get 'er done.  I like that model. ;-)

Amanda, I agree with you that agreeing to a shorter turnaround time by reporters to pacify firm owners was a big mistake.  A 10-day turnaround is sufficient and if they want it faster then the client should have it expedited and pay the extra cost.  I do not agree, however, that 7 days is a reasonable turnaround time for a scopist to get a job back to the reporter.  That is entirely too long, IMO.  If the reporter is a good writer or even a decent writer, there is no reason that a job should take 7 days to be turned around by a scopist and I would never work with a scopist who needed 7 days as a standard.  That's an inordinate amount of time.  The only time I would agree to that is if I just had a really bad writing day and the job was not my best work.  Then I could understand a longer turnaround time with additional compensation because of poor writing on my part.  But on bad writing days -- and we all have them -- I do the job myself unless I can't due to a rush or whatever.  My 2 cents.

Hey, Jannette -


Yeah, 7 days is a good bit of time, I agree--and I have used scopists that say 5 to 7, but I have never gotten it back as late as 7, I don't believe--it's sooner.  If I absolutely needed it back before that 7 days, I would speak up and let them know (if I didn't and got it back in 7, no biggie).  If I needed it before 5 days (or 5 days guaranteed), I would expect to pay a premium.  In my world, getting it in 7 days is plenty of time to get it out by the 10th day.  I would not insist on 3 to 4 days at the scopist's regular rate, especially if I agreed to get a job in earlier and didn't get more compensation--that's my decision and I can thank myself for making less money because my scopist is going to charge me more (and I wish all scopists would charge more--maybe that would give reporters incentive to negotiate a better rate for themselves).  Now, if I agreed to earlier at same rate because the job was great and lots of copies sold and/or realtime, rough draft, and still I was complaining about the scopist not getting the job to me in 3 or 4 days at their regular rate and not willing to pay them an upcharge while I am BANKING, I think that may just qualify as sin--definitely greedy, IMO--but it happens, of course.


As for poor writing, I do that myself, too--hearings are my worst.  I actually sent a hearing to a scopist that said she did not care how badly I wrote (it was the hearing from hell and it was crap).  Wouldn't have mattered to me if she took two weeks on that one, but she got it back pretty quickly--sooner than I wanted to deal with it again (lol).

It would be fine if I get to turn my work around in 10 days, but here it's 7 or 8 days.  I'd be in big trouble using her with that turn-around; she's eating up all my time and it's still not proofed.

I do agree.  Using days from this thread, if a scopist routinely takes 5-7 days and a proofreader routinely takes 4-5 days, that means the job is out of my possession for 9-12 days.  And based on turnaround time quotes that I've received from scopists/proofreaders, most -- but certainly not all -- scopists/proofreaders do not include weekend days in their turnaround time.  So that 9-12 days is just not reasonable, even with a 10-day turnaround.

One might argue, yeah, but a reporter isn't going to send a job to both a scopist and a proofreader.  To that I say, yes, there are reporters that produce transcripts in that fashion.  And on the other hand, if the reporter is doing one of those jobs in producing her transcript (scoping or proofing), why would the reporter not be given the same amount of time theoretically to finish her task?  Just because a scopist turns the job back to me does not mean I'm in a position in the next few hours to finalize and get it out the door.  Shouldn't I be given a reasonable amount of time to proofread their work?  (From everything I've read, VERY FEW scopists would advocate a reporter finalizing a job without proofreading behind them.  They don't want the responsibility of producing a final transcript, and I can certainly understand why.  Also consider the fact that many don't think it's the scopist's job to do the cover pages and index, so when does all of that get done?)  And if 5-7/4-5 is reasonable for a job I've hired out, wouldn't my reasonable amount of time be pretty close to the same?  Is not my time just as valuable as my scopist's/proofreader's?

And reporters and scopists that are steadfastly hanging on to a 10-day turnaround are out of touch with how business is conducted nowadays.  Good luck trying to get it back to where it was in the "good old days," but it's not going to happen in certainly the near future (and probably closer to never).  You can choose to handle the issue several different ways:  1)  Hang on to your 10 days and have free time and a sparse income, unless you're one of the very few "blessed" ones; 2) Figure out how you can make it work and deal with it; 3) Go into another business or spread your wings and develop a side business (like Amanda's doing).

I'm certainly not trying to ruffle anyone's feathers, but the world's-a-changing and anybody that doesn't recognize that might just get left with, shall we say, less than others that have accepted the realization.  Unfortunately, it's too late to turn back the clock to 15+ years ago.


Judy, you make very excellent points regarding the turnaround time for transcripts, but I differ with you on the shorter turnaround times to the agencies with no extra compensation; though, I can understand why you feel that way since you are a firm owner.  Nowadays, it seems everybody wants more for less and sometimes it's not always possible to accomplish. 

Technology has made it easier and much faster to complete a transcript and get it back to the client in record time and that's fantastic, but 7 days is a very tight schedule for a reporter who produces a lot of pages each month, and because my eyes are the final eyes on my transcripts, I have sometimes had to turn other jobs down that I normally would not have had to do had I had a standard 10-day turnaround time to make sure that the 7-day job got in on time.  So now as an independent, I'm the one losing money but that doesn't affect you as the firm owner.  And I can foresee the turnaround time dropping to even less than 7 days in the future because, again, everybody wants more for less.  I think reporters should speak out against this trend because it can and does affect the bottom line of the individual court reporter and it has a domino effect, i.e., the scopist being required to turn the job quicker without extra compensation as well.

Jannette,  I do not consider myself an agency in any respect.  I have a few of my own clients which haven't been keeping me 100% busy asof lately (not to mention one of the partners at one of my (ex) clients married a CR and she wanted to open her own agency, so guess who they're using?) so I'm filling in my time working for other agencies, one in particular, although I do work with a few across the country (and they all have 7-9 calendar day turnarounds).  So I see this issue from both sides, actually. 

My depo's getting ready to start.  Gotta go.




© 2024   Created by Kelli Combs (admin).   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service