New Voicewriter asked me to scope; I don't think I'm qualified

Hello, all, I'm new to this forum. I'm currently a Judicial Executive Assistant to an appellate court judge and will be attending school for court reporting in the fall (leaning towards steno but unsure at this point). SUPER EXCITED! I have a part-time job proofreading hard copies of transcripts and I enjoy it immensely.

A new voicewriter has asked me to 'scope' a 400-page transcript. I have many questions and reservations because I've never scoped before and I feel like it'll be the blind leading the blind since we're both new. I need more details from her, but as I understand it, I'll listen to audio and  make corrections via the computer. Obviously, this is entirely different and far more complex than my current part-time proofreading job.

1) Am I even qualified for this job? I have doubts.

2) All I have is a new laptop; she uses Eclipse and I don't have that software. We did a trial run where I was given access to her dropbox account, I downloaded the transcript, made some edits on it, then saved it back to the dropbox. She said it partly worked and she'd have to work on converting it to an ascii file.

3) If it is deemed I am qualified, shouldn't I ask for a very small transcript as a trial run? 400 pages sounds very intimidating.

I take pride in my work and want to make her look as good as possible. After all, this is a team effort and we're in this together. While I enjoy challenges, if this is above my head, I must to decline the job. 

Your thoughts are very much appreciated!

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If she is a voicewriter I am not sure how she is using Eclipse.  Do they have software for voicewriters?

Hi Janiece, I'm unsure; she told me she used Eclipse. I appreciate your response.

Eclipse has a very good voice software, from what I understand, Eclipse VOX.

I would imagine the scopist software is the same for both written and voice--haven't confirmed.

Janiece, yep, Eclipse has software for voice writers.  So does ProCAT.  So does Stenograph.  Same software, different input. 

I'm wondering why the blind is leading the blind in this case.  I'm sure you're going to be a fine reporter as well as an excellent proofreader and perhaps even scopist.  Maybe the voicewriter is your friend and wants to give you some work. Is that it?  If not, ESPECIALLY if they are new, they should be using an experienced scopist.  Yes, voicewriters can use scopists.  And indeed, it is totally possible for someone to "scope" (properly in quotes) a file, but making changes on an ascii is unduly burdensome and difficult, time-consuming and just should be a big fat NO! to anyone considering it.  I feel you are qualified to do the job of scoping eventually, but NOT now and NOT on a 400-page job, for gosh sakes.  If you really want to scope, get Eclipse software at the very least.  There's a learning curve to that.  This is a disaster waiting to happen, and I say that not because of your skills ... again, I repeat, just from reading your post, you've GOT IT! ... it's just that there's a perfect storm brewing here, and you should run!  At this point, at least.


Thanks for your replies. I ran faaaar away. That said, I offered to proofread her finished transcript and she agreed. Whew. Now that's a job I can do with confidence.

Mary Ann, she's not a friend; she got my name from others in the business (for which I am so grateful, it means I'm doing a good job). And hey thanks for the ego boost!

Wish there was a LIKE button here.  I agree with your comments, Mary Ann!

Glad you turned it down.  A new reporter needs a very experienced scopist IMHO. And you certainly don't want to get your feet wet on a 400-page job! Yikes.  Glad you are getting referrals tho, that's a plus!


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