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Are your transcripts perfect when you give them to the reporter? Do you credit her back for anything she has to "fix" because you missed it? What is your policy on that issue? I'm just curious? Do you give the reporter a break on the page rate when you don't give the transcript back to her when she asked for it? How do you handle those situations?
I am not a scopist; but if I were, I'd try to consider a balance. If the reporter has beautiful work and then in comes a nightmare, the usual smooth sailing is taken into consideration when it comes time to invoice. If the reporter always turns in slop and in comes a beaut, probably the same rate applies to the beaut as for the slop because, chances are, the usual pay could use a badly needed boost to cover all the usual crap waded through. If I were a nickle-and-dime scopist, I wouldn't balk at a court reporter nickle-and-diming me right back (may not like it, but gotta respect it--works both ways).
I don't know how determined--I'll be interested in reading other replies.
I agree with Amanda. The second any scopist is thinking that this is getting into transcription therefore higher rates, scopists have the responsibility of informing the reporter and giving the reporter the option of either letting the scopist finish or taking the job back from the scopist. And if a scopist doesn't give the reporter that opportunity, the scopist really can't in good conscience bill higher than the agree-upon rate. Well, you could, but you'll probably be put on that darned Do Not Use list and will never hear from the reporter again.
What I would do if you actually are typing more than you think you should, I'd tell the reporter before you get too far into the job that you're going to have to charge a higher rate because of all the typing. Leave it up to the reporter if she wants you to continue or she/he can get another scopist to do it if that's the issue.
For me personally, I tell my scopist I'll pay them an extra fee when I know I couldn't keep up with a witness or if the attorney and witness are arguing and cutting each other off all day, which happens, I pay extra for her having to fill that in. No reporter can get that nonsense.
Janiece and Amanda are right; I edit my jobs all day and do rough ASCIIs for the attorneys on 85% of my jobs so there is not even an untranslated word in most of my transcripts. Now, I don't expect a discount when she's practically proofing the job for me. You may want to keep that in mind. It's a give and take; some jobs are easy and some are no so easy.
What a depressing post. So there are reporters out there who are, what, just sitting there napping during testimony? How else can there be these huge drops??
I think if I were a scopist, I'd charge double on the pages where I had to type in stuff; and if that occasion occurred often enough (which would be a standard agreed to beforehand), I would charge some type of transcribing fee on top of the page rate.
My rate/reference sheet specifies how growth pages are handled. 5% growth is normal: paragraphing, reformatting in places, putting in missing parentheticals, a few drops.
I make sure before I take the first job that there is agreement to the terms of the rate/reference sheet.
If the transcript starts out 100 pages and grows to 105 pages, that's scoping and normal growth.
If the transcript starts out 100 pages and grows to 110 pages, 5 pages are normal growth, 5 pages are charged at the transcribing rate (double the scoping page rate).
It makes sense to distinguish between scoping and transcribing. Your extra time is adding to the reporter's billable pages. The reporter gets to charge for pages created by you. In turn, the reporter is paying you the transcribing rate for growth pages beyond 5%. I'd say that's a good deal for the reporter.
There are those days when attorneys and witnesses race through and there's no way the best writer can keep up with them. That reporter will be grateful for your careful scoping and fully understand your need to charge a transcribing rate for growth beyond normal.
This subject comes up from time to time. Believe me, scopists would prefer to have good writers and stay within the 5%. I've had transcripts with lots of growth. The double rate did not compensate me for the time I spent making the transcript verbatim.
I have great writers these days. I seldom need to charge extra. If I took on a new reporter and the work consistently grew beyond 5%, I'd probably be too busy to take more work from him/her.