I'm wondering if most reporters are expecting what I'm expecting from a scopist. I'd be curious to hear both reporters' and scopists' opinions, of course.

Do you expect your scopist to:

Look up on the Internet spellings of any proper noun, i.e., company names, cities, doctors, products?

Fix wrong punctuation at the end of a sentence? Example:
"You were there what dates."

Follow your preferences as best they can? Examples:
Paragraph frequently
Put "BY" lines after any interruption in Q&A

When it's a video, go over the videotape word for word and be sure every word is in there?

Follow basic punctuation rules? And I know this is an area of much controversy and disagreement, but there are several basic punctuation rules that both Morson's and the rest of the world uses (Chicago Manual of Style and others). I'm very curious what punctuation most people can agree on.

How about these:

Comma between two independent clauses connected by a coordinating conjunction. Example: "He was happy, but he didn't like it." "She went up the stairs, and she fell down on her crown."

Break up run-on or choppy sentences - at least in SOME way. Example:
Q Do you recall during the time, I think you told me you worked there for about a year, during the time you worked at Rain Bird, was there any type of safety training that went about there?

Let me know what you think. Are there basics we all expect?

Views: 787

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I know a lot of people have probably been screaming through their computer screens the past few days after reading the latest posts to this thread. I can't take it any longer, so I'm going to be the bad guy, I guess, to point out that any scopist who feels the need to post something indicating how good they are and that a reporter should give them "a try" really needs to at least take the time to proof their post. Good grief! I'm appalled at some of these posts. There are misspellings galore. There is so much misused or missing punctuation, it's unreal. For crying out loud, when you post here, it even underlines in red any misspellings! It can't be that hard to go back through four and a half lines to proofread, especially if you're soliciting business and trying to convince reporters to trust you with their livelihood.

If you're going to be a scopist, you've got to know how to spell and punctuate properly. It's that simple. You've got to know that words like "Google" are always capped. If you can't go back through this last post and find at least six errors, you need to get more training in spelling and punctuation before hanging out your shingle as a scopist or proofreader. This is precisely what started this whole thread to begin with: A reporter frustrated with the shoddy work and sheer lack of knowledge that a lot of so-called scopists are putting out now. So many of these posts speak of "quality" work, but the posts are full of errors. You have to assume the work they produce will also feature those same errors. So could the problem be that those with limited knowledge of spelling and punctuation don't even know their knowledge is limited? I see this as a serious flaw in training. Perhaps they have no training at all. Who knows. I've been contacted by more than a few prospective scopists who want to know if they really need training at all because they've been told by another "scopist" or reporter that they don't need any training. You just listen to the audio and fill in what's missing. Right. If only that were all there were to this job.

I don't mean to pick solely on the last poster, but the pressure has been building over the past few days of posts such that I could no longer sit silently. I constantly have to defend my rates to reporters who have tried other so-called scopists. They are hesitant to try again because it seems like a losing battle to them. About 90% of the time I'm speaking to a prospective client, they iterate to me the same story of trying several scopists in a short amount of time, all of which were a huge disappointment. Some reporters have sworn off using a scopist at all because of this. We're all losing clients because there are so many unqualified people marketing themselves as scopists. I, for one, am sick of it. I feel like Simon telling an American Idol contestant they suck at singing, and I'm sure I'll have my haters because of this post, but so be it. In this post, I've spoken for a lot of people who have been sitting on their hands for a while now. If you can't spell and don't know how to punctuate, please get into a different field that doesn't require those attributes. You new scopists may be eager to work, but you'd better be more eager to learn all you need to know in order to succeed first, or you'll have paid a lot of money for software that is useless because eventually you'll run out of reporters willing to work with you. Word does get around about those who are unqualified to be in this field.

There are many players in a court case. Every player in the case depends on the transcript(s) to try to win their case. Transcripts are very important legal documents. Sometimes people's lives and freedom depend on them. In that same vein, the quality of a scopist's work is very important because you are trusted by the reporter to polish a document they sell in order to be paid. No one wins when a scopist's work is subpar. I think it's time people started taking the work a lot more seriously.

I wish this nauseating thread would just be closed to further comment because it seems to be one scopist after another posting how great they are when, in reality, they're doing nothing but embarrassing themselves and harming any reputation they may have.
Wow, I really loved your post. I wish more scopists and more reporters had your attitude. It's not just a job. It is an important part of the legal profession. My husband is a lawyer, and I do know what a transcript can do or not do for him. Thanks. That was great!! I may actually think about trying out a scopist now.
Hi, Peggy. Glancing through the long post you responded to, I see there's been some tension building there. So, commenting on the actual topic, I have to wholeheartedly agree with the suggestion that a scopist should do the research to find AND CHECK spellings. We do pay our scopists a lot (hopefully, every cent they're worth!), so for me, I'm not looking to do a lot of research when I get the transcript back. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't read the transcript again once I get it back. I check the flagged areas, and that's it ...

... which I guess brings up another comment. I think nowadays, more and more reporters are using "scopists" when the actual work is a hybrid between scoping (being able to read steno) and proofreading (producing a final transcript). When I first started on computer-assisted translation, a CAT system, oh, so many years ago (1990, StenoCAT, now Eclipse), I understood that a scopist's job was to go through the reporter's raw translated file, make dictionary entries (that the reporter would ultimately review and choose whether to put into their main dict), resolve conflicts, and add obvious punctuation. Then the reporter would read the entire file from beginning to end. THEN the work would perhaps go to a proofreader as the last set of eyes before the final went out. I guess I'm turned around, because I'd never dream of sending anything but my best work to a scopist! Maybe it's a control thing, but I can't imagine letting someone else make decisions on what something should be!

Peggy, you mentioned you might try out a scopist. And there was mention upwards in the thread about scopists who claim to be good but are severely lacking in the end product. Indeed! Let the reporter beware! But if you're just venturing into using a scopists, I'd just suggest that you be very clear about what you're expecting the scopist to do. You might start out with baby steps, reading everything word for word when you get it back. But if you develop a good, solid relationship with an excellent scopist early on, you'll get to know and appreciate each other, and trust me ... eventually, they'll save your butt, for which you'll be eternally grateful!

I don't use a scopist, so I'm probably not the best person to comment. I will anyway. LOl. I wouldn't use a scopist that didn't have good punctuation skills. I don't think that's being lazy or making a mistake. (Except in that missing question mark example) I think you have them, or you need to spend a bit of time learning them. Correcting the punctuation that is wrong or missing is part of the scopist's job.

Now, someone advertising themselves as scoping to the audio word-for-word, they absolutely should be returning it to you word-for-word. If they're being paid for spot checking, I wouldn't expect it to be word-for-word unless there was an obvious drop.

I wouldn't expect them to spend an hour researching some obscure term or doctor's name. I would expect them to put a note in that they couldn't find it. I would expect them to do research, just not to the level we do it. My proofreader does a lot of research, so I would absolutely expect a scopist to do it. They're making a lot more money than a proofer.
Yes, that's what I would tell my scopists -- "Google the name and if it comes up right away, then great --- don't spend too much time searching" I say that because it takes too much time and it's just easier for me to email the paralegal for the spelling and get the response back right away

Just my .02, of course, but for 1.25/pp, they darn well better look everything up! I say 1.25/pp because that's what I've seen quoted most recently (a few times SMAFT). My gosh, that's 1/3 of some reporter's page rates. That's what they're being paid for, to turn our transcripts into as near a perfect product as possible. And if they can't do it because the tript is so bad to begin with, well, that's not what I'm talking about (those reporters should be scoping their own work so that they'll have an incentive to clean up their act). I'm talking about a quality reporter that's turning a pretty good transcript into the scopist to begin with.

I think there's two mindsets, UFL. The scopist will scope it and it's acceptable to have so many errors b/c they're not expected to be perfect. Then there's the proofreader who expects fewer than how many errors per 100 pages otherwise they threaten to hike up the page rate? Somehow I think the scopist should be producing a product that a seasoned proofreader will find few errors in.

I've given some pretty nice looking transcripts to scopists to scope, only to get them back in worse shape than before I gave it to them.

Yes, I'm ranting. Sorry.

I am attaching some feedback I've given two recent scopists so people can see the types of errors I'm getting back. This is the normal type of work I'm seeing from scopists. And that's why I keep trying new people, hoping I find a diamond in the rough.

Looking for opinions, please. Thanks.
Oh, Marla, you took up so much of your time to show them their incompetence. That was very good of you, indeed. I'm sure it was not meant to ridicule them either, just to show them they did not do a good job. I mean, they are supposed to be trained professionals, yes? But, I gotta ask, how was it taken? Any time I bring errors to anyone's attention, they fight back... and it's usually ugly.

I've learned just to pay and move on.

"Pay and move on" has been my motto for the last few years that I've been searching. I have wasted soooo much money on substandard work and sooo much time re-editing what should've been done right the first time by my scopist.

I think the "pay and move on" theory is doing us all a disservice, now that I think about it. These scopists keep finding new victims -- I mean reporters ;). And the cycle repeats: pay and move on.
hey, marla

so i've used my same girls for years and this subject is a tough one for me as well. i have found that if you don't point out the errors they just keep happening. yes they should look everything up and yes they should make the transcript in its most final form... at 1.00 to 1.50 per page it should be as perfect as it can be...index page filled in and all. i have started to pay less of the rate if the job has a ton of corrections. i could go on forever but then i'll get all mad!! :)

renee pacheco
Hi Marla,

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. It's made a lot of things more clear for me. Believe it or not, or maybe you do, but some CR's just don't tell me when I'm not doing things the way they like them. And all of a sudden, they're gone...never heard from again.

And, I have to admit, sometimes I just plain, ol get confused and/or just forget and think I'm doing the right thing when I'm not. I think that's why the English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn. And if I stopped and asked or looked up everything I questioned, I'm not sure when I'd get the depo done. I guess some people just have a knack for that sort of thing. I guess I don't. But I sure do want to learn and make things as perfect as possible. Your post really helps. Thanks! Dianne
Oh, I see I'm not the only one. I think a scopist should do what I do when I scope. I have never found a scopist that I felt like I was getting my money's worth. I also think they shouldn't charge extra for working weekends. I certainly don't get anything extra for spending my weekends getting transcripts out. I'm still looking, but I have lost a lot of hope...On the up side, I have phenomenal proofreaders!


Latest Activity

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

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service