Some agencies I work for let me charge extra for video, some don't.  If I am already paying a scopist for full audio, why do they want even more for video?  I don't think it is right.  I am not that about "okay" being in there.

And also, almost every scopist I've used I've ever used goes too, too fast and that is why they miss so much.  Same with proofers.  They often go too fast.

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You pose an interesting question. I've been scoping a long time, always against full audio, since before video was available.  When I first encountered a video job, my reporter explained that it paid more for both of us.  Seemed to make sense. 

One of my reporters has your situation:  Some agencies pay more for video, some do not.

I understand where you're coming from.  If you want your scopist to do nothing different, treat it exactly the same as full audio nonvideo, paying the usual page rate makes sense, once you explain you want nothing different.

Some reporters do want something different.  They might automatically clean up the attorney while writing, but they need the transcript to be verbatim.  More false starts go in even if they're not written.  Butting in has to be shown exactly as it happened.  Some agencies are adamant about everything going in because the deposition transcript is going to be sync'd to the video timecodes.  If the scopist is spending more time to make it verbatim, paying a higher page rate seems reasonable.

Different strokes for different folks (and different agencies).


Thanks, Joyce.  I just paid big bucks to an experienced scopist for an expedited video depo.  She had some many plural/singular words wrong from what was said and missing little words all over I had to re-proof what she did against the audio myself.  She simply went way too fast.  I put everything in in a video when I write, or try to.  I do not put in one or two word false starts or stutters.  So I pretty much want a scopist to scope it like most regular depos I write with a few exceptions.

What a pain, Kerry.  I hope you raised the roof on her.  There's no excuse for a scopist rushing through a job, video or nonvideo.  If you have good audio and decent speakers, you deserve a quality job back.  If there were spots she wasn't sure of, she should have flagged them for you.

There are intermittent threads on this website about scopists, reporters complaining about poor work and how hard it is to find a good scopist.  I wonder if the advent of online scopist training is a factor here. 





Yes, Joyce, I do believe part of the problem is the blind leading the blind.  New scopists are being told "this" is what the job entails (and won't do anything more than), when in reality reporters are hiring scopists and getting fed up with the incompetence, poor workmanship, lazy work habits, a refusal to keep their equipment in tiptop condition, and an overall "attitude" that seems to be infiltrating the scoping profession lately.

I'm surprised that the good/professional scopists haven't gotten together to put their foot/feet down too.  After all, if a reporter(s) has enough interactions with the above scopists that I've described, it's not long before they stop hiring scopists altogether. 

It's pretty sad when it takes a reporter longer to proofread a scopist's work than just to scope it themselves and then have a proofreader take over, but unfortunately that's the quality of scopist that's being foisted upon us.



I think most scopists just don't get what "verbatim" is all about and think they are transcribing "notes" of a meeting or something.  And then the other main problem is they go way too fast and do not listen to "every" word if you're paying them for full audio.

I agree.  It's almost like they don't get it that if they turn back crappy work, that that's the last time that reporter will use them.  I guess there's always another fish in the sea, though, huh?

And I really don't think they understand that final punctuation is THEIR job, that's what we're paying them for; therefore, they should be experts in punctuation, not just guessing at it.  Same goes for research.

And don't even get me started on scopists that you pay to do a full audio listen, but they don't.  Do they think we won't notice?  What's up with that?


Who would hear us if we put our feet down?  There's no umbrella organization that we all belong to.  The closest I come to mentoring a scopist is my training time.  My trainees are told I'm a phone call away if they have any questions.  But that's about the Eclipse software; it's not about how to become a top-notch scopist.  I always stress the need for good punctuation skills and ask them what reference works they have, urging them to get LMEG if they don't have it already.  MWW is great too, but it's a tome and not as easy to follow as LMEG.  Gregg is wonderful and often useful, but it's written for authors, not the spoken word.

Your best sources for scoping talent are the reporters you know who are willing to give you names, possibly rank them too.

Other possibilities are the CAT websites.  The Eclipse website has a section in the private area where scopists, proofers, and reporters can connect.  These people usually list their credentials.  ASI discontinued the scopist directory years ago.  It was too difficult to keep current.  The "Need work/looking for help" area is what's used now.

Stenograph probably has such an area too.

Any candidate you consider should be glad to give you references.  Follow up those references.  The first job should be a small one.  It lets you and the scopist know if you're a good fit quickly.

I had the good fortune to be trained by a reporter friend.  Morson's original thin hard-cover book was my constant companion.  The next reporter I worked for had the patience of Job and furthered my education.  This was before the Internet changed our world.  It seldom happens today that reporters have the time and patience to train a scopist.

You and the scopist should have the same goal:  a quality transcript.  To that end, provide her/him with your input -- a preference sheet for punctuation and format, a word list if the transcript spellings are dubious, a good audio file sync'd to text.  Scanned, searchable exhibits if they're needed.

Lay it on the line:  I expect you to do Internet research -- yes/no.  I expect you to leave comments for me in the transcript and/or a trouble spot marker.  I expect you to create a job dictionary or add globals to the one I send you -- yes/no.  Don't take the job if you can't meet my turnaround requirement.  Call me if you have a question.

The OBGs (oldies but goodies) decrease over time.  We're not able to clone ourselves.  The OBGs I know are up to their eyeballs in work and have no room to take on additional reporters.

I don't have the answer, Judy.  The suggestions above might head off the bad ones before you waste any money on them.



I'm beginning to think an important question to ask is:  Where were you trained?  Who trained you?  We may actually find we don't like the answer, though.

I agree: references, references, references! And if they can't/won't give them to you, pass.

Another thing that will show if they're hoping for a long-term client or just a one-shot paycheck, ask them for their W-9 BEFORE they do any work for you.  If they balk, pass.

Scopists are like reporters in one very important aspect:  Both need a clientele in order to pay their bills.  Asking for that W-9 makes a lot of sense if you've landed on a bad apple in the barrel.

I have personal experience with one reporter, though, who hops from scopist to scopist, never paying any of them.  I insisted on a small job as the first one, so I wasn't out much money.  This was several years ago.  Live and learn.

Well, if I find out about any reporter doing that to a scopist from this website, they're out of here.  I won't tolerate that.  It's difficult to screen everyone here on my own.  When I find out there's an issue, I take care of it.

Yes, and you quickly banned this reporter from the site.  Hopefully no one else got burned.

Been scoping 35 plus years.  I can tell you that when you listen to audio, you WILL miss little words that you would otherwise catch.  It has nothing to do with rushing through.  I make more mistakes when using audio by far than when I don't use audio.  Every scopist I've ever spoken with says the same thing. 


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