For those that didn't get to read my article in the JCR a couple of months back, I'm going to copy and paste it in here.
Hopefully this will help some.
Editing with a Scopist
For many years now, court reporters have been utilizing the services of scopists to enable them to get transcripts out at a quicker pace, or, just don’t want to edit the job after sitting through it for several hours. I would much rather spend my time writing the job and moving on to another job and handing it over to a scopist and letting them clean it up and get it ready for production.
With the advent of internet and computers and software upgrades over the years, scopist can now take an even more active role in this process by being able to edit a transcript while the reporter is still writing in realtime. There are many ways that this is being done.
A reporter can begin writing the job and after they take a break in the proceedings, they can upload the file to a scopist, if the scopist is not actually with the reporter.
A reporter can set up their software to “break” the file at a designated time and make the file available on a network for the scopist to retrieve it remotely, if they’re not with the reporter, or, the scopist can retrieve it from the network if they are on the same network from the reporter.
A reporter can write a job in realtime and the scopist can actually be editing the same job that the reporter is writing to. There are many ways that this can be handled. If the reporter is not hooked up to any network, they can just have the scopist sitting next to them in the proceedings and edit from the same computer that the reporter is writing to.
A reporter and a scopist can use a program called GoToMyPc where the scopist can be located elsewhere in the country and can access the reporter’s computer, over the internet, and be able to edit the proceedings as if they were sitting with the reporter in the proceedings. This has many benefits because it allows the scopist to not have to travel to the proceedings and be able to edit the job at their house or office. GoToMyPc also allows the scopist to be able to check audio from the reporter’s computer. Be careful, though, and make sure that the reporter’s audio is turned down so that the scopist doesn’t turn on the sound to check something from their end and the sound is heard on the reporter’s side. The only drawback that I can see from GoToMyPc from talking with others is that the reporter isn’t really able to do any editing on the screen since the scopist has “control” of the keyboard and screen.
Many reporting programs now are able to allow the reporter to write realtime and the software will take the file and copy out the last few minutes (depending on what the reporter has set it to) and then make the file available for the scopist to retrieve. If the scopist and the reporter have set everything up correctly, sometimes the scopist is even able to not only edit the job but to listen to the audio backup to ensure an accurate transcript if they run across a trouble spot in the transcript and the reporter is not available to help with the trouble spot. The options are numerous as far as how this is done. Many reporters are now using a program called Hamachi. Hamachi is a program that creates a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between computers. It is downloaded easily off of the internet and installs very quickly. With any fast connection, you should be able to download and install Hamachi within five or 10 minutes, if not faster. Their website is www.hamachi.cc
. LogMeIn has recently purchased or acquired Hamachi, but it still works just fine. And, best of all, there is a free version that is available and that will work within the parameters of what I’ve been talking about and will talk about below.
What I’ve done in the past is be able to write a job in realtime and use what my software calls Division Interval. What this does is allows me to define a time when I want my program to extract out what I’ve written and put it into a separate file and allow a scopist to access it. I am able to choose the amount of time between extraction of the file, whether I want it to be five minutes or 30 minutes or more. Once the file has been extracted, I am able to tell the software where to put the extracted file, either on my laptop or on a network drive of my choosing. Once the file has been extracted, the scopist is then able to open that file and begin editing it and also able to pull up the audio portion off of my laptop, even though I was still writing the job in realtime.
With what I just mentioned above, I’m now able to do something similar, but with a twist to it. I’m now able to write realtime on my jobs and have my scopist be with me in the same room or office, or, be located remotely and editing my jobs over the internet. My software is set up to where I am able to write realtime on my computer, output the note file over the internet to my scopist and they are able to retran the job on their end, using a duplicate copy of my dictionary on their computer, and begin editing the job. Basically, I’m translating on two computers. Using Hamachi, as I mentioned above, my scopist not only now receives the file and it translates, but they are now able to listen to the audio back over the internet from my laptop. The trick is that we have to make sure that all of the “pathing” of the files is set up correctly to make this possible. But, once we have Hamachi set up correctly and we have the network path set correctly with the software, it has been very efficient and effective. We’ve been able to provide a transcript back to the attorneys within an hour or less in most cases from the time the proceedings were closed.
One other feature that is nice is that the scopist is able to global words from their end and those globals, whether Main, Job, or other, are sent back through the network and are added to my dictionary while I’m writing. The one thing that I don’t get the benefit of is all of their changes that they make while editing. The other drawback from this option currently is if the scopist requires the need to listen to the audio, I have to wait at the office I’m at until they are finished editing on their end. Normally, if I’ve written good and the attorneys have behaved themselves, I only have to wait for 30 minutes or less. If I’m doing this in my office, I can just leave the laptop connected to the scopist and go do other things while they clean up the file for me. Whether at a remote site or at my office, if my scopist has any questions, we can communicate over a chat window (Yahoo Messenger or the like) and I can answer any questions. I can find the area they have trouble with on my laptop and help them out.
The really nice thing about this Hamachi program is that, so far, it’s been able to allow us to hook up to each other in every office I’ve been to that has allowed me access to their internet connection. Firewalls haven’t been a problem yet.
What lies ahead? I know that in the future, reporters and scopists will be able to view the same document and be in different places within that document and either one make editing changes. This will be very beneficial and not make it necessary for the scopist to have to then send the file back to the reporter when they are done with it.
There are many things to consider before agreeing to do a job like this, but once you’ve jumped through all the loopholes and tested everything out, the day of the job should go much smoother. I know that many reporters are currently using this technology with great success with their programs, and, I hope that many others will begin to look for opportunities to use this technology in the future.