The Successful Partnering Between a Court Reporter and Scoping Services
As we all know, court reporters can have a very heavy workload, not only with depositions in the courtroom, but the work doesn’t stop there. The court reporter is responsible for taking testimony, then transcribing into a formalized, precise and accurate document. Nowadays, it is not uncommon for court reporters to subcontract out much of this transcription work to scoping services.
A scopist is the court reporters’ partner that will take the transcribed document and check for misspellings, punctuation, mistranslates and format the transcript to the reporter’s specifications. This entire procedure starts when the scopist gets an electronic version of the translated steno documentation, which may or may not have audio or other additional documentation. The role then of the scopist is to carefully correct any errors in the original document and verify that it follows the audio transcript exactly. After this process is complete, the updated document is sent back to the court reporter for the final proofreading and approval.
In addition, the very important value-add that the scoping services provide is partnering with the reporter to learn their specific needs, translates and overall working idiosyncrasies. Many times this allows for updating the reporter’s translation dictionary and suggesting new keystroke combinations for easier and faster transcription in the future.
Scoping Services – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Obviously finding and keeping a good scoping service that can build a strong business relationship with a reporter is invaluable. When a court reporter finds a scopist with these skills, it’s definitely to their advantage to continue with this strong relationship!
Inevitably, as in any other business, there are some scoping services who simply are unable to deliver the high standard of results that is demanded of them. Such an unskilled scoping service would clearly be a liability to a court reporter by not only costing the reporter money but also valuable lost time due to an additional round of corrections.
The reality is that the vast majority of scoping services do indeed have all the skills needed to complete the job successfully. With the technology required and the internet, there is no need to be restricted by geography. In fact, a good working relationship can be established with a scopist who may be living on the other side of the country. Many times you’ll find the most experienced scopists in your area are in very high demand and may not be taking on new clients but it is worth continuing the search. There are many new scopists to the profession that are talented, eager to please, and “coachable”. There are a few caveats to hiring a newly qualified scopist, for example, the court reporter would be advised to start out very gradually with a such an individual, giving them simpler transcriptions and making sure they have plenty of time to complete them. An experienced court reporter will very quickly find out if it’s worth the investment to keep the new scopists after seeing the results of their first transcription.
A reporter and scopist are much more than just two people working together. With this team, two is better than one. In other words, working together as a team there is a synergy that would otherwise be missing. The reporter can offload much of the more tedious work, and yet no less important, to their trusted scopist and there truly is a comfort in knowing the work will be done correctly and on time. And, the reporter now has extra hours in their day. In fact, the additional time that they save can be used to build on their existing court reporting business and help generate more revenue for them in the long run. Alternatively, some court reporters simply use the additional time to enable them to wind down from the high pressure workload that a typical reporter faces everyday.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports that the occupational outlook for court reporters, stenographers and transcriptionists is “excellent”. Given the interdependency between court reporters and scopists, the partnering aspect is essential for both to succeed.
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