Beth's Proofing/Scoping Page

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Welcome to my site. My name is Beth, and I'm a proofreader and scopist for court reporters - a job that I thoroughly enjoy. (Please note: I do not scope and then proofread the same job. I do either one or the other, but never both. The job needs two separate sets of eyes on it for it to be created as clean as it can be.)

I decided to create this site so that you - the searcher - can learn a little more about my profession.

I've been working with and for court reporters for over 30 years now. I started out as a typist working for my dad (who is a fantastic court reporter) back in the days when court reporters still dictated all of their jobs and the typist had to type them out. There were/are a lot of good typists out there who also were "note readers," but I never learned at that time to be quite so proficient reading notes of court reporters to eliminate the middle process of dictation.

With the advent of the computer age, court reporting became much simpler for producing transcripts. Their machines became computerized and sophisticated programs were written that could take those strange combinations of letters and "translate" them into English - hopefully making the transcript read as close to the actual testimony as possible.

Once I learned how to "read" the steno from the translation into English, I was off and running into the computer age myself. I began working for a court reporting firm in Wichita, Kansas, as a "scopist," a person who takes the raw transcript before it's been read through the first time and trying to make sense of it - putting in the little words that all reporters are likely to drop from time to time (like "the," "it," and "a") when the going gets fast, adding punctuation, and checking for spellings. A good scopist/proofreader must have an excellent command of spelling and punctuation.

Although I used to have PremierPower and CaseCatalyst 3 keys, I now only use CaseCat4 and above. I no longer have a computer old enough (or actually slow enough) to be able to use the older editing systems. If you're still using them, I highly suggest that you switch to the newest version of CaseCase. You'll never regret it!!! {smile} Although I do have RTF capabilities, I no longer do proofreading for reporters on other systems because it is just not cost efficient for me to do so. If you're on the system that I am on, you just send me the English (SGNGL) file so I can put the corrections directly into the job (with scan marks) so all you have to do is scan to them to make the change rather than having to use an errata sheet. Much quicker for me - and much more efficient for you. But please be assured that I read each job very carefully.

PLEASE NOTE: I am adding the next few paragraphs because I have gotten so many requests about proofreading for this that I am now adding the following to my page. The portion about audio does not apply to jobs that I am scoping, as I am a scopist AND a proofreader (as I mentioned in the first line up above. [smile] And I do not do both on the same job.):

I do NOT accept ASCII files. I do NOT proofread from hard copy. I do NOT listen to audio to proofread (this does not apply to scoping). I do NOT use Morson's as a guide.

Now for a short explanation for each of those "do nots."

ASCII: As stated above, I only work for reporters who are on the same system as I am; therefore, there is no need for ASCII since you will be sending me the SGNGL file.

Hard Copy: My proofreading is efficient enough that I do not have to print it out. I read much more carefully from the screen than I do from hard copy; although I realize that many proofreaders do not. I am, however, one of the exceptions to that "rule."

Audio: The job that is to be proofread, once it reaches my computer, should have already been scoped with audio, if that's what the reporter uses, and it should be in as final a form as it's going to get and all it needs now is ferreting out the odd misspelled word or punctuation that might have been missed along the way. Using audio is the scopist's job, not the proofreader's. If I have to use audio, the cost goes way up because it takes too long. (Please note: I am also a scopist, so this paragraph does not apply if I am scoping the job rather than proofreading.)

Morson's: I, as of this writing (2012), am 58 years old and I went to school when they taught us all the grammar rules and I have retained those all these years. That's why I'm in the business I'm in. I do not need a book to tell me where to put a comma or a semicolon. I'm an old dog with many tricks in my book and I don't need something to try to teach me something that more than likely I already know.

I'm meticulous about my work, because my work is how I make my living. My work stands for itself, and I stand behind what I do.

I have specialized rates for every occasion, it would seem. My normal turnaround for proofreading and/or scoping is generally 4 to 5 days - but the return is usually quicker. I also am available for expedited (faster than normal turnaround) jobs, at a slightly higher rate. I also do daily copy & immediate turnaround jobs (24-hour and also same-day service - you send, I return). If you would be interested in learning more about my highly competitive rates, please contact me at the link below.

As I am a Seventh-day Adventist, the one period of the week I absolutely do not work is sundown Fridays through sundown Saturdays. That is my family and church time, and I will not make exceptions on this one point. But I like to let people know up front so there are no surprises.

I bill out on the 1st and 15th month (or the Friday before if they fall on the weekend). I request payment within that billing period, but I understand the workings of court reporters very well and know that sometimes that's just not possible. But you need to let me know if there is going to be a problem in getting the bill paid within that timeframe. I do NOT work on the basis of your accounts receivable (waiting until you get paid for the job that I have just finished for you). I know many firms pay reporters in this fashion. They started out that way when the firm began because they did not have enough income generated to be able to pay on accounts payable. But you must think of me as you would any of your utility bills, a necessary evil (grin) that must be paid each month. This has been my major source of income for more years than I like to count... {smile}. Remember that I get paid considerably less than you do for the work that I perform for you and that I have to work for multiple reporters to make enough for our family to survive (smile). However, I'm not an ogre about it if there is a shortfall on a limited basis (meaning not every other month). All I ask is that you inform me if there is (or going to be) a problem with making payment BEFORE the next billing period so we can work something out ahead of time. I have, in times past, had to turn down work for a reporter until they pay my bill before I will take something more from them.

Well, there you have it, my information in a nutshell. If you are a reporter and would like to talk further, just e-mail me. I am online virtually all day, so I check my e-mail continually.

For those looking for info about getting into the scoping profession,
PLEASE do a Google search for scopist schools.

They can help you much better than I can, and are in the business of answering your questions. There are many of them online, and they have a full range of prices and abilities that they teach. There are none that I would recommend personally because I know nothing about them personally, so please do not ask me to do so. I learned on my own, immersing myself in the profession many years ago before scoping schools were even considered and well before the advent of the Internet and its far-reaching capabilities of keeping people in touch around the world. I do not share my pricing with any except serious requests from reporters seeking my services. Suffice it to say, I make a fair living, I'm in the mid range of what scopists/proofreaders charge and I am flexible when and where it counts.

Thanks for visiting!!!

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I also invite you to check out our family home page: Peaceful River

If we should begin working together,
I have a Dropbox account that I can set up
with a private box that only YOU will be able to access.
Just let me know and we'll get it started!

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