March 16, 2015

How Proofreading Transcripts Will Benefit Court Reporters

By: Colleen Jilio-Ryan | Posted in: court reporter

Court reporters can improve their reputations by making sure that transcripts are proofread before submitting them to attorneys and other entities. While some court reporters do their own proofreading, others do not have the time to hire proofreaders.

Both full-time and part-time work relating to legal transcripts can provide real income for freelance proofreaders.

Court Reporters

Here are some facts to keep in mind about pursuing a career in proofreading:

Who Is a Court Reporter?

A court reporter is someone hired by an attorney to record a deposition or other type of legal meeting. The reporter delivers a transcript of the meeting which may be from recordings or a steno machine.

Court reporters use different types of computer-aided transcription (CAT) software to help document events. In order to make sure the transcript is free of errors, the court reporter may hire a proofreader.

How to Become a Proofreader

It can actually be somewhat difficult to get a job as a proofreader since many people do not take the time to pay close enough attention to detail. The proofreader is the final line of defense for quality control and must be extremely accurate.

If you have a flexible working schedule you can approach court reporters and offer your freelance proofreading services once you have mastered the skills.

What Are the Skills Required to Become a Proofreader?

The job of proofreading is not for everyone. A person who likes to spot errors and look for inconsistencies makes a good proofreader. The job requires knowledge of advanced grammar and spelling. It also requires a strong attention span.

Most of the transcripts you will read involve topics that are not very exciting, such as worker’s compensation and court hearings. You need to devote your concentration to the material and occasionally take breaks so that you do not lose interest.

How Much Does a Proofreader Earn?

Proofreading for court reporters can lead to multiple freelance income streams. It is common for a proofreader to earn anywhere from 35 to 65 cents per double-spaced page of 25 lines.

The earnings potential can range from $35 to $65 per hour, depending on your speed reading skills and the type of transcript. Some jobs that have quick turnaround times may pay more.

There are other ways for proofreaders to increase their earnings. You can charge more if the transcript uses a lot of medical terminologies, which requires more effort to read carefully. Expedited transcripts will also bring in more money for the proofreader.

The easiest jobs involve reviewing workers’ compensation transcripts that only need quick yes and no answers. A proofreader can realistically earn $3,000 per month part-time working 20-25 hours per week. It’s also possible to earn up to $5,000 working 40 hours per week.

What are the reasons to Proofread Transcripts for Court Reporters?

  • You’re paid on a per page basis
  • A major difference in proofreading transcripts as compared to general proofreading is how you are paid. Court reporters are paid on a per page basis. Therefore, the amount you earn is directly proportional to your ability to focus more, your efficiency, and how quickly you can turn work around.

  • Proofreading can be done remotely
  • You can handle proofreading work remotely as long as you have a computer and a Wi-Fi connection.

  • Court reporters are generally repeat customers
  • If you excel in your craft, your reporters will keep coming back to you again and again. Court reporters will work with a proofreader that is consistent with their work.

What Should Be the Procedure to Bill Reporters?

It’s important to be fair when billing reporters. There are times when you should not bill the reporter for an expedited transcript, especially if it were for a quick workers’ compensation deposition.

Such a consideration will help build a solid relationship with a court reporter, who may have access to a pool of many different proofreaders to choose from. Billing your reporters can be done with an Excel spreadsheet for every transcript you read.

Each of these invoices should include the following details:

  • Date you proofread the transcript
  • A job or transcript number
  • A transcript summary or name of deponent
  • Number read transcript pages, rate charged
  • Total amount due

How Can You Improve Your Proofreading Skills?

Reading transcripts and writing corrections can usually be done in 3 different ways:

  1. You can print out a complete transcript, and read the text, using a pen for corrections. You would then scan the transcript with your corrections, and email it back to the court reporter.
  2. Another method is to proofread the text directly on your computer while typing corrections into a Word document or email.
  3. The third and preferred method involves using an iPad and the iAnnotate app. This app allows you to open PDF files directly from email. It also allows you to create your own toolbox and stamps to help speed up the process.

How to Make a Career Out of Proofreading

Proofreading legal transcripts can be a lucrative career for individuals who want to work at home, which allows you to create your own work schedule. Working as a freelance proofreader does require patience and determination.

The best way to build a career as a proofreader is to work with multiple clients and to serve them with high efficiency and reliability. You will be valuable to reporters if you’re always available to help them expedite transcripts.

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