Court Reporter Tips for Managing Scopists and Proofreaders

Written by Lauren N. Lawrence, RPR

March 9, 2021

So you’ve built your dream team. You found a scopist and proofreader ready to help you get more done and grow your transcript business

Now it’s time to switch gears from hiring to managing so that you can build winning partnerships with your transcript teammates.  Even the best scopists and proofreaders need direction and support. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to set expectations, build a transcript management system, and keep your teammates happy and motivated. 

 

Setting Expectations

Building a winning partnership starts on Day 1.  Your first task is to set clear expectations for your scopist and proofreader in three key areas:

 

Transcript Preferences

It’s not enough to ask for a clean transcript.  Every court reporter has different preferences when it comes to grammar, punctuation, and formatting. 

Make sure to provide your scopist and proofreader with a preference sheet that includes:

  • Preferred English style guide
  • Personal grammar preferences 
  • Common parentheticals
  • Quotation style

If the scoping or proofing work is not up to your standard, first review the expectations you’ve set.  You might think your teammates are performing poorly, when in reality, your preferences aren’t clear. 

 

Rates

Having the “money talk” can be a little awkward, but it’s so important for a strong working relationship. 

Typically, we see different rates for: 

  • Regular Turnaround (4-5 Business Days)
  • Expedited (Less than 72 Hours)
  • Rush (Less than 48 Hours)
  • Daily (Same Business Day)

Most scopists and proofreaders have a rate sheet prepared that may include more than a regular turnaround rate and expedited rate.  

Some scopists will charge a little extra for technical jobs that require a lot of research or video jobs that require several “extra listens” in rough patches to ensure that extra level of verbatim.

Some scopists charge a “growth fee” when they are having to fill in a lot of drops which result in a large number of additional pages.  In that case, their work becomes more like transcription, rather than scoping, and they could (and should) be compensated accordingly.   

If you don’t want any surprises on your invoice, be sure to ask questions and clarify any sort of upcharge or extra fees that a scopist or proofreader might tack onto the more standard rates.  

You’ll be glad you did! 

 

Deadlines

Last but not least, be open and upfront about your expected turnaround times. 

Missing a transcript deadline can damage a client relationship — sometimes permanently.  Your teammates should value deadlines just as much as you do.

It’s equally important to discuss a game plan for when a transcript job falls behind. Make your scopist and proofreader comfortable with communicating early and often when roadblocks arise. 

The faster you know about an issue, the sooner you can help resolve it. 

 

Build a Transcript Management System

Once you set clear expectations, it’s time to set your team up for success.  You do this by building a transcript management system

Your transcript management system is the process through which transcripts are completed and delivered on time. It also includes the tools you use to get the job done. 

Every court reporter has a system of some sort, but it might not be formalized — especially if you usually work by yourself. 

When you add teammates to the mix, it’s important to have your system documented. 

Here are the typical steps of a transcript management system (after you complete the deposition, of course). I also list a few of the tools you can use to accomplish each task:

1. Check availability of scopist and proofreader (Tools: Text, email, Facebook Messenger, Stenovate)

2. Share job details — names, due date, spellings, etc. (Tools: Email, Stenovate)

3. Negotiate teammate rates (Tools: Text, email, Facebook Messenger, Stenovate)

4. Transfer files (Tools: Dropbox, ShareFile, Google Drive, Stenovate)

5. Track progress (Tools: Stenovate)

6. Provide timely responses when teammates have questions (Tools: Text, email, Facebook Messenger, Stenovate) 

7. Final review (Tools: Email, Stenovate)

8. Deliver to client (Tools: Email, agency reporter portal

9. Receive and pay invoices (Tools: Quickbooks, Stenovate coming soon)

10. As needed: Find, vet, and hire new teammates (Tools: Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Agency job board, Stenovate)

There are a million different ways to build a system, but only Stenovate helps you manage a transcript from start to finish — all in one tool. 

 

Develop Your Leadership Skills

When you hire a scopist and proofreader, you’re no longer just a court reporter. You’re a leader! And to get the most out of your teammates, you want to be the best leader you can be. 

Here are a few tips to keep your teammates motivated, happy, and successful:

 

1. Prioritize Communication

Always keep your scopists and proofreaders in the loop about updated preferences and changing deadlines. 

If you find yourself in a crisis — such as a surprise daily or an unhappy client — communication becomes even more important. Always err on the side of overcommunication during stressful times.

 

2. Provide Constructive Feedback

No teammate is going to get it right 100% of the time, especially if they are new. Take the time to provide constructive feedback. 

The best method is to be courteous, but honest. Tell your teammates what they do well and where they need to improve. And always be sure they are clear about the expectations. 

 

3. Understand What Motivates Each Teammate

Everyone is motivated by different things. For some, it’s money and independence. For others, it’s the feeling of contributing to a team.

Get to know your scopists and proofreaders — not just what they do on the weekends, but what really makes them tick. You can use this information to motivate and encourage them in their unique “language.”

There’s a new golden rule: Don’t do unto others as you would want, but what they would want. 

4. Maintain Professionalism

To be a great boss, you need to do what you say you’re going to do. That includes paying on time, sticking to your own preference sheet, and honoring agreements. 

It’s also important to keep emotions out of the equation. Keep things calm and professional when working with your teammates. 

For example, if your proofreader makes a critical and obvious error, take a few minutes to regain your composure before speaking to them. 

5. Treat Your Team with Respect

In today’s digital world, you may never meet your scopist and proofreader in person. It’s easy to forget that on the other side of that screen, there’s a person with a life outside of work! 

When you find great teammates, treat them with the respect they deserve. Remember that life sometimes gets in the way. If you keep a “people first” mindset, you will never run out of great teammates. 

6. Share Your Success

Finally, as your transcript business grows, share that success with your scopist and proofreader. When they help you deliver a flawless expedite, reward them with a portion of the extra pay you received. 

Also consider raising their rates incrementally over time. At the very least, raise rates to align with yearly inflation. This keeps your best teammates loyal and happy. 

 

Delegate to Dominate

Once you experience the power of delegation, you will never go back. Building a transcript team will transform your transcript business and career. 

Working with scopists and proofreaders can dramatically increase your income, but it’s crucial to find the right teammates. And once you find those people, be sure to set expectations, build a transcript management system, and develop into the best leader you can be. 

Every court reporter has a #TranscriptBoss within them. Use the strategies in this series to bring out your best. It’s time to dominate!

 

Get 50% off your first 3 months of Stenovate. Just use the code DELEGATE50 when you sign up.

No contract. No cancellation fees. First month FREE!

 

More Pages. Less Hassle.

Stenovate simplifies transcript management to help busy reporters, scopists, and proofreaders to produce more pages with less hassle.

All-In-One Transcript Management & Collaboration Platform

Designed for Individuals or Transcript Teams

Centralize Job Information

Streamline Workflow

Reduce Wasted Time

Increase Productivity

More Pages. Less Hassle.

Stenovate simplifies transcript management to help busy reporters, scopists, and proofreaders to produce more pages with less hassle.

All-In-One Transcript Management Collaboration Platform

Share Files with Ease

Track Progress from Start to Finish

Built for Individuals or Transcript Teams

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