Is it time to hire a scopist?

As Oklahoma court reporters will tell you, there are many steps that go into delivering a final transcript. Whether it’s from a deposition or a digital recording of proceedings, names need to be properly spelled, expert witness credentials need to be properly noted, and grammar and punctuation need to be accurate. In order to accomplish all of these for every client, court reporters will often work with a scopist. It’s time to hire a scopist if you’re handling multiple cases, large cases, or simply want to deliver high quality products on time to your clients.

What does a scopist do?

Scopists edit transcripts created by court reporters. It’s typically the reporters who attend hearings and record via stenotype machine but it takes the detailed work of a scopist to deliver an accurate transcript. They’re akin to a traditional editor taking an author’s novel, reading it and making changes to make sure the story flows in a way that the reader understands. Scopists make sure the record is preserved accurately in conjunction with the work of the court reporter.

This includes the correct spelling of names - Is it John Smith or John Smyth? Is it John Doe or John Doe, Jr.? Is her name Dr. Angela Doe or Angela Doe, PhD? - and proper credentials, especially for expert witnesses.

What are the qualities of a scopist? 

Because a scopist works closely with a court reporter, they must be team players, lovers of all things related to words including punctuation and grammar, and detail oriented. When deadlines and client demand change at a moment’s notice, they’ve got to be ready to edit and deliver. A good court reporter will ask the right questions and set expectations with clients but there will be times when they need the focused effort of a scopist to deliver quality transcripts on time.

What’s the process of a scopist and court reporter?

For attorneys that work with court reporters, you will often only see the results of the process of a scopist and court reporter working together. That’s really how it should be. It’s kind of like knowing when you visit a bank and deposit a check. The money is in your account and you don’t know exactly how it got there, only that it’s there for you to use; there are processes that happen in the background.

A court reporter records via a stenotype machine and the notes are given to a scopist to translate from stenotype to proper English. This includes formatting, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. A scopist will at times need to research the proper spelling and, when questions arise, flag those areas of the transcript for the court reporter to review. It is the court reporter who is responsible for reading through the transcript to ensure it is accurate before sending it to their client.

With the help of scopists, court reporters are able to efficiently deliver accurate on-time transcripts to clients. If you’re in need of a court reporter, call Steno Services to schedule your next deposition.

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