FAQ: I’m already a general proofreader. Do I need more training to be a transcript proofreader?

FAQs, Proofreading

Are you already a general proofreader working with content like books, websites, emails, and social media posts? If so, you know how satisfying it is to fix grammar errors and typos and work with clients to make their work look amazing. We grammar experts put the pro in proofing!

Since you’re a general proofreader and have experience proofreading, do you need extra training to be a transcript proofreader?

The answer is yes, you absolutely do! Here’s why:

Transcript proofreading is proofreading the verbatim spoken word. 

Transcript proofreading is the most advanced type of proofreading because you are working with the verbatim spoken word and you can’t change the testimony of the speakers. That means you’re proofreading how people speak, imperfections and all.

If you think about how you talk, it’s rare you have a conversation where everything you say flows seamlessly with no change in thoughts, all the right words, and now oddly worded sentences. Put yourself in a stressful situation being interviewed by an attorney, and there’s no telling how grammatically imperfect or awkward some sentences will come out!

So instead of making everything grammatically perfect, transcript proofreaders focus on errors like typos, dropped or incorrect words, inconsistencies, and following their clients’ preferences.  

This doesn’t mean that grammar is neglected entirely – far from it! You still need to know when, where, and how to insert punctuation for maximum readability. It’s a matter of knowing how with the spoken word rather than with a well-edited book or blog post.

Transcripts have lawyers talk in them. 

Attorneys can be infamous for asking very long, convoluted questions. Their questions, sidebars, and opening/closing remarks can be hard to follow, not to mention the legal terms they’ll use. Part of transcript proofreading training includes getting familiar with legalese. Just like it takes practice getting used to proofreading the spoken word, it also takes practice understanding how lawyers talk.

The court reporter’s preferences come first. 

Each court reporter has their own guidelines that they work with to make their transcripts look a certain way every time. Because the goal is accuracy and readability, court reporters often have their own specific reference books they use – and even outside of reference manuals, they have their own unique preferences that may bend (or break) the rules in grammar manuals! Learning to work with them according to their preferences is another aspect of transcript proofreading that requires practice and know-how before you get started working with court reporters.

Want to learn more about transcript proofreading and see if it’s a good fit for you? Tap here to watch my free workshop!

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Meet Elizabeth

Elizabeth Wiegner is a work-from-home proofreader and business coach who teaches other readers and typo fixers how to build a life of freedom as a proofreader. Her energy, love, and personalized support are second to none in the proofreading world.