Court reporters have three excellent motivations to hire proofreaders to read their transcripts.
Trained transcript proofreaders give court reporters their time back.
Hiring a proofreader allows court reporters to have more time in their schedule whether that’s to take more work or rest their eyes and brains or get to do something else. Court reporters make quite a bit more on a transcript than they pay a proofreader, so proofreaders aren’t breaking the bank or severely cutting into their income.
That means court reporters can make far more moving on to another transcript than spending time going over the same transcript again themselves. And court reporters are humans like us! Sometimes they want a break to spend time with family, go places, rest — do things besides being tied to their laptops all day writing, scoping (editing), and then proofreading.
Transcripts need a second pair of eyes.
By the time court reporters get to the proofreading stage, they’ve at least written their transcript if not scoped it too, and they don’t want to be reading the same document over again. Not to mention, no one should be proofreading their own writing. Even proofreaders need proofreaders, let alone someone who isn’t a proofreader!
While you can catch some of your own errors, you know what you heard/wrote and your mind fills in what you know should be on a page rather than what is actually written (called typo blindness).
While court reporters are trained in grammar, they aren’t trained to be proofreaders. It’s two different skills. (And not every court reporter is great at grammar — and that’s okay! They are extremely good at what they do as court reporters. They don’t have to be phenomenal at proofreading — that’s your job!)
Trained transcript proofreaders help court reporters do excellent work.
Court reporters don’t want to have errors in their transcripts because it cuts back on their credibility. Transcripts are official documents that need to be extremely accurate. Too many errors and it chips always at that credibility which can cost court reporters clients. Oftentimes the agencies court reporters work for will request a court reporter to work with a proofreader if they are seeing too many errors in transcripts turned in.
Court reporters take a lot of pride in their work — understandably with how important their job is and how skilled they have to be to write like they do! They take pride in the whole process and want their transcripts to be as excellent as possible, and hiring a proofreader is that final step to making sure their transcripts are ready to go.
Is there enough work for trained transcript proofreaders?
As long as there are legal issues, there will be court reporters — and as long as there are court reporters, there will be plenty of work to proofread.
Speaking of work to proofread, with many attorneys now using Zoom to conduct legal proceedings, they are able to fit more appointments in. That means lots more work for court reporters — which means lots more work for transcript proofreaders! When I was a full-time proofreader, it wasn’t unusual for me to get 20 files in a single week! There’s work out there for proofreaders…but not just any proofreader. Court reporters want to work with trained, prepared, and exceptional transcript proofreaders. When you are amazing at what you do, court reporters will want — need! — to work with you.