Check, Check and Recheck: Tips for Proof Reading a Transcription
Create the perfect final product by paying close attention to the proofreading process
Accuracy is essential when it comes to court reporting. After all, the subject matter at hand is extremely important to the parties involved, and even a simple typo can change the original intention behind a word or phrase.
Court reporters are trained to transcribe phonetically – what they hear is what they write. Although it’s possible to make a mistake in either hearing or transcribing, this style of listening and writing is beneficial in the proofreading stage, when court reporters can call upon their understanding of the subject matter – and the context gleaned from being present and aware throughout the deposition – to create an accurate reflection of the record.
While being detail-oriented is a benefit to any job, it’s an integral ingredient in the recipe for success when it comes to being a court reporter. Keen attention to detail can help you avoid mistakes in the courtroom, and spot errors more efficiently during the proofreading process.
A second look
Proofreading involves not only checking for typographical inaccuracies but also misunderstandings caused by words that sound similar to one another, or homophones which are words that sound the same but have different meanings. It’s easy for even the most experienced transcriptionist to mix such words up when typing a phonetical representation on the spot, but careful proofreading with consideration for context should catch those kinds of mistakes before the final draft.
Punctuation is also an essential component since a misplaced comma can alter the meaning of an entire sentence. People generally don’t speak in English-teacher approved language, free of misplaced modifiers and incomplete sentences, so part of a court reporter’s job is to punctuate what was said in a way that produces an accurate reflection of what the speaker meant.
Keep the following proofreading tips in mind during the editing process for the best results.
Take your time
The editing process is more than a quick skim of words on a page. Read slowly and methodically in an area free of distractions. Remember that a lot of errors will look right at first glance – that’s why they were made in the first place. Read each sentence deliberately.
Reading out loud is another great way to catch mistakes; your ears may catch what your eyes have missed.
Double check names
Spell check is an invaluable tool, but it can and will steer you wrong, especially when it comes to names. Always verify the spellings of streets, towns, buildings, and company names through a trusted source.
Take a minute to double check the names of involved people, as well. Often exhibits used in the deposition will list correct name spellings, or you can ask a legal assistant to confirm through documents in their files.
Try a new perspective
Sometimes just changing the way you look at something can affect how you see it. If you read your draft on a monitor the first time, print it out and take another look. Even changing the font, text size, or converting the document to ASCII or .pdf format can give you a fresh take on it.
Proofreading isn’t glamorous work, and when you’re under pressure from an impending deadline, seems like an easy stage for cutting corners. The reality is that proofreading is the most important part of a court reporter’s job. Your professional reputation hinges on your ability to produce an accurate final transcript, so take pride in the product you are creating by taking the time and effort necessary to proofread appropriately.
Boss Certified Realtime Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner. For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!