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Scoping FAQs
Q. What is a scopist?

A. A scopist is a professional who provides computer-aided transcription services for court reporters. The scopist receives the reporter's translated, unedited, unresearched notes on a thumb drive or via FTP or email. With the aid of specialized software and the scopist's skills of translating any undefined stenotype into English, punctuating, researching and formatting, flagging any questionable areas, the transcript is then returned to the reporter ready to be proofread.

Q. What basic skills does a scopist need to have to be successful?

A. *Basic* skills include but are not limited to:
  • Notereading (ability to read stenotype)
  • A very good command of the English language
  • Computer/technical knowledge, which includes having and knowing how to use specialized CAT software, knowing how to transfer files via email and modem, general computer knowledge
  • Transcript formatting
  • Ability to research unusual spellings and other information
  • Familiarity with legal terminology
  • Technical terminology (medical, chemical, investments, science, etc.)
  • Flexibility and willingness to work to a reporter's specifications.
Q. How easy is it for me to find work as a scopist?

A. With the right marketing formula, you'll be able to get your name out there where reporters can find you. Plus, BeST students and graduates have an opportunity to respond to work leads received from before they are released to any other scopist networks.

Q. What if I am not a self-starter and I can't sit at my computer for extended periods of time, can I do this job?

A. No. This job demands that you can budget and have control of your time, most of which is spent in front of the computer.

Q. What is a CAT system?

A. A CAT system (computer-aided transcription) is a software program that translates the reporter's stenotype strokes into English.

Q. What CAT systems are available and what do they cost?

A. There are several vendors you could consider. The costs for software range from virtually free to up to the $1500 range, some of which are discounted for BeST students and grads. The BeST scoping training course will help you contact each of the vendors and assist you in making a decision as to which system is right for you.

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