Proofreading is an important element of legal transcription services since it checks and corrects errors in the transcripts. It is a major skill court reporters need, since accuracy is vital for attorneys and judges. You don’t need to think much to realize what an inaccurate transcript could do to the case the attorney is dealing with. It’s always helpful to cross check and double check. And if you don’t have the time for proofreading, get it outsourced cost-effectively.
In Australia, the Queensland government came Under Heavy Criticism in the latter part of 2014 for outsourcing its court transcription with an inefficient provider. Since transcript files were found to be incorrect, judges had to go back to the original recordings to make their decisions. This resulted in appeal decisions being delayed with judges being overstressed.
Court Reporters Need Accurate Legal Transcripts
A court reporter may not be someone who hogs the limelight like the high profile attorney, but without their services the attorney would have a tough time. Court reporters record legal meetings, particularly depositions. They create transcripts of the meeting from recordings of the session. They could also make recordings from steno machines and use some kind of transcription software for documenting events. While the court reporter must have a big eye on accuracy while creating transcripts, an oversight is a possibility. That’s where the proofreader’s skills come in handy, just to make sure everything is right.
But as we said before, court reporters could also have the transcription outsourced after recording the sessions. They wouldn’t need the services of an independent proofreader then, since experienced transcription firms employ trained and experienced proofreaders along with transcribers and editors so that the transcript is handed back accurately and on time.
The Proofreading Process
- The transcribed file is thoroughly checked for grammatical errors, inconsistencies in content, and other textual errors
- Words or phrases that transcribers have missed must be filled, since they could be critical words
- The document must also be formatted according to the specifications of the client
The proofreader is the final quality screener. The document has to be perfect after this. It isn’t an easy task, since the proofreader requires a strong eye for detail and a long attention span.
- In cases where proofreaders directly receive work from court reporters, the audio quality of the dictation may not be great
- The accent could be strange, and there could also be background noises intervening
- Some of the files could be dealing with unexciting topics, but the monotony should not affect the concentration
All these are hurdles proofreaders are expected to overcome to ensure accuracy of the transcripts.
Freelance and Full-time Proofreaders
They typically function on a freelance basis and charge based on the number of lines in a page and the number of hours they spend in completing the file that contains such pages. Many proofreaders just want to break the monotony of a 9 to 5 job, create their own schedules, work from home, and earn big. Legal transcription companies, though, could have proofreaders as full-time staff to ensure periodic training and performance appraisals though they could also hire freelancing staff.
Proofreaders may work behind the scenes, but what they do surely has a bearing on what happens in the limelight.