How important is the role of a legal transcriptionist in the legal business scenario? Undoubtedly, the importance of legal transcriptionists can never be emphasized enough. The legal transcription process involves the creation of legal documents from the audio recordings of court proceedings, trials or other legal information dictated in the state and federal agencies, law firms, financial firms, and insurance companies among others. The effort a legal transcriptionist has to take to extract vital information from the recordings and prepare accurate legal documents for public prosecutors, attorneys, large corporations and others is immense.
What qualities are expected in a reliable transcriptionist? Even though formal education is not necessary to become a good transcriptionist, the following skills are a must.
- Excellent Listening Skills – It is very important for a transcriptionist to listen to the provided recordings so as to transcribe everything accurately later. Suppose a transcriptionist is transcribing appeal documents for a healthcare lawyer. If he hears $54 instead of $354 co-payment while listening to the recording and transcribes so, the document will become starkly inaccurate and may have a negative impact on the case (if that error is left unnoticed). We can thus say that listening skills are more than essential.
- Thorough Knowledge about Legal Terminologies and System – Suppose the transcriptionist is listening to the recording very carefully, but cannot understand many of the terms used. The result will be inaccurate legal documents. There are several words and terminologies specifically used in various legal specialties (for example, health care insurance terms such as community rating and pre-existing condition (health care law), copyright ownership and trademark infringement (intellectual property law) and so on). The transcriptionist should not only be aware of these terminologies, but also have the ability to use them in the right context. Knowledge about the legal proceedings and legal system is necessary to create documents as per statutory requirements.
- Excellent Keyboard Typing Skills – The transcribed legal documents should be delivered within limited time, especially in cases related to urgent matters. For example, if RAC appeals are not filed at the right time, it will cause further delay in reimbursement or revenue loss. The transcriptionist should have outstandingly fast keyboard typing speed to achieve this goal. A good transcriptionist should adhere to accuracy while maintaining high keyboard typing speed. It is required to focus on what is dictated, understand properly and then type quickly.
- Know How to Use Transcription Software – Legal transcriptionists are required to prepare a number of documents and files such as legal letters, memorandums, briefs, deposition statements and so on routinely. Most legal transcription companies are now using digital transcription software to reduce this burden. This software offers tools and functions that can make the transcriptionists listen to a digital recording with the best possible sound and transcribe the documents in minimum turnaround time with great accuracy. To make the best use of this technology, the transcriptionist should acquire the skills to use this software properly.
- Good Proofreading Skills – It is very important for legal documents to be free from spelling and grammatical mistakes and other types of errors. For example, while preparing court reports, the transcriptionist is required to provide verbatim transcription in correct legal layout. A minor spelling mistake (for instance, ‘women’ and ‘woman’) can make that report inaccurate and create a negative impact in the relevant legal case. Generally, legal transcription is required to have high accuracy level of 99%. So, a good transcriptionist should have great proofreading skills including grammar check, spell check and editing to produce accurate documents.
To sum up, if you are in search for a legal transcriptionist, better check for all these qualities or you can get support from a reliable legal transcription company that provides the service of experienced transcriptionists with foolproof quality assurance system to ensure quality and accuracy in the transcripts.