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How to Become a Court Transcript Proofreader
Court reporters are busy people, and more often than not, they make mistakes, sometimes huge, sometimes trivial. These mistakes can cost their career dearly, so they make sure to have an extra pair of eyes to go over their transcripts to look for errors that they’ve probably overlooked. The person who examines and corrects such transcripts is called court transcript proofreader.
And did you know that this job does not only pay well but is also flexible and can be done from home? You can do this job on your own hours, set your own rates and earn a good living from the comforts of your home or everywhere?
Yes, if you take court transcription proofreading jobs seriously, you can pretty much earn a full-time income from it, while working part-time hours. If you have an eagle eye for detail and can spot text errors down to the tiniest detail, then working as a transcript proofreader is most likely a fantastic work-at-home job for you.
What Does a Court Transcript Proofreader Do?
Court transcription proofreading is a specialized field of transcription, dealing with transcript proofreading of legal documents. In the legal setting, an attorney hires a stenographer to rapidly take down notes in verbatim.
The document may contain affidavits, statements and depositions among other things. Now, the stenographer’s shorthand writer is then converted into a readable text by a scopist or a court reporter.
The court reporter’s text may contain typos and errors that need to be corrected. The reporter may proofread the document himself, but sometimes they’re too swamped with work that they can no longer spot and administer corrections when needed. The reporter then hires a court proofreader to ensure that the text is accurate and error-free before they’re sent back to the lawyers.
Editing vs. Court Transcript Proofreading
Proofreading is often confused with editing, but there are distinct differences between the two.
Proofreading is the process of reviewing the final draft of a piece of writing to ensure consistency and accuracy in spelling, grammar, formatting and punctuation.
On the other hand, editing may involve changing a written text at a structural level. Editors may change the sequence or order of thoughts or improve the sentences without changing their intended meaning.
Now, court transcript proofreading deals with correcting court transcripts and it’s a more specialized field. Proofreaders only correct errors in these transcripts and they do not edit, change or enhance these legal documents.
Transcription vs. Court Transcript Proofreading
There are also distinct differences between transcription and court transcript proofreading.
Transcribers listen to audio and type out what they hear. And as mentioned, court transcript proofreaders cleans up transcriptions by court reporters.
While there’s a huge difference between these jobs, if you are good at transcription because you have great language skills, then you might also be good at court transcript proofreading.
If you are more interested in typing out audio files, I highly recommend checking out this free mini-course on General Transcription here to help you make money as a transcriber.
How to Become a Court Proofreader: Getting Started
What does it take to become a court transcript proofreader? Can you take a transcript proofreading training? What skills do you need? Does the job require any special equipment?
If all of these seem mind-boggling for you, I’ve broken down the answers down below.
Strong knowledge of spelling and grammar and MORE
Every court reporter proofreader knows how important it is to have great attention to detail because even an overlooked punctuation can change the sense of a statement.
Take a look at these two statements below:
- She’s crazy in love with him.
- She’s crazy! In love with him?
As you can see, punctuation can drastically set the meaning of a sentence.
That being said, it’s not enough that you just skim through the transcript and make corrections, because court transcript proofreading can be more than just correcting spelling and grammar. You must also make sure that while correcting flaws, the testimonials remain accurate.
Because transcripts are verbatim to what is said in a legal proceeding, proofreading transcripts is much more complicated and technical compared to general proofreading.
However, with more practice, anyone can learn the ropes and succeed in the court transcript proofreader business. In fact, you can learn the skills in as fast as a few days if you are serious about learning how to become a court transcript proofreader.
Computer and internet connection
Many court transcript proofreaders do use an iPad in lieu of a computer so that they can take their work anywhere. Additionally, there are apps you can download so you can proofread more efficiently. You’ll also need an internet connection to market your services, receive, download and deliver files.
Court transcript proofreader training
This is not a must, but it helps a whole lot in bringing you farther in your career. This is most especially true if you’re just starting out with basically zero experience.
If you want to learn more about how to become a court transcript proofreader, I highly recommend Caitlyn Pyle’s Transcript Proofreading Theory and Practice.
This course will not only teach you the skills of a competitive court transcript proofreader, but also teach you how to find clients and build a successful transcript proofreader business.
Who is Caitlyn Pyle?
Caitlyn started out as a proofreader for court reporters, and later on figured that she could actually make more money as a freelance proofreader than on her day job.
She built her own freelance proofreading business and in 2014, she earned $48,000 proofreading online part-time.
She’s currently offering this FREE proofreading workshop below to help you see for yourself if proofreading is for you.
How Much Do Transcription Proofreaders Make?
What is the average court transcript proofreader salary? There seems to be no standard proofreading rates for transcription proofreading jobs, but according to ZipRecruiter, as of October 2019, the average annual pay for a legal proofreader in the US is $48,439 a year.
With a legal proofreading business though, you could make more, depending on how fast and accurate you proofread. Some documents are easier and faster to read than others, so you won’t always end up with the same rate every time.
You can also earn more if you take in expedited or rush orders. In most cases, court reporters need the proofread document in two days, but other times, they need it almost immediately. You can charge premium for rush work.
According to some legal transcription proofreaders, they’ve made around $1,300 each month, working less than or equal to 20 hours per week. As you take in more work and gain more experience, proofreading becomes easier and quicker for you, and you can potentially make $4,000 a month if you work on it full-time. Over time, you’ll get better and quicker at proofreading, so you should be able to make money as you take in more work.
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Benefits of Working as a Court Transcript Proofreader
You can be location-independent
If you value flexibility and freedom, then you’ll find proofreading court transcripts jobs highly rewarding for you.
Since you can proofread from your computer or tablet, you can take your work anywhere: on your bed, on the dining table, at the park, at your child’s school’s parking area, or even pack your bags and travel halfway around the world.
You can work freely work anywhere as long you have access to receive and deliver your files.
Just like any home-based job, you need a computer and internet to get to work.
You can take a training class which is a fraction of the cost than taking and finishing another degree (and you can complete the training class in a few weeks, as well).
You’ll also probably need an iPad, fee for subscription to apps you use, and of course, your internet.
Your clients can bring in more clients for you
As a court reporter transcript proofreader, you’ll be working mainly with court reporters, which means your market is within that circle.
If you do very well in court transcript proofreading, it’s very likely that your old clients will do the marketing for you. They’ll refer you to other court reporters and you’ll make more money along the way.
That’s why it’s important to build a solid and professional relationship with your existing clients because they’ll send referrals your way, and you wouldn’t have to spend another dime marketing your business.
How to Find Proofreading Jobs?
If you’ve never worked as a proofreader before, scoring court reporting proofreading jobs can take some legwork.
First, you want to create a CV and highlight your proofreading skills. Include every proofreading class or training that you’ve attended, and then market yourself as a legal transcript proofreader.
There are also specific Facebook groups for proofreaders, and one that you should join is that of Proofread Anywhere. This is a community of proofreaders where potential employers come to when they need someone to proofread transcripts. You’ll also find valuable support and build a network of connections here.
You’ll also want to create a professional LinkedIn page for yourself as a court reporting proofreader and connect with court reporters. Make sure to create a catching bio that highlights your skills and experience so your connections know you’re offering transcript proofreading services.
Finally, having a website helps a lot in promoting your business. You can highlight your skills and services, create a contact form, and even display testimonies from previous clients. You want to link them all together – your professional social media pages and your website, and vice versa, to increase your brand’s web exposure.
When you’ve scored your first few clients, chances are, you won’t have to market yourself as much as you’ll already be busy with work. Additionally, consistently surpassing your clients’ expectations and standards will lead to more new clients.
If you’ve come to a point when you can’t handle all the work by yourself, you may consider putting up a transcript proofreading agency, which means supplying work to other transcription proofreaders like you.
Are you Ready to Learn How to Become a Court Transcript Proofreader?
Not all people are cut out to become efficient legal transcript proofreaders. This is certainly not a job for everyone.
But if you’re the type of person who can identify errors in any written or digital content almost instantly, then you certainly have the makings of a legal transcription proofreader.
It helps to know that you can find online training and support for this kind of career. With more determination and commitment to promptness and quality, you should go far, earn more and have a fulfilling profession while being at home.
If you are ready to learn how to a court transcript proofreader, make sure to check out Caitlyn’s free workshop below! It won’t cost you a thing but it could help lead you to a very profitable work-at-home career!
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