Proofreading for court reporters is a perfect job for individuals who have a superb eye for detail, as well as for anyone who does not mind reading long transcripts.
It does not matter whether you are a journalism graduate, English major, or not, anyone can be a proofreader. Depending on your client though, sometimes they let anyone even without experience but has the skills to get in for the job, while others may require at least finishing a short course on proofreading to be considered for the job.
While there are so many proofreading job opportunities out there, proofreading for court reporters is one of those that is challenging and exciting. It is a little tricky because it means dealing with court or legal transcripts. However, just like any other proofreading jobs though, it lets you work at your own time and pace as well.
Now, if you have been dreaming to be an attorney or maybe you dreamt of working in court, you may want to consider proofreading for court reporters job. We are sure you will enjoy reading court cases as well as court transcripts.
Now, if you are already convinced and you feel like this one’s for you, the next thing is to know how to become a proofreader for court reporters. Nothing beats having the right knowledge about the job so it would be easier for you to get into it.
WHAT IS A PROOFREADER?
Proofreader refers to the person who proofreads the copy. Generally, he or she looks for “consistency in usage and presentation of the copy, the accuracy in text, as well as images and layout”.
On one hand, as a proofreader, according to the Society for Editors and Proofreaders’ website, you are expected to do the following:
- Check and parallel the proofs to the copy-edited write-up — line by line or read ‘blind’.
- Check to ensure page numbers and page headings are correct.
- Ensure that the table of contents is correct according to chapter titles, page numbers and end matter like appendices, index, etc.
- Check the consistency of styles – mainly the spellings and hyphenation. Make sure it follows a style guide.
- Check omissions and inconsistencies in typography, content, as well as the layout.
Learn the basics of proofreading symbols in this video by Alex Kahn:
- Gauge if there is a need for changes based on the budget and schedule. Keep in mind that a single change can have a drastic effect.
- Pinpoint necessary changes and streak out the proof (on paper or screen) using the agreed marking method.
- Look into or if necessary, insert cross-references where applicable.
- Remove unstylish or confusing word, column or page breaks.
- Guarantee that illustrations, labels, and captions are parallel with each other, as well as with the text.
- Ensure that the texts are right and are logically arranged.
- Communicate with the author(s) to in case there is a need to resolve queries or advise the client.
On the other hand, here are some things that proofreaders are NOT expected to:
- Page layout/design
- Seeking permission(s) to use copyright quotations or images
WHAT IS PROOFREADING?
According to the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, proofreading is the process of quality check and tidying up of proof or in the layman’s term, the copy-edited that has been displayed or printed by the designer or typesetter.
WHAT IS PROOFREADING FOR COURT REPORTERS?
Proofreading for court reporters may sound just like any other proofreading job, but, it entails a lot of responsibility since the materials to proofread are based on testimonies that are crucial to the case. It is safe to say that proofreading for court reporters is a special niche.
However, it is equally thrilling because you get to proofread legal materials.
Alright, for you to have a better understanding about this job, you know in a lawsuit, there are a lot of legal meetings that occur to be able to gather testimonies and evidence for the case. Legal meetings include hearing, deposition, case management meeting, and compulsory medical examination to name a few. Often, lawyers or either or both parties will hire a court reporter or a court stenographer to take down all that is said in these meetings in verbatim. The record of all that has been said during these meetings is called transcript.
The court reporter, by using different types of computer-aided transcription or CAT software will now transcribe his or her notes from the meeting. And just like any other important written materials, proofreading is vital especially in this case as it is important on how the case will go. The transcript is an important document that leaves no room for error.
Thus, many court reporters hire proofreaders to ensure every single word in their transcript is correct.
WHAT ARE THE SKILLS NEEDED TO BE A COURT REPORTER PROOFREADER?
Now that you already what proofreading for court reporters is all about, it is necessary that you know what skills you need to have in order to be a proofreader for court reporters.
Know that not all have what it takes to be a proofreader for court reporters. The job is very crucial, it takes really good skills to be one. Unlike other proofreading jobs, proofreading for court reporters is very crucial.
However, who knows, right? Maybe all along you actually have what it takes to be one! Read on and see for yourself if proofreading for court reporters is for you.
– You have to have an excellent and advance knowledge in grammar and spelling.
As a proofreader, you have to have no room for error. You have to be very keen on details. Your eyes should be quick to see wrong grammar and misspelled words. In the case or proofreading for court reporters, you have to be accurate. Typos, wrong grammar, and incorrect spelling of words should be your worst enemy. Having this skill will make your work faster and deliver excellent output. So, do you have an eye for detail? Are you a grammar and spelling freak? If your answer is yes, then you might just land proofreading for court reporters job then.
– You have an unshakeable attention span.
Legal transcripts can be very long and deep. In some or maybe most cases, they’re boring or less interesting. Most of the transcripts revolve around bankruptcy cases, workers’ compensations, court hearing, and many other uninteresting and less exciting topics. That said, proofreading for court reporters can really bore you sometimes. That is why it is important that you have a really good attention span, otherwise, you will get a headache checking every detail on the transcript. Being able to concentrate and at the same time recognize when to take a break is vital as a proofreader for a court reporter.
– You have to have a flexible schedule.
As a proofreader for court reporters, you have to be available anytime. Thus, making it not an ideal side job if you work 14 hours a day. To begin with, court reporters are busy people, and in most cases, that means they love expediting things. Thus, the need to be available anytime they need your services. At the same time, being able to return the proofread material in no later than two days is a requirement.
At this point, do you already see yourself pursuing a job in proofreading for court reporters? Based on the above skills, do you think you have what it takes? Because if you do, then you’re ready for the next point we are going to discuss.
HOW MUCH DOES A COURT REPORTER PROOFREADER MAKE?
With such an intense job, you are probably wondering by now how much money a proofreader for court reporters earns.
The amount of money you make out of proofreading for court reporters really depends on what the rate is in your area or location. We highly suggest that if you think of pursuing a proofreading job for court reporters, you ask around. You ask current proofreaders for court reporters how much their rates are. From there, you will have an idea on the charging rate – thus, you can decide how much you will bill your future clients.
However, according to data, normally, a proofreader earns 35 to 65 cents per double-spaced page of 25 lines. That would be around $35 to $65 per hour or even more depending on the kind of transcript you will be working on, how fast you will be able to proofread and return the proofread document. Again, time is key here. The faster your turnaround is, the better.
In some cases, though, proofreaders charge court reporters more per page if the transcript has high or heavy medical terminology because obviously, it’s harder to read and takes more time and effort to proofread. In cases like this, a proofreader for court reporters can charge $35 to $65 cents. Technically speaking, it is just fair enough as in reality, court reporters are paid even higher than this.
With all these, you may take all our shared information as your basis. But as a beginner, we highly suggest you really study how much your rate will be. It would be better if you ask from fellow beginners in the field to have a better idea on the rate, because like in any other jobs, the payment differs on your years of experience and your efficiency.
But as a general rule, proofreaders whether new or old has to bill fairly on their reporters. Take into consideration your turnaround time, if you meet deadlines, if you have errors, etc. Do bill your court reporters justly. After all, they pay you to deliver excellent results. So if the output is not as expected, do not ask for the same amount of payment. Take this as a good way to build rapport between you and your court reporter.
Based on the data, anyone can make really good money by proofreading for court reporters. A proofreader can earn on an average $3,000 per month for working part-time. Now think about how much more you get if you will work as a fulltime proofreader for court reporters. That’s huge and a really good amount of money, don’t you think?
So, if you think you have the skills, why not consider this path of work? You will never know. This might be the best job you’ve been dreaming to be in after all.
WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER BECOMING A PROOFREADER FOR COURT REPORTERS?
We can name a few reasons why you should consider proofreading for court reporters job, but today, we will just focus on these five things, which we believe are the major causes you need to get convinced that proofreading for court reporters is worthwhile.
You get paid per page.
Probably what makes it different from other proofreading jobs – getting paid per page! But of course, that will depend on how focused you are on the work, how efficient you are – no room for errors, and how fast you turn work around. Remember time is vital in this job. The faster you return the proofread material, the better. How excellent you do the job, leaving no room for any error, is also equally important.
That is why when proofreading for court reporters, we highly suggest you keep yourself away from distractions so you get to finish your work early, at the same time, excellently.
You get to isolate yourself for a good reason.
Proofreading for court reporters means focus. You need to really focus on each transcript that you work on. Otherwise, you will not be able to do your job excellently and as fast as you can. Thus, proofreading for court reporters is a good excuse to isolate yourself. You can work wherever you want to work as long as it will help you focus and deliver your work on time.
Proofreading course is cheap.
Taking proofreading classes are definitely cheaper than going back to school to take up further studies. With proofreading, you only need to pay a one-time course fee, buy a laptop if needed, and software, and you are off to a good start as a proofreader for court reporters. Easy, right?
You do not need to look for new clients every time.
What is nice about this job is, once you get to establish a good rapport with court reporters, they will go back to you again and again, which means, as long as they are working, that means you have worked as well. Thus, it is really important that you are good with handling clients. Always deliver what is due them, and make time to build a good working relationship so you will never run out of work to do.
Also, once you are able to build a good relationship with your clients, which may equate to getting referrals too! You can start with one client and end up having more just by being excellent and also by building a good court reporter-proofreader relationship.
You get to work on a flexible schedule.
If you are a night person or someone who is more productive at night, then this is a good job for you. Well, either you are a night owl or a morning person. It really does not matter because this job let you work on flexible hours – anytime as long as you meet deadlines and deliver excellent work.
Unlike day jobs, proofreading for court reporters means you can work whenever and wherever you feel working.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PROOFREADING FOR COURT
– Working as a proofreader for court reporters does NOT mean having a saturated market. In fact, there is a high demand for this job. What makes it saturated, however, is the fact that only a few people have the right skills to do proofreading for court reporters.
– Finding clients is NOT hard at all. There are a lot of court reporters all over the US. You only need one, to begin with, and you only need to build a good working relationship with him or her to get more clients via referrals. But if you really want to earn more, you can get as many clients as you can all at the same time.
– Although it is a flexible job, there may be times that your client will need to rush work. In this case, that means getting the work done as soon as possible whether you like it or not. So you better be able to adapt to that.
– Your course will not necessarily ensure your success in proofreading for court reporters. It takes hard work, consistency, and a good amount of effort you put in the job to succeed.
– You do not need to have an English degree to be successful in proofreading for court reporters. The job does not require a certain degree for you to get into it. What it takes are excellent grammar and spelling knowledge, as well as in punctuations. Your eye for details is the key.
– You can do proofreading for court reporters even if you do not live in the US. Remember what we said earlier, you can work remotely. So that means you can do proofreading for court reporters work even when you are away or not from the US.
– It is your choice whether to work part-time or full-time.
– While the job may sound easy, it’s actually not. Apart from excellent grammar and spelling knowledge, you have to have discipline. Otherwise, it’s not going to work for you.
– While marketing yourself is a good idea, you can also deviate from doing so by making sure you have a good network of court reporters and fellow proofreaders.
– Catching errors be practiced. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. So, if you are just starting, it’s okay to make minor mistakes. Eventually, you will get used to making thing perfectly anyway. Take it one day at a time.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PROOFREADING FOR COURT REPORTERS
Proofreading for court reporters is indeed another promising job to take on, but, it’s not for everybody. You need to have excellent grammar and spelling skills, a very good eye for details, and self-discipline to be one.
It is very competitive salary-wise as you earn per page that you work on. In fact, you can consider taking it in full swing if you want to.
If you really want to work as a proofreader for court reporters, the best thing to do is to network with court reporters and fellow proofreaders so you can land on your first project. And once you get one, make sure to build rapport with your client as this may be the start of a long-lasting working relationship and referrals.