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The term “scopist” is related to the first computers which contained a diode scope or screen. A scopist’s job is to edit transcripts written by court reporters on stenotype machines into readable, easily comprehensible English. The technical NCRA definition is “one who edits a transcript translated by Computer-Aided Transcription software into English, correcting mistranslations or untranslations of stenographic notes, employing proper punctuation, English, and format.”

By this definition two basic skill sets are required: a great grasp of the English language, grammar and punctuation, and the ability to read machine shorthand. The most successful scopists have an aptitude for and enjoy working with words, are good spellers and have an extensive vocabulary. They must be highly motivated independent workers: the job involves meeting deadlines, researching elusive spellings, spending long hours at a computer and producing meticulous transcripts.

As independent contractors, scopists must also be responsible for  their own billing and accounts receivable and even more importantly, their own tax burden.  The driven scopist will always be investigating innovative ways to improve his or her  skills and competence withthe ever-changing English language. He or she must also have a mastery of keyboarding and computer skills, learn to troubleshoot software and hardware problems, and keep up with the rapid-pace advancements in the computer industry and in court reporting software.

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