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In my experience - MT/LT

Posted: May 15th, 2023 - 9:15 am In Reply to: I really would like some honest answers - about legal transcription

Legal transcription is very dry and boring most of the time until that one case comes in that is like listening to True Crime. Most of the time you type verbatim, and I mean every utterance from their mouths, uh, um, un-huh, etc., and every stutter, I -- I -- I. Myself, I try to avoid those at all costs and latch on to the clients that want clean verbatim, only typing the utterances if required, such as when a suspect or witness is avoiding the question.

You need a multi-channel player and one that displays video is best, such as FTR, but here are many more, including for proprietary formats only.

I have the most difficulty with law enforcement transcripts. There is usually a lot of background noise, which if it is heard, then it is documented, and the sound clarity can sometimes be garbled and staticky. Dispatch over radios can drive you crazy, especially when it's louder than the voice you're trying to truly capture, not to mention interrogation rooms that echo.

If you work for a legal transcription service, then usually there is a transcriber that does the rough draft and then a second, or sometimes third, person to clean it up further, which means lower rates of pay until you can produce the transcripts they can certify without those multiple steps. FYI - there are no "blanks" in an official legal transcript like in medical but notations for inaudible, crosstalk, and unintelligible speech.

I pretty much stick to courtroom proceedings. Usually, the best sound quality comes from multi-channel/multiple microphone audio files that can be turned on and off with software to hear the speaker clearly and capture any crosstalk properly. Video helps, but a good digital reporter will mark their notes well so you know which channel for which speaker.

Hope this helps. Legal is not for everyone, but for me, it pays far more than medical. You just need to be prepared to type fast and a lot, making sure you have templates, macros, and text expanders to speed up the process. Without these, you may type 70 WPM, but with them, you will speed up to 120 WPM.


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