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5 Ways to Get Fired as a Proofreader

Updated: May 16, 2016

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  1. What a wonderful article! This can apply to any profession. Thank you so much for writing it and thank you Caitlin for sharing!

  2. I have missed two of what I consider to be big mistakes. Both were pointed out to me. I was heartbroken. Very embarrassed and upset. They were both sadly with the same client. I accepted both and thanked her for her feedback. I still work with her, and we have a good working relationship. One was when I was very new, and she knew I hadn’t been doing it very long. The other was more recently. However, she has also emailed me several times about mistakes that I have caught that she has been making for years, and no one else has caught. It’s hard to accept criticism, but the same is also true for the reporters. We are emailing back pages of corrections to them. I can imagine that it might be hard for them to see their mistakes sometimes as well.

    1. Everyone makes mistakes; reporters make mistakes in the transcripts, and scopists and proofreaders may not catch every error. I tend to beat myself up over my own mistakes, and it’s hard to hear criticsm from other people. I think that in a good working relationship, though, there is mutual respect and a mutual attitude of wanting to help each other improve. In whatever we do, how we communicate with each other makes a big difference in resolving problems when they do happen.

  3. I agree with Susan! Caitlin, your well-written post is a perfect combination of personal sharing and professional wisdom, backed by experience and evidence. What a wonderful motto this makes: “Be available. Be teachable. Be genuine. Be accommodating. Be excellent.” Every point is important, but I especially love what you wrote about being human, humble, and teachable, and the importance of handling difficult teachable moments with grace.

    I have one pragmatic question for you: In accommodating different style and “rule” preferences, how do you keep track of which reporter prefers which approach, particularly if you’re working with a fairly new client?

    1. Thanks!
      We use something called a preference sheet 🙂 Eventually you’ll memorize what’s on it and get used to what your client wants, but the preference sheet helps initially.

      1. That preference sheet is indispensable when working with several reporters with different preferences.

  4. Wow. I must truly commend you Caitlin for such an amazing article. This was so very informative, straightforward, and detailed. I really enjoyed reading this. I love when people share their knowledge to help others.

  5. This is a great article and while it is very scary to think about starting out and working with actual clients these are great points to keep in mind going forward. Thank you!

  6. Hello, Caitlin: It’s been since about April 2016, that I last contacted you. Could you please contact me via my email because I have some important questions to ask you about your training.

    Thank you very much.

    Roger Poaha

  7. Great Article, Katie. I agree with all of those.
    Now we just need to get the reporters to communicate back when they receive our marked-up copy back to them.

    I know they complain about us, but that one goes both ways. Would it be wrong to ask them to let us know when the transcript is received by them?

    Thanks for all the great info.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the article, Karen! I never think it’s wrong to encourage communication between yourself and your reporter. I, personally, added a note to my email signature that looks like this: ***If you receive an attachment with this email, please confirm receipt.*** It works most of the time. 🙂 If I don’t receive an email back (or Sidekick doesn’t show it’s been opened), I always send a quick email before the due date to confirm they received it. I never worry about being a bother on that front; most reporters appreciate that their proofreader is on top of things. 🙂

  8. Caitlin, you have proven yourself to be an excellent teacher, coach, trainer, I could add more here, but for the sake of brevity all I can say is excellent teaching again.


    Darlene Wallace

  9. That was a great article. I am still wanting to take the plunge but have not yet. Hopefully soon. In the mean time I keep up with the blog. That was some very valuable information.

  10. A very good article, with many points it would be wise to remember.

    I did a search online for “Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation” and was stunned to see a $10,000 price tag–at half.com and Amazon. A used copy of Morson’s was available for about $80 from Abe Books.

    How do you check your adherence to rules when you’ve just started out and can’t possibly afford the reference materials? Can graduation from PA prepare you well enough to develop a client base?

    1. Hi, Barbara! That’s a CRAZY price for Margie Wakeman Wells’ excellent text, which we refer to as BG/GP for brevity. 😉 It can be purchased for FAR less here…directly from Margie’s own website! $80 for a used copy of Morson’s is actually not too bad a price. While we highly recommend BG/GP and Morson’s — more the former because it was published very recently versus Morson’s being published nearly 20 years ago now — the PA course will prepare you for finding work as a transcript proofreader once you’ve graduated. Save up to make the purchase, but in the meantime, a copy of The Gregg Reference Manual can be found very affordably. You don’t even need the current 11th edition; the 10th is very serviceable and can be found here. Once in the course, you will be able to reference the course material itself as well as reach out to our amazingly active and supportive community of students and graduates. Hope this helps! 😀

  11. Whew! Thanks, Makamae. No need now to feel defeated before I start… 🙂

  12. Great article. I enjoyed the feedback from reporters themselves.

  13. Caitlin, I have great concern in my own ability to do proofreading. I really want this job and I want the proper education for it as well but in reality I have great doubts of being able to complete the task’s as assigned. My reason’s are as follows…
    I am 62, medically challenged, and nervous I may let a client down.as well as myself.
    I have got to come up with a way I can make some money to help tie ends together, I’m not concerned with making a huge fortune just enough to keep me out of the hole I’m in right now. So my question is can you help a challenged person such as myself?

    1. Hi Melody! By knowing you want to pursue this and create a better future for yourself, you’re already ahead of so many people! Don’t sell yourself short. While we provide you with all the tools and resources you need, it’s up to you to take the action — which we know you can! Look forward to having you join us! 🙂

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