I Already Have Proofreading Experience and/or an English Degree. Isn’t That Enough?
I sometimes get emails from people saying that they already have an English degree or years of experience as a general proofreader and they want to know if that’s enough to get them started in the transcript proofreading world.
The short answer is no.
Transcript Proofreading is Complicated
The truth is, transcripts are very, very different than traditional proofreading and editing. It’s spoken word, not a planned essay, and there are hundreds of little things to learn that are specific to transcripts — even rules that are actually okay to ignore sometimes.
For example, Module 1 explains how a transcript becomes a transcript and helps you get into the shoes of a court reporter, so you can understand why your client makes the mistakes they make. There are several modules on the proper ways to mark up transcripts, and a module on how to use the apps to actually mark up the jobs correctly and efficiently. The practice transcript module is the most important one, because that will really get you in the thick of it — you will read at least 3,000 transcript pages.
The Most Important Thing about Transcript Proofreading
Many folks write in to me convinced they already know exactly how to proofread transcripts and are just interested in how to get the clients, but the most important part is actually knowing how to work with transcripts — that’s also the reason I put the marketing module after everything else. It’s at the very end! If you take a transcript and mark it up as you would a traditional proofreading job (rearranged sentences, every grammar error corrected, etc.) and send it back to a client, they would likely never use you again. Why? Because it will be obvious you don’t know how to work with transcripts. It’s also likely you’d miss subtleties, such as if the reporter completely forgets to include the swearing-in of the interpreter in the deposition.
Your Proofreading Experience Does Count
Please know if you’ve got years of proofreading and editing under your belt, or you’ve been teaching English for years, I’m in no way discounting all of your experience. Your experience will be very helpful, for sure, but that is not all there is to it. I only want to communicate clearly that transcripts are a whole ‘nother animal — an animal worth learning to tame.