Carolyn Bodley - Legal Verbatim Transcriptionist of Audio, Video & Digital Files
Services and BLOG
entries are strictly the opinion of Carolyn Bodley and may not reflect the opinion of others
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Monday, August 30, 2010
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!
9:39 am mdt
With office cutbacks, downsizing, the poor economy, and whatever other reasons,
I'm seeing more and more individuals getting into the transcription business.
While I'm the first to admit that transcription isn't brain surgery, it's not as simple as listening and typing.
For one reason, listening and hearing are two different things. It's pretty simple to hear, but it's a lot harder to listen
and type -- making your ears, brain and fingers work together.
of these new-found transcriptionists didn't even transcribe as 'employees' in their past employment. I'm all for giving people
chances and that we all had to start someplace, but I don't think that gaining experience at the cost of clients, customers
or whatever you want to call them is right. That's like closing the gate after the cattle have walked out and running freely
on the range.
The three most popular transcription
"gigs" are student typing, legal and medical. I won't touch medical with a 10-foot pole. Why? Because even though
I have some workers' comp experience, I don't consider myself anywhere near qualified enough to transcribe medical case history,
reports, etc. I have three medical dictionaries, but to stop and look up the spelling of medical terminology when I don't
know the correct spelling, or even sure if the word is correct, is counter productive.
I am also adamantly opposed to sending confidential medical reports offsite to some unknown to be
transcribed. I have first-hand experience at how my life *almost* changed because of someone's ignorance, inexperience or
just not caring or paying attention. I had a lump in my RIGHT breast. My doctor sent me for additional testing. The specialist
reviewing the tests determined that the lump was suspicious and surgery was suggested. The day before surgery, my own doctor
sent me to get the tests, reports, etc. to bring to the hospital the next day. The x-rays meant nothing to me, but I make
a living with words. Even though I understood little of the medical terminology, I do understand the difference between LEFT
and RIGHT. The report was one page. In the first two paragraphs it said RIGHT breast, RIGHT breast, RIGHT breast was suspicious
and said the LEFT breast was normal. Then wham, in the last paragraph on the page, it said the LEFT breast was cause of concern.
The transcriptionist was so concerned in equating money to keystrokes, she wasn't even hearing what she was listening to.
No red flags, no yellow flags, no "hey, this is contradicting what I've typed throughout the report -- I need to flag
it so someone will see." Whether the doctor himself dictated LEFT instead of RIGHT, or whether the transcriptionist was
just bored and typed LEFT on her own doesn't matter -- the transcriptionist should have picked up on the discrepancy. What
does matter is the INACCURATE typed report intended to be used during the surgery. How many people have their lives changed
because of an inaccurate or inconsistent left or right, or a completely wrong diagnosis because the medical term, even though
spelled correctly, was the wrong spelling for the correct word? Pretty scary to think of the surgeon with a scapel ready to
cut the wrong organ from your body, or being prescribed the wrong medication for the wrong disease because of the inaccuracy
of a typed medical report.
There is a fairly new transcriptionist
on the Internet that is neither experienced in medial or legal -- and she is typing for both professions. It used to be that
she would just post asking the correct spelling of one medical term. Now, she has begun posting 15-20 "unsure" terms
at a time. She has no business playing roulette with people's lives. She has no business transcribing medical reports. A few
days ago she posted that she has branched out to the legal field -- that she had a word that she isn't sure of the spelling,
but it sounded like 'voo wah dear.' To protect innocent lives on the operating table and in the courtroom, this woman needs
to go back to the real world and get a job where she will be under someone's control and checking that her *i's* are dotted
and that her *t's* are crossed.
Transcription is not brain
surgery, but the poor transriptionists give everyone a bad name. Maybe the kitchen is the right place for you afterall.
[end of blog]
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
One space versus two spaces ...
8:44 am mdt
The biggest reasons I began working for myself: office politics along with
the cattiness, the backstabbing, the jealousy, the laziness ...
Working for yourself in a transcription/secretarial business, you wear
all the hats -- at least initially -- you are the worker bee, the marketeer, the accountant, the salesman. You make the rules.
To be successful, you need to know in advance what to expect -- unless, you know a lot of people that are just going to give
you work immediately, you are going to spend many hours, days, weeks, months and possibly years without a "billable"
-- use this time wisely to market your services, hone your skills and expertise.
Although you won't know how much it's going to cost in overhead to work for yourself until you begin
getting work, do some research on what and how others are charging. Don't set in stone someone else's rates and don't copy
the business practice of others, making it your own. Don't simply pull a figure out of the sky because someone else has --
it may or may not be working for them, and you certainly don't know if it will work for you.
This is not a "one size fits all" business -- nor should it be! Your skills,
experience, expertise and clientele will determine what someone will pay for your services. I've always been a minority because
I charge hourly -- and I've never had a problem charging hourly. There are all sorts of charge rates out there -- line rate,
page rate, character rate, audio hour (the length of the audio tape and NOT the length of time it takes to transcribe) ...
From reading transcription forums, it is my opinion that 99.9% of these charge rates actually come back and bite the person
in the butt, because until you actually hear the quality of the audio, you have no idea how long it will take to transcribe
-- if not charging hourly, there is no way to place a value on your time. These are the same people that type the audio but
tell the client that it is their (i.e., the client's) responsibility to proof. I actually have to chuckle when I read this,
because how many of the clients are actually going to go back and listen to the audio word-for-word?--if they are going to
take the time to do that, they could have just typed it themselves to begin with.
The biggest laugh I'm having this week is an ongoing discussion of how, by default, Word inserts
one space after the period instead of two spaces. I can't believe the number of people crying because they are losing money
because of the one space.
For grins, I've grabbed a report
I previously typed that has 100 pages, 36 text lines per page. The report is single-spaced with double-spacing between paragraphs.
I've randomly counted twelve sentences per page. Three of the sentences end a paragraph, so those periods are a moot point
because there's no space(s) after them -- that brings us down to nine periods on the page. Roughly, with one space after the
period, there are 900 periods in the total report. Inserting two spaces after each period might possibly stretch the
report a half-a-page. If 900 versus 1800 spaces or 100 pages versus 101-1/2 pages is going to make or break a transcriptionist,
they better pack it up because this is NOT the business they should be in.
[end of blog]