Carolyn Bodley - Legal Verbatim Transcriptionist of Audio, Video & Digital Files

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blog entries are strictly the opinion of Carolyn Bodley and may not reflect the opinion of others

(to see archived blog entries, click on the links to the right of the top blog)

Some photos are compressed or removed in archived blog postings, leaving only a description of the photo. The blog postings remain complete and unchanged.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

BLOG - Some customer service really stinks ...
error.jpgThere are people standing on the street corners with signs saying they will work, and then there are customer service centers that are just out there to take your money and don't care how rude or obnoxious they are.

I'm really sorry that I'm a PITA, but if I can't go into a store and purchase something and must find it on-line, I like to talk to someone personally, so I can make sure I am actually ordering the correct "whatever I'm ordering." If you don't want me to call you to place the order, then simply don't put your phone number on your site.

As I mentioned in another post, I'm not happy about this new "break the bank open" buying spree that I'm forced to do simply because all my printers have up and quit and literally shut down because the date codes on the ink/toner have expired-- even though there is still toner/ink in the cartridges.

And, of course, nothing can all be purchased with one phone call at the same on-line store -- they are either out of the item and don't know when it will become available, or they've never stocked it.

Okay, I finally get all the ink/toner ordered and wouldn't you know it, my copier decides that if the printers are getting new ink/toner, that it will shut down, as well -- I would guess that it is some kind of protest.

I find an on-line local company. Great. I call and tell them that I want to place an order. She kind of hesitates and then explains that to keep ink costs down, they would *prefer* if people ordered on-line -- WTF, keep ink costs down?--they are an ink supplier. She asked if I had Internet service. I explain to her that if I wanted to order through the Internet, that I wouldn't have called them -- thank you very much, but I want to speak to a live person. She begrudgingly says, just a minute. I waited for four minutes for someone to assist me with my order and no one ever came back to the line.

They had no idea what I wanted to order or how much money I was going to be spending with their fine (NOT) company.

This arrogance and sense of entitlement are major turnoffs for me -- causing them to lose what could of very well been a satisfied customer -- and one that was willing to spend quite a few bucks and become a repeat customer -- but their loss.
[end of blog]
1:46 pm mdt 

BLOG - Where is the wisdom of putting date codes on toner and ink?

frustration.jpgOkay, please explain to me where the flippin' logic is for printer manufacturers to put date codes on ink and toner cartridges?

I have six printers in my office -- one color laser, two color inkjets, three black and white lasers -- and they all serve a purpose, except of course, when the date stamp expires -- then they just shut down. I know there is toner and ink in them because when you shake them, you can feel it shake inside. Just because it has something inside means little, when the date code chip tells the printer(s) to shut down.
I'm sure glad the human body doesn't have a date chip "okay, although you are healthy and feel better than you ever have in your entire life, your date chip is expiring in exactly 30 seconds." With the printers, you don't even get a warning -- "oops, sorry -- WARNING! WARNING, Will Robinson -- shutting down, shutting down, shutting down."

And what good does it do to stock up so when the date code expires you will have a backup because the date code will expire whether inside the printer or sitting on the shelf!

Every printer has shut down at one time. Now I have to consider with the rising gasoline prices, if I need to drive or need to print.
[end of blog]

12:13 pm mdt 

BLOG - If shopping by price alone ...
Tacking Down a MemoI'm not the candidate for you, if price is what you are basing your decision on.

Recently I was in a client's office when my phone rang. Normally when I'm with a client, I don't answer calls, but our meeting had been interrupted by a call my client had taken. For his privacy, I left his office and was sitting in a cubicle so I could hear or see when his phone call ended.

My caller gave me her name and asked if I did legal transcription and I replied that I did. She went on to say that she was a paralegal with the military and they were looking for outside transcriptionists to transcribe their court martial hearings. As intriguing as it sounded, I was not about to sit in another law firm's office and get into a discussion about whether I charge by the word, line, page, hourly or any other combination. It just wasn't the place, especially when I was basically sitting in the middle of many people and I might as well have been on a megaphone.

I explained that I was unable to talk and asked if I could return the call in about an hour where I would be in much better position to discuss, explain and ask/answer questions in length. She said she had some errands to run and that she would call me back once she was back in the office. I never got a return call -- I hope nothing happened to her on her errands run.

I suppose I could call her from the Caller ID -- but it all relates back to following instructions -- she said she would call me, and I'm not going to appear as though I'm begging by calling her -- especially, since I had offered to call her in the first place. On the other hand, if she and/or the military are that impatient that they cannot accept my or anyone else's schedule when unable to take their call at that moment, would I really want to work for them -- especially if they expected me to drop everything for them, when they decided to hand over the audio? The answer is NO.

I've said it before. All projects are different and a price/cost structure is not something that can be said in 15 seconds over the phone. My transcripts are not a "one size fits all" rate. There are just too many variables to quote an unseen and unheard project cost over the phone.
[end of blog]
9:17 am mdt 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

BLOG - pays $70.00 an audio hour ...
3D dollar signOnce again someone has found me by Googling "pays $70.00 an audio hour" and once again I am going to explain how WRONG, WRONG, WRONG it is if a transcriptionist agrees and accepts a transcription job at $70.00 an audio hour.

Oh, yeah -- at first $70/hr. sounds like you are going to be a millionaire in no time. BUT, to set the record straight once again, you are not going to be earning $70 an hour.

An audio hour is just that -- it is one hour of one person, two people, three people or more talking. It could be a secret recording where someone is carrying the recorder in their pants pocket and the other person does not know. It could be a recording where five people are all talking at once, and none of them can be understood. It can be a recording like I was given once by an attorney--she was standing in front of a jet engine with the engines running. Another time, an attorney was driving during a winter blizzard and all the while dictating. He had the recorder on the dash, and with each turn or bump, the recorder slid from one side of the dash to the other and then back with the next turn or bump. He also had the defrosters running full force to keep the windshield from freezing over and the wish-wish of the wipers that nearly put me to sleep.

The next point to remember is that a one hour recording simply does not take one hour to type. Considering the average person speaks 250 wpm or more, a typist does not type 250 wpm. Generally speaking, one hour of audio takes a minimum of three hours to eight or more hours -- again, all depending on the quality of the audio.

For clarity sake, let's say that it takes five hours to transcribe. That brings the $70 down to $14.00 an hour. The $14/hr. is NOT tax-free, so plan on taking 50% off the top for taxes, supplies, money put away for future equipment purchases, retirement--unless you expect Uncle Sam to take care of you in your golden years.

That $70 has now dwindled down to $7.00/hr. or $35 TOTAL for the job.

Um, maybe you want to work for $7.00, but that is not why I began working for myself. You'd earn more flipping burgers!
[end of blog]
6:56 pm mdt 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

BLOG - Before posting to a public forum ...
seehearspeak.jpgIt began simple enough. I was reading on a public forum when I came across a post from a woman complaining that a paralegal promotion was given to another employee -- a file clerk of all people. She received a raise -- just not a title.

It seems that the conflict boils down to her not being given the title of paralegal, although she has been given much of the duties. She continues writing about the humility she is facing by co-workers who are now looking at her because she was not promoted, nor given the title. Personally, I would walk in with my head held high and not be concerned with what people thought.

Call me anything you want as long as you pay me! I've always felt job titles over-rated and don't really mean much. I remember when being called a "secretary" became uncool  and secretaries began typing letters and adding "Legal Assistant" while I continued referring to myself as a secretary.

Working for myself, I can call myself anything I want -- I wear all the hats, and usually several at once.

When I first began my working career, one of my first jobs was in the typing pool. I don't know what I was called. I also don't remember when I jumped from a clerk typist to a secretary. Working with the government, I once held the title of photographer -- not that I was a photographer, but because I had gotten to the end of my grade, and to jump to the next grade, I would have made considerably less, so my boss and her boss somehow got me into a photographer's grade -- see, job titles mean nothing. One time I even had a title as a "service specialist" -- it sounded like I was a "call girl!"

Today, some of my clients refer to me as a secretary -- which doesn't bother me. Others add "legal" to the secretary title; some refer to me as paralegal; some transcriptionist. One client even refers to me as his Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Getting back to the woman, she claims she was next in line for the paralegal position. In today's job market, I don't believe there is any "given" entitlement that you are next in line for any position. IMO, a person should earn the position. The majority of workers are just happy to have a job! She continues that new paralegal was given a large raise and then bought a new car. So what?--as long as she isn't having to pay for it, what difference does it matter what anyone buys? Besides that, no one, in any company should know what someone else is earning.

A couple of posters gave her support. She just continued telling more and more about her unhappiness and how unfairly she is treated. She says no one in the office is talking to the ex-file clerk which brought my quick response and asked if they were all 12 years old? 

She continues her rant while describing the ex-file clerk/paralegal: size 2, breast enhancements, flirts with all the men, blah, blah, blah., while she is stuck on the floor with this hyper attorney and more blah, blah, blah.

Although she doesn't mention names, the kicker is that each and every one of her posts are linked to the law firm where she works -- the same one where she is so unhappy and probably using the firm's computer to type. Clicking the link displays the name of the firm, the address, the phone number and all the identifying information -- along with the poster's full name. 

Hear, See and Speak No Evil.

Yep, a job title is over-rated and means squat -- but complaining on the Internet and linking the company you are complaining about is just plain stupid !!!!!!
[end of blog]
3:31 pm mdt 

Friday, March 2, 2012

BLOG - Office housekeeping or how many trees have I killed in 20 years
Construction plansI am sitting at my keyboard while waiting for two cross-shredders to cool down -- they both have safety mechanisms that automatically shut down when overheated.

My office houses two 4-drawer legal and three 2-drawer metal filing cabinets -- all bursting at the seams. Consequently, since the filing cabinets will no longer hold another piece of paper, my office floor has become the "dump all" collection place.

I have been shredding non-stop (except for the cool down shredder time-outs) for 3-1/2 hours this morning. I began by making a path to the one filing cabinet -- this involved moving all the blockage on the floor out to the hall. So far, I've cleaned out and shredded 99% of the material in two filing drawers and begun going through some of the material in the hall, making two piles "keep" and "shred" -- while waiting for the shredder timeouts, I've organized some of my "keep" pile and moved from the hall into one of the two empty filing cabinet drawers.

Yeah, I know, I'm filling the drawers up as fast as I can empty them -- BUT, I can now see the floor. I'm making a vow to quit printing every Internet research article I find -- some printouts go back 10 years, and I have absolutely no idea what prompted my interest or the relevance that 500+ pages needed to be printed out. At the time it must have been important. My new rule is *if I do print out an article or whatever, that I'm going to scan it immediately and put on a jump stick and then immediately get rid of the printout -- in an attempt to be more of a paperless office and save a tree or two.*

Well, break time is over, the shredders have cooled down ...
[end of blog]
11:48 am mst 

BLOG - Lack of planning on your part ...
Bomb!I can't determine if the number of calls I've received lately for notarizations are from procrastinators, truly emergencies, or just from rude and inconsiderate people.

First of all, I don't "do notaries." I am a commissioned Notary Public in the State of Colorado. I perform notarizations.

Secondly, just because you've held in your hand a paper that needs notarized for who knows how long, doesn't mean that because you've waited until the last conceivable second, that I am going to freely drop everything I'm doing to place my stamp or emboss the paper, because all of a sudden you need the paper "right now."

Next, I normally try to be pretty flexible, within reason, but if your schedule doesn't coincide with my availability, don't take on an attitude with me.

I don't intentionally profile or judge people -- but as for the young girl speaking the lingo of the "newer generation" that I really didn't have a clue as to what you were saying ... yes, I sometimes notarize documents for people out of the goodness of my heart, but as for you asking if there is a charge, "duh, y-e-a-h."
[end of blog]
7:15 am mst 

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With a typing speed of 120 wpm, Carolyn Bodley began offering independent contractor/secretarial and transcription services to the Denver metro legal community in 1992.

I am not a court reporter or medical transcriptionist and I don't videotape depositions -- I'm strictly a legal transcriptionist which means putting spoken words on paper. All my transcripts contain a certification stating that to the best of my knowledge, belief and ability, the audio/video I received has not been altered in any way, and the transcript is true, accurate and complete. I have never been advised that a court rejected one of my audio or video transcripts. If my transcript is rejected by the court, you will be reimbursed in full for my services. Because I certify that the transcript is true and complete, the entire audio/video must be transcribed--I am unable to transcribe "just a portion" that you need. 

I guarantee that your transcripts will be typed confidentially, accurately and with attention to detail at a fair price.

  • Discovery is often turned over in a format other than hard copy. This discovery includes, but is not limited to, recorded telephone conversations, police interviews, depositions, investigations, witness statements, and more. The audio and video "words" need to be put to paper, and your already overworked legal staff often don't have the skills, equipment, the inclination or the time.
  • Discovery is often the deciding factor of whether a case goes to trial. Most of us hear, but do we listen? Recently I transcribed a video that had been viewed and listened to several times and by several people before I transcribed it. There was a one sentence statement that not one person caught -- this one sentence was not the only reason the case was dismissed one day before trial--however, it carried quite a bit of weight -- and I'm the only one that "heard" it. Had the video never been transcribed, how many other words would never have been heard?

Add-On Services:

  • laser color printing
  • laminating
  • spiral binding
  • proofreading/editing your work product

Your Documents are Your Reputation ...
Making Them Look Good is Mine!©1992-2016 Carolyn Bodley

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