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.

Archive Newer | Older

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

BLOG - Oh where or where can my flag be?
flag.jpgAll through the night and until mid-morning, we have had gusts of wind reaching 80 mph.

There has been thumping on the roof and howling and whistling coming down the stovepipes. The water in the toilet bowl has looked like white-caps.

It's a great way for the people living across the street  to "rid" themselves of their trash. They always fail to get their trash out in time for pickup and leave the overflowing containers at the curb until the next week's pickup. They can now move the containers back to the house as they are no longer overflowing -- there is not even a band-aid wrapper to be picked up this week!

Every since 9/11, I have had a 3 foot by 3 foot metal flag attached to the side of the house. The flag is gone and no where to be found. I've searched our own yard and the neighbors on each side -- with no luck. It could be three states over as far as I know.

Wherever my Old Glory landed, as a projected wind missile, you can be proud that you went out in a gust of glory! For your new owners, "although she could stand for fresh red/white and blue paint and some straightening out tweaking, please cherish her and hang her with pride on your own house -- and you might want to attach her with three or four nails or screws, as my two did not hold her!
[end of blog]
11:45 am mst 

Monday, December 29, 2008

BLOG - The waistband cinch of 2009
bodybuilding.jpgAs 2008 comes to a close and 2009 begins, many individuals -- businesses included, are resolving to get into better financial shape. That's not ALL bad. There is a lot of waste in our personal lives and in business operating budgets.

Our bodies can manage on fresh-brewed coffee from our own home coffee makers instead of the $5.00 designer coffee on the way to the office. Companies are cutting back and no longer furnishing tea, apple cider or hot chocolate -- it won't break our bank accounts to bring our own -- although with some offices, you might be forced to hide your stash from the abusers who see nothing wrong with eating/drinking what belongs to someone else --never managing to replenish the treats.

Concession is quickly becoming the new buzz word. All of us are going to have to get by with less. Office staffs will become smaller with people doubling up on work because of the reduced staff -- in many instances, some people will be doing the work of two people.

Business should have gotten rid of the deadwood before the financial and economic crisis. I've never understood how one or two people are allowed to sit and do nothing day in and day out, while people around them are bustin' their butts to get everything done. For the "warm bodies" doing nothing, good riddance -- getting rid of you is going to come as no loss.

With fewer staff, GOOD people are going to be under stress and burn out. There are only so many hours in each day, and one good person can do only what they can do. When occasional overtimes becomes routine and expected, morale will be lowered and sometimes even lost, work quality will be affected, and attitudes becoming one of not caring whether they are there or not.

Verbatim transcription is an art that takes time -- between 3:1 and 8:1 (three to eight hours to transcribe a one hour police interview, witness statement, recorded phone conversation, etc.) It is imperative that discovery transcripts be true, complete, accurate and an exact copy of what was said because the transcript can make or break a court trial.

So in evaluating your 2009 financial budget, remember there are things that can be done without, people that can be done without, office supplies and company furnished edibles that can be done without, however, transcription of audio/video files can not be done without! -- and with workloads being doubled up, verbatim transcription is definitely something that can and should be outsourced out to a professional.

Cutting staff down to the bare bones minimum -- or thinking you can do it all yourself, is business suicide and one of the worst things that can be done in today's financial crisis. Don't be too quick to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
[end of blog]
3:34 pm mst 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

BLOG - Grandma kept her money in canning jars
moneyjar.jpgI was making a credit card payment, and had a client's check which happened to be written on the same bank. The check was less than $500, so I decided that I would cash it while there instead of making a special "deposit" trip to my own bank.

I first made the credit card payment and then presented the check for cash. I do the attorney's books, so I know that he has thousands of more dollars than me, and there was definitely not a cash flow problem to cover the check. The teller asks if I have a checking account with them. I tell him no, but I just made a credit card payment on a credit card that we've had with them for 30 years. "Well, that won't do -- since you don't have a checking account with us, you will be required to pay $5.00."

W-H-A-A-A-T? We've never been late with a payment, and we always pay more than the minimum. Recently, you raised our interest rate, like many others complaining about interest hikes -- also never late with a payment -- and now you say that I have to pay you $5.00 to cash a check written on your bank?

I don't understand why the new credit card regulations that were just passed regarding the unlawful interest hikes is not taking effect until 2010! Undoubtedly, the banks and credit card companies are going to nickel and dime us until the law actually makes them accountable.

It's the greed of these banks who are now in financial trouble because of the subprime mortgages issued for the past few years. Mortgages, credit cards and loans issued to people that should never have been issued a mortgage, credit card or loan in the first place -- who would never have qualified 10-15 years ago when people actually had to qualify and were not just handed money because they could walk and chew gum at the same time.
I've got all my Grandma's canning jars and I've got to tell you, they are looking pretty good.
[end of blog]
8:56 am mst 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

BLOG - Listen up ...

For four years I was a notary signing agent -- and a darn good one I might add. However,notary.jpg this spring while reading the writing on the wall, and before the actual bottom literally fell out of the housing market, I made the decision to not work with title companies, brokers, lenders or signing services any longer. The ONLY loan signings I do are for individual borrowers who are told to find their own notary.

All of my on-line profiles clearly state that I only notarize for the general public. So why is it that I am still getting calls, on a daily basis, from the exact companies and unscrupulous loan officers that I don't want to be associated with?--probably because people simply don't take the time to care -- we have gotten so rude and disrespectful with one another that we don't see, we don't hear and we don't listen!

Make sure both your eyes and ears are opened before opening your mouth!
[end of blog]

1:05 pm mst 

Monday, December 22, 2008

BLOG - Another wannabe transcriptionist
It just amazes me the Google search phrases people use that somehow find my site.

       The latest--typed exactly as it appears below:

"how many wpm do i need to know to become a transcription"

First of all, a person does not become a transcription!

transcript.jpgTranscription is the process of typing spoken or handwritten words on paper exactly as they were spoken or written. Once on paper, the words become a transcript.

You don't "know" wpm, you "type" wpm (words per minute). Words are combinations of letters in a dictionary. You can "know" every word in the dictionary, but it's certainly not going to make you a transcription or even a transcriptionist!

And lastly, everything typed in caps is SHOUTING; whereas, everything typed all in lowercase is juvenile and unprofessional.

I could probably smile if it wasn't so pathetic.

I am a professional TRANSCRIPTIONIST -- not a transcription.
[end of blog]
8:26 pm mst 

BLOG - Concession, Recession, Depression

Last week the Big 3 automakers were granted a $17.4 billion life line with conditions: wantads.jpgheavy emphasis on cost-cutting, demanding that wages fall, executives give up bonuses and corporate jets and dividends remain suspended. GM and Chrysler must prove their future viability by March 31, 2009.

Something needed to be done because of the already downward spiraling economic crisis facing the U.S. and the rest of the world. What I'm having a hard time with is the UAW and the workers' attitude. Depending on the source and what you read, the "union" auto worker is costing any one of the three automakers (including benefits) anywhere from $75/hr. to over $100/hr. -- with the workers earning $31 - $50 hourly. The biggest chunk of money taken out of most of our paychecks is health insurance. Health costs are included in the UAW contract and it's not coming out of the worker's pocket. There is a "job bank" where approximately 3,600 laid off workers continue drawing 90% of their salary and full benefits to stay home. If they actually show up at work and DO NOTHING -- drink COMPANY coffee, read the newspaper, sit and shoot the bull they get 100% salary and benefits. Geez, by not working, they are earning more than the majority of us who work every day.

Even while workers at major companies are agreeing to pay concessions, the UAW and the workers claim they can't take pay/benefit cuts. GM and Chrysler are shutting down 50 assembly and parts plants for the month of January -- the plants will be shut, although the workers will continue drawing their salary/benefits. The rest of us, if we are sent home due to lack of work, unless we have vacation/comp time built up, don't get paid for not working.

The other night there was a man being interviewed on television. He just didn't know how he was going to manage or how he was going to survive on 90% during the month of January -- there were holidays, mortgage payments, auto loans, credit cards, etc. Hmmmm, sounds like the general population -- many of whom have received pink slips and the loss of ALL pay and benefits. Last week I went to my dentist for my twice-annual checkup/cleaning. He told me that medical/dental care is the first thing people go without when money is tight or having lost their jobs. To make ends meet, he is now working THREE jobs.

The union's response to the government bailout and "conditions" is less than appreciative. "We are disappointed that President Bush has added unfair conditions singling out workers," UAW President, Ron Gettelfinger.
Singling out workers --
Oh, P-U-L-E-E-S-E!

And in the same breath, the higher and mightier than thou Mr. Gettelfinger goes on to say "We will work with the Obama administration and the new Congress to ensure that these unfair conditions are removed."

The poor and unfair auto worker being singled out and treated unfairly -- ask any of the growing number of the unemployed Americans, and they will disagree with Mr. Gettelfinger as to who the real people are that are being singled out and treated unfairly.

I was raised in a union family -- however, the UAW has gotten completely too big for its britches believing that the American public is going to close our eyes when Mr. Gettelfinger stomps his foot about the unfair treatment the auto workers are receiving, and demands that the unfair condition of employee pay cuts in the bailout be tossed. How dare Mr. Gettelfinger believe that he's got the upper hand and can demand this and that, and with a wave of the wand the employee pay cut condition will disappear !!!! Is he wearing rose-colored glasses and can't see that the American public -- many out of work, do not need new cars, are not buying new cars, and can't afford new cars in today's economy.

Let's consider the options: the auto workers/union continue saying they can't take a salary reduction -- which forces the company into bankruptcy -- either putting the auto worker out of a job, or the ultimate "breaking" of the union -- which in my own opinion, getting rid of Mr. Gettelfinger may not be such a bad thing.

Nearly every worker, other than the auto worker, has found themself conceding to something -- agreeing to a salary reduction in order to keep a job; working only 3-4 days per week and the remaining 1-2 days not getting paid. We have all tightened our belts and are doing without certain things -- NOT THE AUTOWORKERS who won't take pay cuts.

Decision time: on one hand, keep a job by agreeing to concessions -- or on the other hand, planting your feet in the sand and not budging. When there are no Big 3, Big 2 or Big 1, all that feet planting and greed isn't going to have done a lick of good when there is no company, no job and no job bank!--and the end, of what would appear to many of us, a free ride the auto workers are abusing on the rest of the taxpayers' money.
[end of blog]

11:42 am mst 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

BLOG - So Paul, when does the back scratching begin?
I've been doing my year-end transcription business inventory -- evaluating areas where I can cut spending, backscratching.jpgwhere I need to "spend more to make more" -- what to leave alone and what needs changed.

A year or so ago I was invited to join LinkedIn -- an online networking group where you invite "connections" to join -- say I have five connections and each of my connections have five connections, that's 25 connections, usually in different businesses with different skills and strengths.
I haven't actually finished my LinkedIn profile. My own connections are attorneys, a business coach, another transcriptionist and a producer/screen/play writer. One of my connections has over 200 connections and another has just under 200. A few months back I was invited to join and be a part of Paul's connection. In doing so, he became a part of my connection -- making his information visible to all of my connections, and all of their connections and their connections and so on and so forth -- and more importantly, all of their connections visible to him. I believe Paul has something like 38 connections -- but the stink bomb with Paul is that he has his connections blocked and unavailable to anyone else. Bottom line is that Paul has access to thousands and thousands and thousands of network connections, but no one but him has access to his own network connections -- so what are any of us gaining from having him a part of our network? 

Who knows why Paul has his connection list blocked -- possibly security and confidentiality issues? -- nah, people that joined LinkedIn did it for the networking. Paul is just being greedy and has everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Networking is a two-way street -- you scratch my back and I'll scratch your back -- and as soon as I find a way to de-connect Paul, he is going to lose his free ride. If he wants to play in his own sandbox, he can play there alone!
[end of blog]
2:31 pm mst 

BLOG - Can you smell the smoke coming from my head?
anger.jpgI've been fine-tuning my SEO (search engine optimization) keyword searches and was checking my search engine page rankings when I ran across the following:

"15 audio hours - $150.00. Need transcriptionist urgently. Only experienced transcriptionist may apply. $10.00 for every audio hour."

To add more salt to the open wound, a total of 38 candidates applied, with an average bid of $137.34. Six were interviewed with an average bid of $138.52.

For the 38 boobs that applied and the one that was selected, you definitely need a crash course in Business Economics 101. FIRST, an AUDIO HOUR takes considerably longer than ONE hour to transcribe. In fact, you are looking at a MINIMUM of THREE (3) hours to transcribe each audio hour. Since you haven't done your own arithmetic (yeah, it's an old fashioned word), those innocent 15 hours of audio, will take you AT LEAST 45 hours to transcribe (that's right - 45 hours!) -- although I'm guessing you are looking more along the lines of five hours (probably even longer) pushing the envelope to 75 hours of transcription time.

I never give an estimate without first hearing the audio, however, to prove the absurdity of accepting $150.00 for 15 audio hours, my own ballpark estimate would be $2,500-$3,000 -- a far cry from $150.00! That is the difference between a professional and a kitchen table hobbyist -- no doubt working under the table, because it's not even enough money to sit at the table!

So lets see -- instead of making $10.00/hour, you are actually earning $3.33 an hour if you can finish in 45 hours (3:1 = three hours for every audio hour); or

a whopping $2.00/hour for 75 hours (5:1 - five hours for every audio hour). 

But hey, you're going to have $150.00 in your pocket -- oops, since 38 of you actually bid lower than $150.00 ($137.34-$138.52) , you will actually be working for less -- and let's not forget you must pay taxes, business licenses/registrations, purchase equipment and supplies off the top of your $2.00-$3.00 actual HOURLY wage.

In 2008, are secretaries/transcriptionists working for $150.00/week in daily 9:00-5:00 J-O-B-s?

And the second hey, is that you got the job, CONGRATULATIONS -- but I'd say about now you're bending over and grabbing your ankles! I hope it felt as good for you as it did for the company laughing all the way to the bank.
[end of blog]
9:21 am mst 

Monday, December 1, 2008

BLOG-Complete lack of courtesy

My family didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up -- but we were taught manners, courtesy, politeness -- "thank you" "you're welcome" "please" ... today that's lost art. Somewhere back east a store clerk was killed as she was stampeded, knocked to the floor and trampled after opening the doors for the "day after Thanksgiving" shoppers. The shoppers couldn't have cared less, and when the store tried to close after the incident, the shoppers became irate.

If I give someone a gift, especially if it is handmade, I *expect* a thank you -- believe me, you won't get a second gift (or anything for that matter) from me without some sort of acknowledgement.

I'm constantly marketing my business. Over the past two-three months, I've been testing different marketing avenues. Sometime back, someone suggested that I look at Craigslist -- I shrugged my shoulders asking if the caliber of clientele I'm targeting are checking out Craigslist -- or if it is just a scam? After more prompting, I listed my services and have received two replies. Both were wanting a lot of service for very little money. Thanks, but no thanks, I'd like to at least earn enough that I don't have to take my husband to the homeless soup line to eat.

Looking at the Craigslist job listings, there were a few that sounded as though they could become clients. A couple of the listings were actually looking for someone to work out of their office on a part-time basis. I went ahead and contacted them in the hopes of educating them to the benefits of outsourcing the work on an "as needed" basis and the economic benefits to them for doing so.

Did I get a response or reply? NADA, nope, zip, NOTHING. Okay, so they aren't into letting the work go offsite. That's all right -- I responded to four listings actually looking to outsource their work to an independent contractor -- sounds right up my alley. Three were attorneys and one was a real estate office. Again N-0-T-H-I-N-G -- not even a boiler plate response "Thank you for your inquiry, however, we have found someone more suitable to our needs. We will keep your info on file and contact you should we have an opening more appropriate to your skills ..."

What is the sense of posting an ad if you have no intention of following through? Are there any legitimate business listings on Craigslist? I purposely didn't mention my rates, so that wasn't the reason they chose to ignore me. My website link was available in my response/contact -- I've been told that my site isn't a turnoff, so that wasn't it either. Goodbye Craigslist -- I'll stick to my proven marketing techniques -- even if I get a "no thanks -- we aren't interested at this time" -- at least it is a business common courtesy to recognize and acknowledge me.

And as for the people asking for an attorney referral -- if you aren't even going to bother calling any of the name(s) I give you, don't you dare come to me the next time you find yourself in trouble!
For the people that do show me business and common courtesy --
[end of blog]

11:54 am mst 

Archive Newer | Older

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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