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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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BLOG - Look before you jump!
research.jpgNo doubt about it -- unemployment continues to rise and more and more people are doing things that would not even have been thought of before this economic crisis.

We have had a woman come to our door wanting money so she could get her daughter's inhaler at the pharmacy. We have had a man with his son wanting money so his son could go with his boy scout troop on a camping weekend. We have had a man come to the door wanting money to pay his cell phone.

I continue getting hits on my site:
1. How can I find my own transcription clients?
2. How much money can I make?
3. How fast do I have to type?

People often ask me why I don't list my fees. Quite simply -- I have worked hard over the years to get where I am and a transcript is more than just a dollar amount. I spent years researching self-employment before I actually quit my job to go out on my own. I didn't expect anyone to hand it to me -- I knew it was going to be hard work -- both the research and operating the business. In the 1980's, computers were in their infancy. There was no Internet and secretarial and transcription work-at-home books were zero to none.

However, I had quite a lot going for me. I had experience, expertise and knowledge I had gained through each of my employers. I was beginning a business where I would offer the same services that I performed as an employee. I didn't wake up one morning and say I'm going to do this even though I have no idea what is involved or that I have no skills, experience or expertise.

If you are contemplating beginning a secretarial or transcription service, you better not have to ask how or where you get clients. You should already know. You shouldn't have to ask how fast you need to type -- and if your biggest concern is how much money can you expect to make?--then you have no business becoming a self-employed transcriptionist!
[end of blog]
12:05 pm mdt 

Friday, March 27, 2009

BLOG - I want to know ...
question1.jpgI want to know how family can steal from family? Worse yet, I want to know how a daughter can steal from her own invalid mother?

I want to know why I'm 50 something and shoveling snow, while the neighbors half my age aren't out shoveling? I want to know why people think it is more important to clean the snow off a trampoline than it is to clear their sidewalk so someone doesn't slip and fall?

I want to know why women expect a man to check the fluid levels of the automobile they drive? I want to know why, with or without a man, I have always taken care of the vehicles I've driven -- but told that I don't understand why a woman growing up with her father owning an automobile repair shop, has only had to stick the key in the ignition and drive the vehicles into the ground until they wouldn't go any further -- because she has never had to take the responsibility of what goes with owning and driving a vehicle -- and that that's perfectly all right, but let me have a blowout on the interstate, get out the jack, lug wrench and spare tire and watch my husband honk, wave and drive by -- BECAUSE IT'S NOT HIS VEHICLE AND HE WASN'T DRIVING IT!

Yes, I know that I've done it to myself -- people know that I don't and won't depend on someone to do it -- when I can do it myself. Yep, I'd much rather be like I am than a damsel in distress -- or too lazy to do it herself.
[end of blog]
12:35 pm mdt 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

BLOG - Smoke and mirrors - or crime by illusion
coverup.jpgWith more and more companies closing their doors, there was a special on the local news last night - "buyer beware" when shopping at store closing liquidation sales offering 25-50-75% savings.

This one particular Big Box store had haphazardly placed the sale stickers on the store's inventory. I say haphazardly because in many instances, the original price sticker was still visible. The "sale" sticker was marked up 50-100% over the original price. The undercover news reporter began picking at the sale stickers on other items to discover that this wasn't an accident or only on one or two items -- every "sale" price was higher than the original sticker price. Be cautious when shopping store closing liquidated sales!

I was recently contacted about my pricing and availability to transcribe three recorded telephone interviews. One was three hours, one was 30 minutes and one was 45 minutes. The law firm's client only wanted to pay FIVE hours. Any transcriptionist knows that transcription time takes 4-5 times the length of the audio to complete -- so a ball park quote, for JUST the 3-hour audio, is 12-15 hours. Five hours isn't even double the audio time.

The 3-hour intereveiw took me 10 hours to transcribe -- input only -- no proofing against the audio. My transcripts are done in Times New Roman 12 pt. with one inch page margins (left, right, top, bottom). The complete transcript was 71 pages, 3,254 lines, 158,329 characters and 30,915 words.

The caveat "buyer beware" when price shopping transcription services is that there are many different ways of charging. I've always charged hourly because I feel any other way the client is "nickel and dimed."

Different transcriptionist rates are by the page, by the line, by the character. Additionally, a page is not necessarily what it appears: by adjusting the left margin from 1" to 1-1/2", the transcript can grow by 5-8 pages which also increases the line count number.

A font change increases the page and line count. Some transcriptionists will give you the final in whatever font/point size you request -- HOWEVER, the input and what you will be charged at is done in Courier New. Out of curiosity, I played around with my 71 page, Times New Roman 12 pt. document. Converting it to Courier New 12 pt., the 71 pages increased to 91 pages (an increase of 20 pages) and the line count increased by 1,279 lines -- hmmmmm, quite a profit center. 

Playing with the margins and adjusting from a left margin of 1" to 1-1/2" increased the Courier New 12 pt. to 97 pages and the Times New Roman 12 pt. to 76 pages and the line count increased by 1,184 -- do I hear cha ching?

In my opinion, this is worse than nickel and diming the client -- this is having them bend over and grab their ankles.  Yep, buyer beware when shopping/pricing transcription charges.
[end of blog]

11:34 am mdt 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

BLOG - It is time to give the computer back
computer.jpgI thought it was great when computers began showing up on the attorney's desk -- I thought it was fabulous when attorneys actually began typing on the computer keyboard because then they would realize how long it actually takes to "create" a document from beginning to end.

However, my enthusiasm for attorneys having computers for more than email is quickly dissolving and now it is time to give the computers back to the legal secretary/assistant -- allowing them to complete the tasks they are trained to do. The downturn in the economy has hit everyone hard -- who would have ever thought attorneys, other than ambulance chasers, would be wondering where their next client would come from -- or even if there is going to be a next client?

I have lost many clients either through death, retirement, cutbacks, firm closures and even attorneys making the move to get out of the legal field completely. I've always been looked upon as a threat the the support staff -- outsourcing or handing over private and confidential material to a complete stranger -- although the same offices have no problem with a complete stranger sitting in their office having access to the same material -- in addition to blank CDs/DVDs, photocopier and email. I've always felt if someone was going to steal confidential material, the odds of doing so are better working on-site -- as there is no law firm security guard at the door checking outgoing packages!

I've discovered while upping my own marketing efforts into full gear, although I'm still a threat to the legal support staff, today the real threat is the attorney him/herself -- the attorney, that trying to cut costs and expenses, has come to the conclusion that they can be the office chief cook and bottle washer in addition to legal secretary. They've downsized to all but the bare minimum of staff, and sometimes have gotten rid of the entire staff.

Back in the early to mid-90's when desktop publishing became popular, there was a saying that a computer did not make a graphic designer. Today, the saying should be loud and clear that a computer does not make an attorney a secretary. An attorney knows the law and the words -- however, there is more to the process than simply putting the words on a piece of paper.

It is time to go back to practicing law and allowing the legal secretary/assistant to attend to the document production using their skills, experience and expertise -- because is it not only economically "unfeasible" for the attorney to do his/her own document production, it can also be anything but aesthetically pleasing to the eye. After all the years of "being just a secretary," we have developed quite a bag of tricks in not only producing the documents, but producing them with magic -- the same type of magic you that makes you, as an attorney, shine when practicing law and not typing.
[end of blog]
10:39 am mst 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

BLOG - Blinded by the white
uglyfeet.jpgInstead of *regifting,* I've gone back to my archives to *rephoto* an earlier photo ...

With the Denver temps being in the 70's and little snow all winter, I've noticed that many people are digging out their spring clothing now that March is upon us. March has always been one of our snowiest months, so if history repeats itself, the winter wardrobe better not be packed away in mothballs just yet. Also, for all Colorado transplants -- the rest of us have all grown up with an unwritten law that has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations: you don't wear white shoes BEFORE Memorial Day or AFTER Labor Day!

I'm taking advantage of the temps and doing face-to-face marketing and I'm getting quite an eyeful of "fashion turned bad" during lunch hour foot traffic.  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE either put the pants or pantyhose back on, or go to a tanning salon if you insist on going bare legged/footed -- the tanning salon will do nothing for the ugly and bulging or spider/road-mapped veins, bruises and cellulite -- but it will help everyone else's eyes adjust to the the shocking and glaring snow white of your bare legs and feet.

I've written about it in the past and I'm definitely not an advocate of the 30+ women baring thier legs and feet -- besides the veins, bruises and cellulite comes the problem of the unsightly and pronounced body bulges that at least the pantyhose somewhat, if only slightly, lifts, tucks and shapes.

If your husband or significant other won't tell you what you look like from the backside, believe me, that for more than 75% of the bare legged/footed women, it's not a very pretty site.
[end of blog]
9:10 am mst 

Monday, March 2, 2009

BLOG - A BIG Thank You
ThankYou.jpgWe don't say the two words enough. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all office staff members I'm having contact with during my 2009 Recession Marketing Campaign.

Peddling my wares (services) door-to-door can be met with rejection, so I make it a priority to "come bearing gifts" or unique marketing brochure, flyers and newsletters.

It has been a number of years since I've handed out my flower packets so decided that since it doesn't seem that we are going to get any snow, I've been busy making my flower packets and today dug out my spring wardrobe, hit the pavement and distributed 100 packets.

I realize you are all protecting your jobs -- and I'm honestly not trying to be a threat to your job security. The flower packets are just a small token and my own thank you for not giving me the boot and showing me the door -- except for that one R-U-D-E woman who told me, in no uncertain terms, that "if anyone was going to be doing any work in the office that it was going to be me (meaning her)!" To you I offer the following suggestion:

When talking on a personal phone call and a stranger enters your office, you might want to immediately tell your friend you will call them back or put them on hold. You had NO idea who I was -- and after several minutes you finally decided to remove the receiver from your ear, place it on your shoulder without even putting your friend on hold, to ask me if I was the so-and-so-named client the attorney was expecting. Had I been the money paying client that pays your salary, you can bet the attorney would have gotten an earful about your manners and demeanor. 

To the other 99.9% of the people that have actually been excited over such a small thing as flower packets, Thank You -- you really make it worth while to beat the pavement and wear out a little sole on my shoes!

P.S. It has never been addressed before, but it was brought to my attention when one woman reading my seed packet said "verbatim transcription -- oh, I'm familiar with them" -- please be advised that I am not affiliated in any way with the local court reporter having verbatim in the company name.
[end of blog]
2:54 pm mst 

BLOG - Not in my back yard
No.jpgHaving a website opens you up to every loon in cyberspace -- increase/decrease a certain body part, buy this, sell this ...

Over the weekend I received an email from across the ocean -- it seems that an Indian transcription company wants to partner with me. I'm definitely NOT interested -- thank you very much and please remove me from your database. However, even had I been tempted, the subject of the email would have quickly changed my mind: "Cheap transcription at $0.04 a line."

Belt tightening is one thing, but for any individual or firm being enticed by this ridiculous cheapskate rate -- all I can say is, if you don't care any more about the confidentiality and security or the quality of your documents, I say wholeheartedly GO FOR IT!--because it only proves that you're definitely not in the same caliber as me when it comes to the respect I give my clients and the value I place on my work!
[end of blog]
8:22 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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