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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Sunday, May 26, 2013

BLOG - I think I've been shunned ...
Say what??I'm not going to lose sleep over it, but I feel like I'm back in high school with the rich cliques, who because your daddy wasn't a doctor or lawyer, and because you didn't wear the latest cool clothes, you just didn't fit in.

Several years ago, I was invited to join LinkedIn. I do some networking there, and I have gotten clients from the site. I'm not a die-hard LinkedIn-er by any means. There are people who are networked with 500 or more people. I think I just connected with my 31st -- so see, I don't live and breathe because of the site. My network is small and all of my groupies, for no better word, have become on-line business colleagues and even friends, and stay in touch with each other through emails. I honestly don't see how having even 100, there could be any sort of personal friendship or even business relationship.

I've invited a handful of people to my network, but the majority of my network contacts have invited me into their network. 

During the past week or so, there is a business owner that does pretty much what I do, only her forte transcription clients are private investigators. Mine are lawyers and police. She has commented on a couple of my public postings and even "liked" a few of my posts. She seems knowledgeable and intelligent. Not because I want to become one of her subcontractors or anything like that, I just felt we had a lot in common, so I sent her a post asking her to join my network. I am notified by email when someone looks at my profile. In fact, the invitation to join someone's network, actually has a link to look at the profile. I'm assuming that is when she looked at mine.

My profile isn't bad. Working for myself since 1992 isn't something to snub your nose at. I guess I wasn't good enough to be associated with her hundreds of networkers, because unless she's put it on her to-do list to join my small network -- which I would have thought the time to do it was when reviewing my profile, she's snubbed me.

Like I said, that's okay. Me and my small network is her loss. I am a little curious of her 500+ groupies, and how they made the grade and I didn't. But like I said, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
[end of blog]
2:40 pm mdt 

Friday, May 24, 2013

BLOG - A notary does more than just stamp
blame.jpgThere appears to be a relatively new Colorado notary, at least posting on a popular notary forum.

They posted that they had performed a home mortgage loan signing for non-English speaking borrowers. The borrowers provided an interpreter. Notary called a friend to ask if the loan could be signed with the aid of the interpreter. The friend never got back, so notary completed the signing.

Once leaving the borrowers home, notary called the Colorado Secretary of State and asked about the non-speaking English borrowers and the use of an interpreter. The Secretary of State advised notary "no way." Notary made the decision on her own to not return the loan documents -- documents, I might add, contain all kinds per personal and confidential information -- names, addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, bank account numbers, income earnings ... You can't hold documents hostage just because you decide that the signing was illegal because the borrowers could not speak English and you aren't sure the interpreter was accurately explaining the documents.

So, notary calls the title company saying the signing was illegal. Per the notary, title told her to black through the documents. She completely blacked out her notary. She asked for advise on a better way she could have handled the situation. Being a Colorado notary, her notarial actions reflect on me. I advised that calling the borrows to introduce herself and set up the meeting, she would have been able to tell they didn't speak English. Her comeback was that they didn't answer and never returned her call. That was her first red flag. The second red flag was showing up at the door she would know they didn't speak English. Third red flag, using the interpreter, which is illegal in Colorado. THE SIGNING SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED, and to hold the documents hostage, because of an illegal act which she is blaming on the title company is ridiculous.

She is the one who asked what she should have done -- after telling her what a Colorado notary should have done in the situation, she gets an attitude telling me that she didn't post for a lecture. W-H-A-T?

She committed a crime by continuing the signing, but it is the borrowers who will be hurt, because they are under the assumption that the loan is finalized. There are several notaries that are facing judges because of their involvement with the mortgage crisis -- my so-called lecture may be the least of this notary's problem!
[end of blog]
4:48 pm mdt 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

BLOG - When is is okay to turn audio back?
recorder.jpgI don't know if it is a southern expression, but I have an on-line friend who uses the phrase: You can't make a silk purse out of a sows ear.

I have never, in all my years transcribing, received a pristine audio where I could type without ever taking my foot off the foot pedal or back up to listen, back up to listen and back up to listen. My transcripts are 98% accurate. Why not 100%? Because of the inaudibles from poorly recorded audio -- either because of faulty equipment, because of cheap equipment, because of one little hand-held recorder sitting in the middle of a table with 10 or more people speaking, because of background noise (hissing, coughing, traffic noise, whispering ...).

The question is asked frequently in on-line forums about audio converters that clean up poor audio. You can do a few things with poor audio to make it somewhat better, but poor audio is just that -- poor audio. You can buy the best headsets/ear buds -- but that usually just blocks out noise around you -- not unnecessary noise in the audio. It is somewhat like putting a Band-Aid on a severed artery. It is not a cure.

There are people who never turn back difficult audio, as they call it. Ten to 15 years ago, I never did either. I'd stay up all night and all day struggling until I got through the audio. I associated "doing the job" part of my reputation. I half-killed myself getting the audio completed. I'm sure my stress level and blood pressure was off the charts. Was it worth it? I can honestly say that I don't think it was.

I'm not a quitter by any means. Since then, I have changed the way I operate my business. Now, I listen to different parts of the audio for 15 minutes. That gives me an idea of the audio quality, if I'm going to be tearing my hair out, or if it is even going to be economically feasible for the client to have me transcribe it. After 15 minutes, I give the client an estimate, which is usually spot-on. That is another reason I charge an hourly rate and not by the audio hour, page, line or character.

I can transcribe a good audio 3:1 (3 hours to transcribe 1 hour of audio). A poor audio can be anywhere from 5:1, 8:1, 10:1, even 13:1 or more. First off, a poor audio is taking time away from me transcribing other client work that is decent quality. Second, it is not fair to the client and is economically not feasible for them.

Even if they find someone willing to charge by the audio hour, page or line, if a transcript is riddled with inaudibles and looks like a 90% redacted transcript, what good are the few words on the page going to do?

Being afraid of what will happen to your reputation if you reject a poorly recorded audio, should not be a concern. Being concerned for your health and well-being should be more important than worrying about your reputation if you turn an audio back.

My business is 21 years. Life is too short to worry about making a poor audio pristine -- which by-the-way can't be done. You should do your best, but all you can do, is all you can do -- you can't make that silk purse out of a sows ear -- no matter how hard you try.

It is all right to turn the audio back and say "it just can't be done." There is no shame in doing so, either!
[end of audio]
10:22 am mdt 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

BLOG - and the foot pedal saga continues ...
Rotating Okay, yesterday I posted about the begging woman in need of a foot pedal. As the day went on, her begging and pleading continued.

It turns out that her electricity has been shut off and she has an extension cord strung from the neighbor's house to her house. I've never had my electricity shut off for lack of payment, but I don't think they shut it off for missing one payment. Before airing all your dirty laundry on the Internet, of all places, wouldn't you first ask for help from family or friends?

One individual came forward and said they had a foot pedal stored away and they would dig it out to make sure it worked. Ms. Greedy comes back with "is it new and it has to be USB and under warranty?" What?--having someone offer to loan you a foot pedal is not enough?--it has to be new and you're worried about a warranty? Somewhere during this back and forth public conversation, the price of shipping the foot pedal comes up, and that she can't pay any shipping charges herself -- and that she has to have it by Monday. I mean, who is in control of this situation?--the person pleading and begging for a foot pedal and calling the shots and making the rules, or the kind soul who is offering to loan her a foot pedal? If this individual does go ahead and fronts the shipping, I don't even need a glass ball to know they will be out not only the shipping, but they will never see the foot pedal again, or ever see a dime from this freeloader.

Then apparently, kind soul, must have had their fill because it seems that the communication dried up because bang, bang, bang, bang, four postings right after one another from Ms. Greedy "want it all" "want it now" replies that she has written four emails but has not received any response.

I'm willing to help anyone that is willing to help themselves -- but when they become demanding and tell me what I will and will not do, I'm finished with them.

Geez, get a life! PLEASE go out and find a REAL job because it is obvious this working for yourself gig isn't paying the bills!
[end of blog]
8:13 am mdt 

Friday, May 3, 2013

BLOG - If you're in business, act like it!

FiremenThe Boy Scout Motto "Be Prepared" is for more than Boy Scouts. It is for each and every individual that makes the decision to work for themselves -- either independently or as a full-fledged business/business owner.

There is a lady on one of the on-line forums I frequent that I would never hire -- either as an employee or on a subcontractor basis. Why? Because she shouts desperation. Pick me, pick me, pick me ... There was a television commercial a few years back that said "don't ever let them see you sweat." This lady missed the commercial. She literally begs for work -- for as much begging as she does, she must not get too many bones thrown her way because the begging continues. 

Today's posting went over the top or plunked into the sewer -- I'm not sure which. She has posted that it is an emergency -- that her foot pedal died, and she is wanting to know if someone can lend her one until she can buy one on her own when she gets paid (she gets paid once a month) and she has too many expenses to go purchase one at this time. 

I mean, are you friggin' kidding me? First you beg, beg and beg, and then someone apparently must have hired you, and now you don't even have the equipment to do the job??? -- and what is more humiliating is to ask complete strangers to loan you a foot pedal. Some woman responded with "what planet are you living on?" which went completely over this user, loser and abuser's head, because she replied Florida.

I learnt the rules of the game before I ever began my own biz:
1. Have the best equipment there is. Don't go out and buy the cheapest, because that is what you'll get is CHEAP.
2. Have backup equipment and plenty of supplies.
3. Don't EVER, and I repeat EVER let a prospect/client know that you don't have anything to do because they will think you will work for peanuts -- a little bit is better than nothing, is not true in business.
4. Don't lower yourself to pimping out your services.
5. If you can't get clients and the work is not paying the bills, it is time that you reconsider what you are doing and go out and get a real J-O-B where you will be paid a regular paycheck.
[end of blog]

1:29 pm mdt 

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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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