Scopist, Proofreader, Scoofer: What do they do?

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What are the differences between scoping, proofreading, and scoofing?  As a reporter, how do you know if you need a scopist, a proofreader, or a scoofer?  As an editor, how do you know if the work you are providing is that of a scopist, a proofreader, or a scoofer?  The answers depend on what has already been done to the transcript and what still needs to be done to the transcript. A scopist is the first person to edit the file after the reporter has written it. Some reporters simply send the freshly written transcript straight to the scopist. Others might global some names or terms, listen to various spots previously marked as troublesome, or fix some untranslates before sending to the scopist. Even with these fixes made by the reporter, the file is not yet considered scoped.  The scopist will typically listen to the full audio of the entire proceedings.  Not all reporters want or require full audio, but it is often requested.  Along with listening to the full proceedings, the scopist reads the transcript word for word.  Homonyms are addressed and punctuation is added or clarified. Any words that were dropped are typed in by the scopist. The speakers are verified, terms researched, and spellings corrected. All untranslates are resolved.  The scopist will also keep an eye on formatting issues and either flag these for fixing by the reporter or fix them during the scoping process. By the time the scopist has finished editing, the file will be in near perfect form and ready to be proofread.

In order for a file to be properly proofread, it first must be properly scoped. Proofreaders typically do not use audio. While a spot check here or there to verify a funny-sounding sentence may be required, a file that has been properly scoped to audio, as described above, does not need to again be compared against the audio of the proceedings. The proofreader reads the file for context, making sure all the words make sense (or if they don’t make sense, the proofreader confirms that this is due to speaker error rather than editing error), finalizes any missing punctuation, verifies terms have been spelled the same throughout the file (Green versus Greene, for example), and ensures that the proper choice of homonyms has been used.

There are those rare reporters who have such clean transcripts and confidence in their product that they do not require full audio for the minimal editing needed for their work. The scoofer reads through these transcripts, making occasional changes, audio spot-checking any rare questionable areas, and returns the transcript in a far shorter time than a transcript that requires heavier editing and/or full-audio scoping. These transcripts aren’t read a second time in a separate proofreading step.

All three – scoping, proofreading, and scoofing – are separate and distinct methods of editing a transcript. Open and honest communication between reporters and editors is essential. Expectations on each side need to be clearly understood prior to the start of any job.

Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade understands the subtle distinctions between these three methods of editing. When you engage us, your team of two scopists and one proofreader will work with you to produce a beautifully edited transcript in the shortest time possible. The next time you need the strength and dependability of a ready-made, professional, and experienced team of editors working on your immediate copy transcript, contact us via this site, our Facebook page, or email at

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