Fundamentals of Connection Magic

Making Eclipse Work for You: Conditional Punctuation and Conflicts

© BrenDeBev (all publication rights reserved)

One of the most powerful features of Eclipse is the functionality of its conflict resolution.  Punctuation conflicts, well trained, can save the reporter — and scopist — many keystrokes in adding or deleting punctuation.

A common mistake is to define a phrase, such as “Your Honor” or “you know,” with commas {,} surrounding the phrase.  The problem with this is that the commas will appear at every instance: at the beginning of a sentence, with other stroked punctuation, at the end of a sentence.  A better option is the conditional punctuation feature {,?} which adds the comma if there is no other punctuation present (including beginning or end of sentence).

While this is a very good option, the comma(s) will appear every time there is no other punctuation.  To use it alone effectively, separate strokes for the punctuated and unpunctuated form will need to be devised.

But if you combine this with a conflict without the punctuation, the software will learn which fits with the grammatical structure of the sentence.  It won’t be 100%, but it will be quite effective.

\you know\{,?}you know{,?}

\Your Honor\{,?}Your Honor{,?}

\Doctor\{,?}Doctor{,?}

etc.

If you have a string of punctuation conflicts, such as \you know\{,}you know\you know{,}\{,}you know{,}\{,}you know{.} or the like, those can all be replaced with this simple two-choice conflict entry, making your output more accurate and the selection process in editing, when necessary, more streamlined.

Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade understands the importance of excellent realtime output right from the start. While the use of conflict selection during a normal editing session saves time and effort for everyone involved, the benefits are even greater when they are used in conjunction with Connection Magic Shared Editing.  Each time a PPTB editor selects a conflict during a CMSE session, your Eclipse software is being trained in real time to recognize which selection best fits a given situation.

For more information about working with the experienced editors at Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade, please contact us at transcriptbrigade@gmail.com.

Making Eclipse Work For You: The Speaker List

© BrenDeBev (all publication rights reserved)

The speaker list is a very powerful tool that needs to be understood in depth to reap its full benefit. With the advent of Version 7 and the speaker table being shared between reporter and edit team, it is even more important to be aware of its functions.

Set up your default speaker list by going into the Translate tab and click the Speaker list button. Here is where you set up your main speaker table. These settings will apply to each future job you open in that user.

The 0 slot, by default, is devoted to THE WITNESS. If that has been changed, it is highly recommended to restore it to that default. Click the blank next to 0 and fill in both the Current and Master fields with THE WITNESS. If you notice at the top of the window, it says Shortcut 0. That refers to a built-in macro, which will be covered later in this article.

Before you leave this window, notice Color at the upper right? This is where it gets fun – and very useful. Click that. It takes you to the same color chart you use to define other colors in your display. Choose a color. This will make that speaker name the color you’ve chosen.  Assigning colors gives the user a visual cue as to a potential speaker conflict.  Version 7 applies this color to that speaker’s BY line, another prompt to assure the proper speaker name is in place.

If you use speaker tokens, such as STPHAO and SKWRAO, and have those defined in your dictionary as something like LEFT1, ATTY1, PLAINTIFF1, etc., that is where you start to fill in your table. For the first slot, fill in the Master field with your dictionary entry, not the steno. Leave the Current field blank to be filled on the job. Assign a color to each slot.

Regardless of how important your judge is, put THE COURT at slot 8, filling in both sides of the table with THE COURT.

Before you leave your speaker list, make sure the Save in and Load from boxes are checked in the lower left corner under Job dict.  When you select this job dictionary, these speakers will be loaded, which is a great help for continuing cases.

Below is an example of what a speaker table should look like. Note that the entries under Master will change based on your own speaker tokens. Screenshot 2015-06-04 16.08.31

When beginning a realtime file, the speaker table should open.  If it doesn’t, use F2 to manually open it. On the top line of the table, type the name of the speaker that you are assigning to your first speaker token. The first empty field will automatically be populated with that name. Continue on in the same way with the rest of the speaker names. Another way of doing this is to click the space you wish to assign, click Change or use Alt+C and fill in the Current field.

Now, as to why it is important to have THE WITNESS in slot 0 and THE COURT in slot 8. Edit macros. These are built into the macro list already. Pgh.>THE WITNESS, Speedkey Ctrl+0 Pgh.>THE COURT, Speedkey Ctrl+8 Pgh.>Speaker 1, Speedkey Ctrl+1 Pgh.>Speaker 2, Speedkey Ctrl+2 up through slot 6. Slot 7 and 9 on are not preassigned macros.

The speedkey designations are the shortcut numbers in the speaker list. This changes the current paragraph label to the corresponding speaker label, whether it be a misidentified speaker or an unlabeled paragraph.

Scopists and proofreaders are familiar with these shortcuts and use them instinctively, particularly Ctrl+0 for THE WITNESS. If the table is set up in a different manner, efficiency is affected. Scopists will often rearrange these speakers to suit their needs when editing locally; in Version 6, scopists build their own speaker tables to their liking as they learn the names in Connection Magic Shared Editing (CMSE). The reporter’s speaker table setup has been less important because of this flexibility.

Now that Version 7 shares the speaker table in CMSE, it is important that everyone is using the same system. Any change in the table will apply to everyone’s view, so individual modification is not an option.  Following these steps will help your team be more efficient and accurate in editing your daily transcript. Understanding the power of the speaker table will help you, as the reporter, be more efficient in your own editing as well.

Note: For the experienced user who has assigned THE COURT to a slot other than 8, there is no reason to change your ways. The Ctrl+8 macro will insert THE COURT regardless of where your speaker is in the list. The speedkey where you have assigned THE COURT will work as these macros are meant to do. The only caveat we offer is to reserve 0 for THE WITNESS as that is what most scopists know and use, whether with Ctrl+0 or F2+0.

The Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade understands the importance of efficiency and accuracy. Through teamwork and preplanning, we can accomplish our common goal:  a stellar transcript in the shortest time possible.

Making Eclipse Work For You: The Translate Tab

© BrenDeBev (all publication rights reserved)

Most of us use our software every day without really understanding or even being aware of many of the features available to help fine-tune our user experience. Today we are launching a series of blog posts, Making Eclipse Work for You, that will explore Eclipse’s user settings.  We begin with the Translate tab.

1.  Insert missing BY lines. Checking this box will instruct Eclipse to insert a by line after colloquy while you are writing.  No need to remember to use your speaker symbol when returning from colloquy or marking an exhibit.  At the beginning of an examination, stroke your speaker symbol and the Q, and Eclipse will remember which speaker to insert until you write a new speaker+Q (or Q+speaker) combination.  This is a win-win, saving time on both the reporting and editing sides of the job.

2.  Convert ANSWER to: THE WITNESS. For those of you who designate the deponent/witness on the stand as THE WITNESS after colloquy, this is a real timesaver.  The answer symbol will serve both purposes when this option is selected.

3. Pick 1st conflict choice by default. This is also a great timesaver. Use this feature and your RT feed will never display another conflict.  For best results, set up your conflicts so that the most common word is always the first choice. That way, at least 50 to 60% of the time, the choice made by Eclipse will be the correct one.  NOTE:  Checking this box does not override the AI rules Eclipse has already learned.  This feature is only triggered when Eclipse is unable to make a logical guess at a conflict based on the words around it.

4.  Tie related items.  This is a simple check box which will beautify your transcripts as you write by keeping title designations and numbers “tied” to their partners.  Mr. Smith will stay on the same line without the need to define the title with a lockspace {~}.  Dates, addresses, and other digits will tie to the words around them thanks to this small adjustment.  This also means that some number-word combinations will get a lockspace that isn’t strictly necessary, but that’s a small price to pay when you consider all the dictionary and editing time saved.

Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade understands the importance of excellent realtime output right from the start. This continuing series of tips is intended to help reporters supply a more polished realtime feed to those in the room while also making the most effective use of offsite editors during the Connection Magic Shared Editing process. For more information about working with the experienced editors at Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade, please contact us at transcriptbrigade@gmail.com.

Building a Connection Magic Shared Editing (CMSE) Prep Kit

© BrenDeBev (all publication rights reserved)

As a skilled court reporter, you’ve learned to cope with unexpected challenges without skipping a beat: the technical expert with the Martian accent, the attorney who speaks at 350 words per minute because he has a plane to catch at 3:00 p.m., the writer that suddenly refuses to connect with CAT software, the Wi-Fi connection that drops in the middle of a proceeding, the telephonic connections that snap, crackle, and pop. You came, you saw, you conquered.

But there’s one challenge that few are truly prepared for: the moment when the call comes in that tomorrow’s all-day job is now a daily.

Not to worry. By gathering a few items for your CMSE Prep Kit, you can meet this challenge as readily as you have all the others.

“But why do I need to prepare NOW? I may never need such a team. I don’t even work with a scopist/proofreader on a regular basis. What’s the point in spending time on it NOW? I’m sure I can just post on Facebook and find all the help I need at a moment’s notice.”

Maybe; maybe not. Most quality scopists and proofreaders keep a full calendar of work. Forming a good team is always a challenge, even more so at the last minute. And, as we all know, even the most “foolproof” technology can behave like an unruly child, especially when there’s no time to troubleshoot or learn.

So where do you start?

First, begin lining up a team of scopists and proofreaders NOW who have extensive knowledge and experience with daily and immediate turnaround work. Searching for quality help when there is no time for due diligence is a sure recipe for disaster.

Second, agree upon a form of communication that will afford all parties the fastest response time possible.

Third, notify your team as soon as you learn of an impending daily. Send your team any word lists, prior transcripts, or any other information you have that may contain spellings/terms/parties pertinent to the case.

Fourth, if using Connection Magic, set up a test session with your team of scopists and proofreaders, preferably at the location where the job will take place. Even if you can’t access the job location, a test from home will help you become more familiar with the necessary steps to help alleviate frazzled nerves on the all-important day.

Finally, relax. You now can accept with confidence that daily turnaround job, knowing that you are equipped with a secret weapon — a skillful team of scopists and proofreaders working alongside you with one goal in mind — delivering a finished, polished transcript in record time to your adoring fans – er, attorneys.

At Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade, we eliminate many of these steps by providing you with an accomplished team of professionals who are accustomed to working together, have processes already in place to facilitate communication with you and each other, are familiar with the most common technical pitfalls and how to surmount them, and who will work tirelessly with you to produce that beautiful transcript on time. For more information about our services, please contact us at transcriptbrigade@gmail.com.

Let Go and Let Us

© BrenDeBev (all publication rights reserved)

One of the fun things about realtiming, whether for yourself alone or to others, is seeing your mistakes and being able to address them on the fly, either by using really cool macros from the writer or reaching to the computer keyboard and executing a few quick strokes, thereby having a beautiful view.

Enter the even cooler world of Connection Magic and shared editing, where these changes get made for you and your viewers without a single bit of effort on the side of the reporter.  The scopist is there, addressing issues, creating a final transcript while the reporter works at capturing the record.

“But what about those cool keyboard macros?  We love keyboard macros to fix our boo-boos! We have developed and perfected these!  We can’t let go of these gems!”

And that is understandable.  But when working with scopists in Connection Magic, that creates problems. Changing things back beyond what the reporter sees on the screen can create havoc for the scopist(s) working in the file behind the reporter, potentially negatively affecting things already either globaled or edited.  The scopist will catch the boo-boos, will global terms as they are encountered.

Because of the way collaborative editing works in Connection Magic, editing by more than one person in the same spot can have disturbing results:  disappearing and reappearing text, jumbled text, fighting text.  It is important for everyone to keep their distance and not get into each other’s way, reporters and editors alike.

Reporters, by all means, global and address things you see on your screen, but global forward only. Don’t use “All” and global behind your view.  If a global made by the reporter affects an edit or a global in an unexpected way behind the editors, that may not be caught, even in spell-check. Remember that you are always moving forward, with your team behind you. And don’t scroll back trying to find misstrokes, address punctuation issues, resolve conflicts.  That is what you are paying a realtime scopist to do, after all.

Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade understands the faith which has been entrusted to us by our clients in creating their final transcript, the transcript bearing their name.  We take that trust seriously and strive to fulfill it with each transcript, proving your trust is well placed with each new job. Our team has extensive experience in realtime scoping and proofreading. You do the writing; we’ll do the rest.  Let go and let us!

Regular, Rush, Expedite, Overnight, Daily, Immediate: A Definition of Turnaround Times from the Editors’ Perspective

© BrenDeBev (all publication rights reserved)

One of the most important aspects of a successful reporter-editor relationship is a clear understanding of the expectations of both sides, one of the most important being turnaround time.

Regular Delivery

This is the most typical turnaround time. Both reporter and scopist/proofreader have the maximum number of days to return the transcript in finished form, as dictated by local practices, agency rules, and client requirements.

Rushes or Expedites

Anything due in a shorter time than regular but longer than 24 hours is considered a rush/expedite.  When a transcript becomes expedited for the reporter, time is compressed even more for the editors.  Two-day turnaround for the reporter is really 24 hours or less for the scopist in order to allow for proofreading and finalization.

Daily/Immediate

Daily and immediate are sometimes used interchangeably. “Daily” generally means next morning or within 24 hours.  “Immediate” means same-day delivery, though “daily” is often used to describe this service as well. In order for the scopist and proofreader to turn out a transcript that quickly, the reporter and scopist+proofreader must use the quickest transmission methods possible. While Dropbox Intervals can be used in this way, the ideal method is Connection Magic collaborative editing. The quickest turnaround time is only possible with Connection Magic. Whether using Connection Magic or Dropbox Intervals, however, this method requires the highest degree of proficiency on the part of reporter, scopist, and proofreader – and commands the highest page rate for all concerned.

Connection Magic collaborative editing, allowing for a completed transcript at the end of the day, sounds almost too good to be true, and reporters may dream of utilizing that magic for every transcript, regardless of turnaround time expectations from counsel or agencies. What a wonderful concept, to come home at night and have a fully scoped and proofed transcript ready to be turned in! No rushing around trying to get that transcript done while others are waiting as well!  A service made in heaven!

But not so fast.  When scopists and proofreaders are working in that Connection Magic environment, they are working in immediate copy mode. They are putting aside the rest of their work, the rest of their lives to make the best transcript in the shortest amount of time. If the reporter is receiving regular-turnaround or even rush rates, paying scopists and proofreaders for same-day work simply isn’t cost-effective.

It is for this reason that Perfect Partners Transcript Brigade restricts its business to same-day, immediate-turnaround transcripts. We produce the highest quality transcripts as quickly as possible, allowing reporters to deliver impressively timed transcripts to their clients. Not only does the reporter regain her life (and at least some of her sanity), but the attorneys get their lives back too. No more waiting (and working) until midnight for that day’s final transcript. No more three hours of sleep per night until the trial is over. And, best of all, no more anxious inquiries every hour wondering when that final will finally be ready.

So if you’re ready to get your life back, even when you have a three-week trial with multiple parties, multiple copy orders, multiple realtime feeds, and every other complexity in existence, we can help. To learn more, please contact us via this page, our FB page, or via email at transcriptbrigade@gmail.com

Scopist, Proofreader, Scoofer: What do they do?

© BrenDeBev (all publication rights reserved)

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 transcriptbrigade@gmail.com.

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