Scopist: Employment Information for a Career in Scoping Technology

Learn what a scopist does, and find out about the education and training required to become this specialized kind of court reporter. See what the career prospects are in scoping technology to decide if this field is a good fit for you.

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Career Definition

Scopists are a type of court reporter that translates and edits the shorthand notation of court stenographers into standard, written court transcripts. They use computer software to translate the phonetic language used by stenographers and carefully proofread their work. Scopists often must look up legal, medical, and technical terms to render them correctly in their transcripts. Scopists work from home or in the offices of stenographers or lawyers.

Become a Scopist

Education Required

There is no formal educational requirement for beginning a career as a scopist, but strong English language and grammar skills are necessary. Scopist training programs are available at vocational schools and online. The National Court Reporters Association offers certificate and training programs for court reporters that can be beneficial to scopists. These training programs introduce the software programs used by scopists, as well as note reading and transcript production.

Required Skills

Scopists must have excellent grammar and proofreading skills. They also must learn the special shorthand used by stenographers in order to translate it. Scopists must possess a commitment to accuracy since their work becomes part of the legal record. Additionally, scopists must have exceptional concentration skills to maintain focused on proofing translations.

Career and Economic Outlook

The number of jobs for scopists may be limited because their work increasingly is being performed by machine translation software. Also, the software used by scopists can cost up to $1,500. However, there still are jobs for talented and efficient scopists who market their services effectively. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), court reporters, including scopists, will see a 10% growth in jobs from 2012-2022, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. Additionally, the median annual wage for court reporters is $48,160, as of May 2012.

Alternative Career Options

Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists listen to physicians' audio recordings of patient diagnoses, reports, test results, correspondence, and related material and transcribe them into text-based material. They proofread their transcripts prior to sending them to physicians for final approval. Medical transcriptionists can complete a certificate or associate's degree program to prepare for this career; professional certification is also available. The BLS predicts that medical transcriptionists can expect job growth of 8% from 2012-2022; the agency also reported that medical transcriptionists earned median pay of $34,020 in 2012.

Translator

Translators are fluent in more than one language and can convey written information and ideas from one language into another, keeping as much of the same meaning and style as possible. Much of a translator's work is done on a computer using specialized tools. According to the BLS, the self-employment rate for translators was roughly 20% in 2012. A translator's fluency and skill in performing translation work are weighed heavily by prospective employers; previous experience is often required. Education requirements can vary, although a minimum of a bachelor's degree is common, and some technical fields require a master's degree in that field. Translators can also earn professional certification. According to the BLS, jobs in this field are expected to increase 46% from 2012-2022. The median pay of translators was $45,430 in 2012, per the BLS.

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