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Realtime: Say yes to rough drafts!

By Sandy VanderPol

With teamwork and technology, your rough drafts can be almost perfect – even if you don’t consider yourself a qualified realtime writer!

When you get the call to report a very difficult deposition or trial with an immediate rough draft request, you know what? Yes, you can! With available technology that allows your scopist to access and edit your transcript simultaneously while you write, the quality and turnaround time of your rough draft can meet or exceed the expectation of your client.

As a Case CATalyst reporter, my CAT software allows two options to provide daily copy transcripts or immediate rough drafts using a scopist. One option is to output “work units” every 15 to 20 minutes to a Dropbox folder shared with your scopist. These work units may contain both the text and the synched audio file. Access to the Dropbox by my scopist is seamless and accomplished in the background. The reporter’s focus is on what the client needs from you, to output your best realtime to the on-site end users.

The second option, which can be used when a same-day daily copy transcript is requested (and can be used for rough drafts also), is to use LogMeIn or Join Me. These two software products both work in a similar manner, allowing your scopist to remotely edit your transcript by having full control of your CAT computer. With your scopist simultaneously editing your transcript as you write, you don’t have to worry about correcting any mistranslates a few lines back, inserting punctuation, capitalizing, or researching unfamiliar terminology. Your focus, once again, is outputting your best realtime to your on-site end users. As an additional bonus, if you are outputting realtime on site via a wireless network, the edits your scopist makes will “refresh” to the end-users’ computers.

Be a champion of immediate rough drafts. Step up and take the prize – meeting the challenge and showcasing your skills and knowledge of technology!

Note: Check with your CAT vendor for their tested solutions.

Sandy VanderPol, RMR, CRR, is a freelancer in Lotus, Calif. She also holds NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator credential. She can be reached at