There are times where scoping can be a lot of fun, like when you’re scoping a juicy testimony about a drama-filled affair, for instance. Or when two attorneys spend time on the record arguing with one another (which happens more often than you would think). Scoping CAN be a lot of fun, but it most definitely is hard work. It takes focus, dedication, and a strong sense of the English language to do it well. The process of becoming a scopist is slightly different for everyone, but my path below can be used as a framework to start on your own path.
First and foremost, you must be a keen reader. I grew up in a household of readers, and I never stopped once the digital revolution hit. I read so much that I’ve also dabbled in writing. I’ve written several short stories for my college literary magazine and self-published a novel available here. You do not need to be a fan of writing to be a scopist, but you do need to be a fan of reading, and the two tend to go hand in hand.
I also got a job working in the production department of a significant court reporting agency. Long before I ever scoped a job, I was able to see the process first hand on how transcripts get produced. This knowledge was somewhat invaluable as it taught me basic terms, industry standards, and gave me necessary networked connections to branch out on my own. Again, this is not necessary for everyone. I bet it’s not even all that common for most people, but it is my story, and I would highly recommend having some involvement in the industry if you want to commit your career to it.
Technology is always evolving, and this industry has, and will, evolve with it. Being abreast of most technological advances is mandatory. I’m not talking about coding programs and hacking networks (I’ve never been able to do either). Still, you do need to know how to use Microsoft Office, how to send and receive large files using dropbox or FTP, how to perform routine computer maintenance, and how to back up your data regularly. I know of a reporter who still uses floppy disks, but I also know a lot more reporters who use dropbox and get a lot more work. The more advanced you are with technology, the fewer limitations you will have finding jobs.
Last, but most certainly not least, I would highly recommend signing up for the Internet Scoping School. It is a thorough, step-by-step instructional course designed to train you on the craft of scoping. It’s completely online so that you can take the course in your own home at your own pace. Those who have trouble with motivation should not take this course, or become a scopist at all for that matter. No-one is going to hold your hand through either. You either put in the work, or you don’t. It took me two years from start to finish while simultaneously working full-time and moving in the middle to complete this course.
“Failure is a feeling long before it becomes an actual result. It’s vulnerability that breeds with self-doubt and then is escalated, often deliberately, by fear.” – Michelle Obama