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Working Together with Greater Ease

There are times when proceedings are taken by two or more reporters, either in turns or in more than one session, that need to be combined into a single document. Even when all the reporters use the latest version of Case CATalyst, it can be a bit tricky to combine more than one take into a single document and then build an index, or to include all of the correct standard forms and certificates without having issues with regard to formatting and consistency. This becomes even more complex when reporters are not using the same version or even the same CAT software!

The trick to working together with greater ease is a little bit of planning, being aware of the capabilities of the software and finally, each team member having defined roles and responsibilities. If you can set this up before each person edits their portion, you can achieve a much easier and more efficient method for a team-produced transcript!

Here are a few tips that may help make working in partnership with another reporter a little easier.

  1. Having one person in charge of putting together the individual takes into a single document makes it a lot easier to work together. Determine in advance who will be combining the takes into a single transcript and designate this person as the team’s leader.
  2. When team members are using the same software, they should also be using the same layout and include files. The team’s leader should provide all team members with the preferred layout and any parentheticals and certificate includes that may be required.

Assuming that the team leader and any additional reporters are using CATalyst, it will be helpful if examination, exhibit, and other include files containing information to be included in the index contain any required index heading and index format symbols so that these do not need to be added later. Easy-to-use instructions should be sent to team members with the backup .zip containing the files.

If any team members will be using a different CAT software, it’s not possible to share layouts, however the CATalyst team leader can provide them a sample of what the final should look like, and a copy of any/all parentheticals in RTF format and direction to import the files and use them when translating/editing.

  1. The team leader should be responsible for creating the title/cover page, appearances, index, etc. Other team members should only be responsible for the proceedings, required parentheticals, and a certificate for the pages they edited/produced. They should also be asked to provide any obtained spellings or appearance information that may help the team leader when combining the files and proofing the job after it is combined.

Team members using CATalyst would send the job to the team leader in CATalyst format (it should not be converted to ASCII or RTF prior to sending). If any team members use the Eclipse software, they should send the job in Eclipse format (as CATalyst can import native Eclipse files and produce a superior import result than importing RTF or ASCII). Any team members using any other competitor’s CAT software should send the job in RTF format.

  1. Once the edited files have been received and imported, the team leader can use the Multi-File Append function to combine the text files into a single file.

If all team members are CATalyst users, and the correct index symbols were built into the parentheticals and speaker IDs as needed, building the index should simply be a matter of using Build Index with the corresponding Index Template. However, if any team members were not on CATalyst (or did not follow instructions as to correctly using the required index format symbols), the team leader will need to add the appropriate index heading and index format symbols.

This should be relatively quick and painless so long as the team members all used the same wording for examinations, exhibits and other indexed items and the team leader knows how to record a macro. Assuming this is correct, all the team leader would need to do is search for a key word or phrase that would be in all of the same type of indexed item (e.g. all examinations, or all exhibits, or all exhibits marked/identified, or all exhibits received/admitted; all certified questions, etc.) and select List Results. They can then navigate to each occurrence and record (the first time)/play (each subsequent occurrence) a macro to insert the required format symbols surrounding the item as needed; and repeat until all items of that type contain the required indexing format symbols. They can then repeat the process for the next indexed item. Even when there are a lot of examinations and exhibits, using tools that automate inserting the correct indexing symbols should make it a relatively quick process – and it will certainly be much faster than having to take notes and then type the information into a form!

Trying to figure out how to work together after reporters have done everything they know how to do on their own is not an efficient method, especially when you have reporters who use more than one software product. Planning ahead and knowing what variables you will need to take into consideration means a much faster, more efficient and easier process for everyone!

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