Tuesday, March 29, 2016

What is Satisfactory Evidence of ID?

In this article, we'll discuss satisfactory evidence as it applies to identifying signers.  Many notaries believe that satisfactory evidence of identification means that any identification documents presented must be conclusive and perfect.

Suppose a signer presents a document and the signer's ID doesn't match the name stated on the document, notaries will often refuse to go forward with the notarial act even though they don't doubt that the person holding the ID is the same person in the document.

If this is your approach, please consider the following remarks from two attorneys who have spent many years examining notary laws.  I totally agree with these gentlemen and they are far more competent than I to make determinations of these types. (Note: As most of you know, I work for the American Association of Notaries.  By quoting competitors below, I hope to give credibility to the definition of "Satisfactory Evidence of ID." They've got it right.)

Bill Anderson of the NNA describes satisfactory evidence  perfectly in WWYD: The Case Of The Unidentifiable Signer-Your Answers:

"As with many scenarios, your best course of action depends on your state’s notarial laws. 
In Florida and California, satisfactory evidence of identity means the absence of any suspicious circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to believe the signer is not who he or she claims to be."

Attorney Peter J. Van Alstyne founder of NotaryLaw.com explains “satisfactory evidence” in his article, The Notary's Duty of Care for Identifying Document Signers* in this manner:

“In relying on satisfactory evidence, the correct question for the notary is not whether it is possible that the document signer is an impostor, but whether there is sufficient probability the signer is who he claims to be.
This important standard is not unlike the legal axiom that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Although the document signer bears the burden of proof as to his true identity, there should never be a presumption of attempted false identity on the signer's part unless the notary reveals such falsity through the presentation of satisfactory evidence.” 
*Article download available a limited time. I have shared my copy of Van Alstyne's article via my Dropbox account. I can only allow a few downloads since it is copyrighted material. If the link no longer works when you click it, it is because it was downloaded the number I am limited to sharing.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Nine Important Tips: Loose Certificates and Recordable Documents

More to Read Here:


When you produce your own loose certificates for use on documents that have none, follow these principles:

  1. Clear 1" Margins - Certificates should be printed with a clear one-inch margin around the edge of the document.
  2. Space at Bottom on Last Page -You should also leave at least three inches of space that is clear on the bottom of the page if it is going to be the last page of the document.  Actually, it’s better to leave six inches at the bottom of the last page to cover all your bases on recording requirements throughout Texas. 
  3. Color of Printed Text - Print using toner or ink that will produce a very dark print; to be on the safe side, print in black.
  4. Font Size - Use only fonts of size of 10 pt. or higher. The font or print size requirement varies from recorder’s office to recorder’s office. The required sizes are between 8 pt. and 10 pt. Don’t take a chance on whether it’s 8 pt. or 10 pt.  If you create loose certificates for your own use, create them in a 10 pt. print or higher.  Also, don’t use certificate stamps to stamp certificate wording on a document if it is going to be recorded because most stamps have letters too small for this purpose.
  5. Paper Size - Don't use half-sheets. Use only the same sized paper as the document to be recorded.  According to PRIA, “… a variation of the certificate size would not necessarily cause a document to be rejected unless there is a local requirement governing page size which has been violated. (The document to be recorded should be printed on 8 ½” by 11” paper or on 8 ½ by 14” according to PRIA standards. Author’s note: one exception to these rules is when a Mylar plat must be signed and notarized; the certificate is printed on the plat.)
  6. Paper Weight- paper that is on white or nearly white paper of at least 20 lbs. weight.  
  7. Ink Color - Signatures (including the notary’s) should be in blue ink.  PRIA recommends blue so that it stands out against the black print of the document and certificate.  Other than blue, black ink or another dark color may be used.  Red, pink, orange, etc. would not be considered dark.  
  8. No Blanks in Notarial Certificate - Notarial certificates must not contain blanks; draw a straight line through blanks that have no relevance to your notarial act.  
  9. Complete any Options - The notary should make a clear selection of items like “he/she” or “personal knowledge/government issued ID/credible witness.”

Pria.us - Real Estate Document Formatting (March 2000) and Notary Best Practices for Recordable Documents (2011) – collected on 1/29/16.
Stewart Title Recording Fees and Requirements – collected on 2/22/16.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Visiting a Neighborhood Notary in the 1960s

Old School Embosser

I remember as a small child of about six years old going with my grandfather to visit Mr. Barnhill, our local notary, a quiet old fellow who lived a few blocks from us in our small coast town in Texas near the mouth of the Brazos River. My grandparents were simple people, but on a few occasions, one of them would have a rare matter of important business that required notarial services.

The notary lived in a blue clapboard house with white trim and in his yard was planted a small white sign with black letters that said “Notary Public.” Citizens didn’t call ahead, they just showed up and knocked on the notary’s front door.

Mr. Barnhill’s notary journal was not much different than the ones we use today. His handwriting, a beautiful antique script, filled page after page of entry lines, and he kept a folded index card in it to mark his place for the next customer.

Texas notaries, Please join me in the Texas
Notary Professionals Group on Facebook!  Click here!  
We can't wait to meet you!

Mr. Barnhill used a heavy metal and brass embosser that sat gloriously on the corner of his desk. The first time I saw it in action, I swear it had an aura of golden light around it. Its impression didn’t have his name or commission expiration date on it, only the words “Notary Public, State of Texas” around a five-point star. Back out in my grandfather’s car, I would ask to feel the raised impression of the notary’s seal on the thick bond paper.

Even a little girl of six could tell that a visit to the notary was an important event.

I would love to tell you that because my grandparents held Mr. Barnhill in such high regard, I decided to become a notary about twenty years later-- alas,in truth, it was the only way I knew to get my hands on one of those impressive embossers!

Do you have a notary memory from your childhood? Post it in the comments or send it to texasnotarypublisher@gmail.com

Notice:  Sponsored links help support the costs of annual maintenance fees for maintaining this site; clicking the links on this page that lead to Amazon may pay this website between 0% and 6% of the purchase of any product noted on this page.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Case of Paper (10 Reams) $34.32 /Free Delivery

Amazon's Free Business Account turned up some pretty good finds on a paper search.  I haven't used Member's Mark paper and I haven't ordered them to see how the delivery is.  But, I do have a free business account and it's looking pretty awesome right now.  Amazon's Free Business Accounts provides these benefits:
  • FREE Two-Day shipping (for orders with $49 or more OR with $25 in books)
  • Business pricing. 

It doesn't look like an Amazon Business Account is necessary to get the delivered price of under $35.

SPONSORED LINKS:  Amazon pays the publisher of links to its site between 0%-%6 for any purchases made as a result thereof. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Notary Signing Agent Problem - When the signer's name on ID doesn't match the documents

To read this article, click here!
On occasion, a borrower's name is stated differently on his or her loan documents than on the ID presented to the signing agent.

Why does this happen?

It's not because the title company or loan officer was "lazy" as some notaries say.  (By the way, I'm not a lawyer, and I don't play one on television, but I have had quite a bit of training in the mortgage, legal, and title world.)

I wrote a long article about this for the AAN.)

What can you (as the signing agent) do about it?  

To find the answer to these questions and more, read this article.

Making More Money as a Notary (Not Just Notary Signing Agent Work)

How to make more money as a notary
(aside from loan work)
Marketing Your Non-Loan Notary Services
a book by Laura Vestanen

About ten years ago, the author of this book allowed me to review a copy of it.  It was great then, and my sources say that since then, she has improved it and expanded it quite a bit.

From the link on Amazon:

"You will learn:
*Which marketing materials you need - and which you don't
*How to learn about the demographics of your area
*How to interpret the resultant data to recognize potential clients
*Which government agencies offer free professional consultations
*The types of documents needing notarization and the people who need them
*How to get referrals
*How to get yourself known in your community
*How to avoid being run out of business by Bar Associations
*How to handle specific types of signing situations"

This post contains links explained on this page.

Texas Notaries - SOS Recommends: Don't Certify Copies of Driver Licenses and Passports

In 2011, the SOS said in an email to me that we could certify copies of driver licenses and passports. I have recently revisited this issue with the SOS, and it is recommended now that we allow the person who needs a "notarized copy" of the driver license or passport make a statement about it and notarize the statement.

I provide services to a sector of the population that needs "notarized copies" of  driver licenses and passports to obtain Visas.  I have a form from a visa service for this purpose and if you are interested, I wrote extensively about that in yesterday's article, "How to Get a Notarized Copy..."


Reading List for the Notaries and Notary News (All Articles Since January 1, 2016)

A quickly scanned list of all articles on this since January 1, 2016 is listed on the Notary News Reading List.  You don't have to search this blog for titles...just check this list often and scroll through for topics of interest.

Alert for Notary Websites with Ads or Endorsements of Notary Products

This information is just an FYI.  I am not attempting to give legal advice...as I have often said, I am not a lawyer, and I don't play one on television! However, upon reading an article from Lexology this morning, I decided to take action on my website and share this information.  Let me know what you think!!  Email me at texasnotarypublisher AT gmail DOT com or post in the comments.


Do you have Google Ads, Amazon Associate links, or other paid endorsements on your website from notary trainers, notary supplies vendors, or notary software with whom you have worked out an affiliate publishing arrangement? By this, I mean you get paid a small percentage for any clicks or purchases that go through your website.

If so, it would probably be a good idea to read this article from Lexology, a favorite source for me when looking for news that affects notaries public. Also, take a look at the principles that are recommended by many big advertisers and  article, "Advertising Law," and a publication from the FTC.

From "Advertising Law"...
Why it matters: In 2016, the FTC will likely begin to aggressively monitor native ads, as it has aggressively monitored other forms of sponsored content. The Commission will likely bring carefully chosen native advertising cases to further elucidate and clarify its thinking in this area. As advertisers think about native advertising going forward, they should pay close attention to the FTC’s guidance when evaluating whether, when, where, and how to effectively disclose to consumers that content is sponsored. The FTC has made very specific recommendations regarding how and when disclaimers should appear that have important implications for both native advertising and sponsored content in social media more generally.
Until I know otherwise, I have jumped in to add a page (FTC Disclosure) to Notaries and Notary News with information about ads or affiliate links displayed on this site. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Reliving the Mortgage Crisis Tonight; Watching "The Big Short"

The Big Short is FINALLY available on Amazon. It's what I'm watching tonight!
Newbies:  this is why there was both a mortgage boom and bust.
Based on the true story of four outsiders who saw what the big banks, media and government refused to: the global collapse of the economy. A bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of banking, where everyone and everything is in question.

I love having a Roku connected to my television.  

Please Read FTC Disclosure.

Consumer Article: How to Get a Notarized Copy of a Driver's License (if a notary says he or she can't do that)

This post isn't for notaries, it's for members of the public who are seeking a notary to notarize a copy of a driver's license.
One of the things I commonly run into are clients who need notarized copies of their driver licenses or passports.  Unfortunately, that's not doable for many notaries because of state laws.   In Texas, the Secretary of State recommends that we allow the client to write a statement about the driver license copy and notarize the statement.

Notaries are NOT allowed to provide this statement for the client.  That would be the unauthorized practice of law.

I prepare a lot of "notarized copies" for a sector of the population needing visas.  The form below which is one that I have gotten from a visa service. I have used this form personally and for several visa applicants. It has worked fine for me and them.

Visa preparation services recommend that the notary's seal be on the same page as the copy.  Using the text below, you can manipulate an image of the driver license into the area noted below. The notary's seal, your signature, and the copy are on the same page. This form would work for TEXAS notaries, but other states MAY require different wording in the notary's certificate (at the bottom where it says "SWORN TO and subscribed before me...").  If not in Texas, you'll need to find an example of the notarial certificate called a "jurat" or "verification upon oath" and replace that text.   You should probably just find a notary, ask him or her what the words need to be, and make that substitution for the jurat.

I am not a lawyer, and I don't play one on television.  Use of this form is at your own risk.   You can download a fillable PDF form with the same disclaimer  here.  

(You can also access one for a notarized copy of a passport here.)


State of _______________                    §

County of ______________                   §

On this day personally appeared before me ___________________________, “Affiant” herein, who after being sworn upon his or her oath stated:

“My name is __________________________________________.  

I swear upon penalty of perjury this is a true and accurate copy of my driver’s license issued by the State of _________________, the original of which is in my custody. My current address is shown below on the copy of my driver’s license.


                                         IMAGE OF DRIVER LICENSE

Affiant’s Signature:         _____________________________________  Date: ______________ 

Affiant’s Printed Name:   _____________________________________

State of _______________
County of ______________

SWORN TO AND SUBSCRIBED before me on this ____ day of _______________, ____ by ___________________________.

NOTARY PUBLIC, STATE OF _______________
NAME PRINTED: _________________________

COMMISSION EXPIRES: ___________________

Please Read FTC Disclosure.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Update: Maryland Remote Notarization Bill Report is "Unfavorable."

This updates a previous post.

It looks like the bill has died in committee.

Status: Unfavorable Report by Committee. "Withdrawn."

Interesting testimony about the bill - see video:

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Notarial Practice in the State of Florida (Book endorsement)

I strongly endorse this book for Florida notaries!
Some of you may know Robert Koehler from various notary forums.

I met him about four years ago on NotaryRotary.com and over the years, we've become friends.

Recently, I ordered his book Notarial Practice in the State of Florida after it produced (during a Google search) a bit of information that I sought while researching a topic for an article.

The book is great and would benefit any Florida notary.

By the way, Robert is also one of only seventeen state-approved notary educators in Florida.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Marketing Tip: Make Your Own Notary Stamp

What makes a good marketing give-away for notaries?

The best marketing pieces for making you and your notary services memorable to clients or potential clients are those that
- Don't cost $250 to buy the minimum amount
-Are kept in a desk drawer or purse because they have actual value to the people you send them to
-Are seen regularly or thought of as an item of value making YOU also valuable and memorable!

Step 1 - Make a "notary stamp" at Zazzle.com

So, am I telling you to send a postage stamp with your picture on it to a client?

Yes, I am! Send clients or targeted clients custom made postage stamps on the outside of colorful envelopes. When they open the envelope, they'll be delighted that you sent them a real postage stamp.  Each recipient will hang onto this little item appreciatively for that inevitable moment when they need to send something by snail mail.

Step 2 - Color coordinate this easy marketing
campaign with brightly colored envelopes.
Your targeted client
WILL like this little gift.
WILL appreciate that it's useful and unique
WILL keep it in his or her desk and remember that it's there if it's needed.
WON'T toss it in the trash can
WON'T put it in a pen holder and never use it
WON'T give it away

Easy to do...
Step 3 - Match your paper clips
with the envelopes and stamp design.

1-Make your own notary postage stamps using Zazzle.com (a site recommended by the USPS).

2-Apply them to the outside of  colorful, attention getting envelopes as postage. Under your return address, include a tagline like:
"1st Class Notary Stamp Enclosed!"
"Enclosed:  1st Class Stamp from a 1st Class Notary"

3-Use one of your freshly minted notary postage stamps to mail the item and include another inside of the envelope.  Attach the gift-stamp to your business card with a colorful paper clip.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Want to swap a link? One here for one on your website?

Five backlinks sought!

If you have great notary content on your website, please link to me, send me an URL where my link is and I will gladly link back to you on one or more of my main pages.

Questions?  My email address is TexasNotaryPublisher@gmail.com.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Texas Notary Professionals Group Kicked Off Big Today!

We've got about 25 members now and growing!

If you are a Texas Notary Professional, join us on our Facebook Group.  We're starting discussions and getting to know one another.

Jump into the mix!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Free!! Digital Desk Reference of TEXAS LAWS for TEXAS NOTARY PROFESSIONALS

I recommend training from the AAN's Texas Online Notary Course.

I receive no incentive or commission for saying this.  

In full disclosure, I helped proofread and edit this course. It is an amazingly detailed training course that will provide you with insight on how to handle almost every conceivable issue you will face as a Texas notary public. 

Introducing the Digital Desk Reference of Laws for Texas Notary Professionals!

Click here to enter your name and email address.
You'll receive a link via email within a few minutes so you can download my free desk reference!

On page 11 there's an invitation for Texas notaries 

to join my Texas Notary Professionals group on Facebook, plus more! 

Texas notary laws are different than most states in that our notary laws are scattered out all over the Texas statutes.

I decided to make my own law book that I could carry with me on my iPad or phone.

After using my self-made digital notary law book, I realized that Texas notaries would benefit from the use of a similar tool.  I spruced it up a little for you and I'm sharing it right here on NotariesAndNotaryNews.com!

This volume isn’t a great work of art, but it is a powerful resource for Texas Notary Professionals! 

I’m not an attorney and I don’t play one on television!  Please understand that what you have in your hands is only a replication of my own personal Digital Desk Reference. Any comments in it are only the musings of a Texas notary.  IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE and that’s why the price of this volume is $0.00 -- FREE.  Sorry, but I also have to say this:  The use of the book is at your own risk and the author and publisher is not responsible for its contents or errors you may find in it.

In this Digital Desk Reference for Texas Notary Professionals, you’ll find…

The bulk of this book are laws copied from the Texas statutes, organized and included in a table of contents to give them ready accessibility. 

For instance, I have included the law from the Texas Business and Commerce Code that says Texas notaries must not include thumbprints of signers in their journals and a section from the Texas Civil Procedures and Remedies Code on how acknowledgments can cause technical defects in documents.

Where it made sense to include all of a section’s text, I included it.  If there were just one or two sub-sections that related to your duties, I included only those.  Also, you’ll find that not every sub-section is noted in the Table of Contents because they were only there for reference purposes.  I went through all the laws and made Table of Contents headings for the sub-sections that I felt were important to include.

Again, keep in mind, I’m not your attorney!  These headings and this Digital Desk Reference’s contents are for convenience only and may be included or not included in error or based on the author’s non-expert/non-lawyer opinion.

All of the sections of laws included in this Digital Desk Reference have an introductory section and some have articles that explain why they are important.

This list will help you find almost anything you need as a Texas notary. From free training materials from the Secretary of State that you may not have known about, to an online training course that I recommend, to quick links to laws, and more!

How to use this Digital Desk Reference
Print it out and put it in a notebook, or save it to your computer, the cloud, or on your smart phone or tablet.  Have it with you wherever your mobile notary business takes you!

You can look at the Table of Contents to locate anything you need to know. 

When using it with Adobe Reader on your computer, simply use the “Find” (CTRL+F) command to locate topics you’re looking for.  When you’re finished reading that page, look at the bottom where you’ll find a link “Go to TOC” and skip back to the beginning of the Table of Contents in a jiffy.

Please note that in my experience, the “Go to TOC” function doesn’t work on mobile devices and you must scroll back to the top of the document to locate the Table of Contents.

Thanks for reading!

Brenda Stone

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Fill in your Calendar with Transcription Work (Part II)

If you want to know why I'm writing articles like this, read Seven Reasons Why...  

Last night's blog entry about legitimate transcription work that you can do from home ended with promises to answer a few questions. Let's get right to it!

What companies hire brand new transcriptionists to work from home?
I didn't know the answer to that because most don't start in the legal transcription field like I did. I found a well-respected source that says the companies below will hire you if you can pass their tests.

Unique sites at which you should look.
Many transcriptionists like these because of the short jobs offered that can be wedged into almost any busy schedule.

  • Literably.com is an online company that I recently found. It seeks transcriptionists to listen to audio recordings of children reading.  Each recording is very short. The site claims that once you've got the system down you can earn $10 to $15 an hour performing this valuable task for children and teachers.
  • Mechanical Turk (an Amazon company) frequently offers small transcription jobs that many transcriptionists use to build their portfolios.
General Transcription Mini-CourseWhere can you get training and certification to become a transcriptionist?

Transcription Anywhere offers an awesome free course for those who want to see if transcription is right for them. If you like that, you can pay only $97  to enroll in Level 1 and gain a significant start on learning transcription skills from a recognized expert who owns Zoom Transcription. It's great that Transcription Anywhere allows you to dip in a toe and test the water before you jump into the pool!

How much does transcription pay at first?

If you are considering this as a side source of income because you have free hours to fill, transcription is a good, way to learn a valuable and needed skill. You won't have to leave the house, you won't have to pay for supplies, and your car won't be accumulating high mileage, so what you earn is profit minus taxes. But don't expect that you're going to make big bucks at the start.  That won't happen.

How much you earn will depend on how dedicated you are to building your skills. Transcription companies usually offer a certain amount per audio hour or minute. Keep in mind that you'll be typing what you hear and you can't type as fast as people talk.  Companies that will hire you at the beginning of your transcription career will offer around $10 to $30 per audio hour.  You won't make that amount per hour.  In fact, it will be about one-third to one-fourth of that while you learn how to transcribe.  But, if you aren't earning anything else during a few hours a day, why not learn a valuable skill and get paid for it?

What can be earned later?

As you gain transcribing skills or train to become a transcriptionist, your hourly rate will begin to jump just because you are getting faster.  With experience, you'll find better paying companies are willing to hire you.  As you expand your portfolio, you can start marketing to better clients--they ARE out there (take a look at this list) and if you start looking looking for clients on Guru.com or other freelance sites, there won't be a middleman brokering your services,  You'll begin to pick up steady clients.  If you have one or two of those, you'll be set. Transcriptionists can earn $21 per hour and more once they have become skillful. A few hours a day can turn into $1,000 or more per month.  I don't know about you, but that's worth getting up early and transcribing a little while before the day starts in my world!

Where can I get more information?

TranscriptionistEssentials.com  - the free go-to forum for general transcriptionists; the atmosphere is so calm you can almost hear classical music playing in the background.  (Calm in a good way, I mean.)
Freelance Transcription Road - this blog had me at "Welcome!" Blogger Janis Bennett is a star in her profession and she is the one who put the newbie company list together that I've included at the top of this article.
Work at Home Mom (WAHM)- the first website of its kind that I remember. This website is full of ideas on how to earn money while working from home and its members share experiences openly.

Seven Reasons I am Writing About Other Types of Work on Occasion (Aside from notary work, I mean.)

I've written about transcription work in two articles, and I'm going to sandwich in other types of work that notaries can do besides signing agent and mobile notary work among my notary-focused articles.


Fill in your Calendar with Transcription Work

Part I and Part II


There are several reasons for that, but here are my top seven.

I'm practical. I have never put all my eggs in one basket and I like to have a variety of baskets! For most of my adult life, I have had more than one source of income.

I'm an entrepreneur at heart.  I see a problem and offer a solution...for a price.

Small jobs add up!  I've seen first hand that if I do short tasks for a fee, even those that I get paid small amounts for, they can be bunched into one-hour segments of time five days a week. Those add up to $500 - $1,000 by the end of the month.  Why leave free money on the table?

Clients, bosses, employers, and industries are fickle.  I like to work and I like to feel good about what I do.  I'm an extremely dependable and loyal worker and if I can't feel valuable to a boss or client, it's probably time to part ways and find something new.  I won't limit myself to being a drudge tied to one skill or desk.

Notary work is a wonderful business, but we have to be flexible and ready to change as the economy shifts.  Some states are creating laws to allow online webcam notaries to work in any states they please.  I feel like we should all be ready with another strategy (beside notary work) if the time comes. I'm a fan of notary work and I plan to stay in the notary business as long as it is profitable, but I want to be able to change my course if the time comes.

One way to keep a notary business profitable is by taking ONLY assignments that pay well. Notaries feel they can't be so too choosy if they have nothing else to do with their time, so they will take low-paying assignments from questionable clients. It's always good to be able to think, "Hmmm.  I can go do this (other type of job), earn a better profit, use little or no gas or paper, and keep my calendar open for my better clients."

Notary work is our first love, BUT as that fabulous 70s song by Stephen Stills says so wisely

"...if you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with!" 

Hit the play button and enjoy!

Fill in your Calendar with Transcription Work (Part I)

If you want to know why I'm writing articles like this, read Seven Reasons Why...  

The other day, I was having lunch with a friend and she asked me if work-from-home transcription jobs were legit and if there was any real need for transcriptionists.
Click here to see the Express Scribe products 
I've used for over 10 years.

Yes! They are many legitimate transcription services seeking help and there is definitely a need for home workers to transcribe digital audio files.

Transcription is a wonderful skill to have as a stream of income or a fall back plan.

Being a speaker of English in the U.S.A. is a great advantage, too.

Some transcription work provided by American companies can be done in India and the Phillipines, but not the bulk of it. Most of it requires a transcriber whose first language is English.

My background in transcription is in the legal field.

 I am primarily a legal transcriptionist and have had years of experience working for attorneys and transcribing billing slips, meeting minutes, legal documents, personal correspondence, transactional documents, and others. I enjoy transcribing legal documents a great deal.

Transcriptionists are in demand for more than just legal documents.

And medical transcription isn't taking the lead.  General transcription jobs are available, too. For instance, who do you think does closed captioning for television programs and movies? That's right! Transcribers do.

And, remember how customer service representatives always tell you that your call maybe recorded for training purposes? It definitely is. Somewhere down the line, a typist will listen to your conversation and make it words on a page.

Don't worry about technology advancing too fast to replace transcriptionists. While software and apps like Dragon do a good job, they don't replace a human.  Transcriptionists also think and solve problems.  Software can't do that!

There's training available, but transcriptionists can start out learning on the job.

Much like with notary signing work, you'd need to start out working for middlemen -- and they certainly do take a cut out of your rate -- but look at it as a training ground.  Get a little experience under your belt, figure out how to do it, get faster, learn the industry, study it, and pay careful attention to each client's requirements for formatting.  Before you know it, you can start looking for direct work by running your own ads in well-targeted publications and bidding on jobs through Guru.com and other freelance websites.

Oh! Before, I forget to mention it, some transcriptionists say that even Craigslist ads bring them lots of work!  I noticed today that a couple of decent companies are advertising on Craigslist for typists and transcriptionists in all fifty states.

What you need to get started:

-- Desire to be successful at a skill that will convert to a stream of income.
-- Being able to type accurately and at a reasonable speed is also important.

-- At minimum, a computer and free software like Express Scribe by NCH.com.au.

-- Comfortable workspace.

Invest 75 - $150 in your new side business and start out with a professional's tools.

Most professional transcriptionists (including me) have a foot pedal that connects to their computers with a USB plug. It makes a typist faster and more efficient.  I can't transcribe without a foot pedal because I have used one for about 30 years, going way back to when typists converted cassette tapes to paper documents.  Digital is so much better!  I'm on my second Express Scribe set-up.  My little rescue dog Harry, chewed my cord in two, so I had to replace it when I wanted to use it and couldn't because it was totally destroyed.

The bundle in the picture is the package I have.  It includes Express Scribe Professional, a great asset because it will play video as well as audio.  Since much of today's transcription comes from courtrooms, legislative sessions, and conversations between inmates and visitors, all of which have been recorded on video, some transcription companies require their home workers to have the paid version of Express Scribe that includes the video component.

So, where are all those companies dying to hire you?  How much does it pay and where can you get training and certification?

I'll cover that and more tomorrow, in Part II!

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