From a report: On any given day, from her home on the Isle of Man, Linda Watson might be reading a handwritten letter from one Confederate soldier to another, or a list of convicts transported to . Or perhaps she is reading a will, a brief from a long-forgotten legal case, an original Jane Austen manuscript. Whatever is in them, these documents made their way to her because they have one thing in common: They’re close to impossible to read. Watson’s company, Transcription Services, has a rare specialty — transcribing historical documents that stump average readers. Once, while talking to a client, she found the perfect way to sum up her skills. […] Since she first specializing in old documents, Watson has expanded beyond things written in English. She now has a stable of collaborators who can tackle manuscripts in Latin, German, Spanish, and more. She can only remember two instances that left her and her colleagues stumped. One was a Tibetan manuscript, and she couldn’t anyone who knew the alphabet. The was in such bad shape that she had to admit defeat. In the business of reading old documents, Watson has few competitors. There is one transcription company on the side of the , in , that offers a similar service. Libraries and archives, when they have a giant batch of handwritten documents to deal with, might recruit volunteers.

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