After some good progress, a hidden monkey wrench was discovered in the works. It was discovered when the latest updates to MS Office 2011 yielded immediate crashes trying top open any office app.
Problem traced down to a mismatch of an outdated RadMind MacOS application (the transcript editor) and low-level radmind CLI tools. The transcript editor was mangling symbolic links in transcript file, rendering transcripts for maybe 1/2 dozen applications potentially broken.
Workaround is to use TextWrangler exclusively for transcript editing, which is not a big deal; however, creating transcripts for simple self-contained applications will no longer be a quick and simple drag-and-drop operation.