Even if you’ve never been in a courtroom, you’ve probably watched a court reporter in action on your favorite TV or film crime drama. These days, this service is often provided by court reporter firms that are staffed with professionals who have mastered more than just typing skills. Like many occupations, court reporting has entered the digital age.
How Court Reporting and Automation Coexist
There was a time when it seemed like court reporters might go the way of the steam engine and dinosaurs. The promise of technology made it seem likely that recording devices could do the job more efficiently while saving court systems and businesses lots of time and money. However, speech recognition tech hasn’t quite reached the point where machines can decipher nuances in the human voice or distinguish between words like “here” and “hear” even with context added. Furthermore, there can be major problems caused by simple human error, for instance if someone forgets to load a disc or turn on the recorder, there’s no way of getting that testimony back for review.
That’s why clients and lawyers are better served when highly trained people are paired with the latest technology. The scope of the job now goes beyond mere recording, editing, and transcribing into new realms of specialization. Here are a couple of examples of how court reporting is assisted by automation to create a new, hybrid occupation: the court technologist.
In the Courtroom
The court reporter has been a fixture in courtrooms since the days of quills and ink pots and they’re still an integral part of the legal landscape. These days a qualified court reporter must have a well-rounded skill set and understanding of legal jargon, shorthand, and procedure. Modern court reporters also have to know how to operate advanced audio/video systems as well as computer-aided transcription equipment.
Off-Site Depositions and Testimony
In the old days, time or geography sometimes posed a problem. Deposing an out-of-town witness or getting in the same room with opposing counsel or business associates wasn’t always possible and that could cause delays. Now, internet accessibility, video conferencing, and mobile access means that testimony can be taken and broadcast to or from any location. This has made the often-cumbersome legal process a little more convenient.
In your search for court reporter firms, don’t overlook the level of quality and professionalism available from Lowery & Associates.