Ensuring an Accurate Transcript

Help Your Court Reporters

An accurate transcript can easily be the difference between a case that succeeds, and a case that falls short. Attorneys desperately need a court reporter who can deliver that pristine transcript. Usually, court reporters can do that, but there are times when an issue in deposition or court can cause a problem for the attorney’s draft. Make your court reporter’s job easier by following these simple tips. You will not only save them time, but yourself time.

Provide a List of Key Words and Phrases

Court reporters utilize the stenograph to record the legal proceedings in a court room or deposition. While they may look similar to a regular laptop, they are rather different. Stenograph keyboards are set up phoentically. This allows reporters to type more quickly, but it can cause incorrect spelling in an initial draft. Once the legal proceedings have finished, court reporters will go back and refine their transcript, but if there are unfamiliar words, phrases, or names, it can cause a problem. If you are aware of any words and/or phrases that could cause your court reporter a problem, provide them a list of these words so they can get spelling right the first time. 

Properly Enunciate

Some court reporters can type over 200 words a minute, but they are still limited by their human senses. Speaking too quickly, speaking over another person, or mumbling can make it difficult for court reporters to translate what was said. Speak as clearly as possible, and if a witness does any of these things, ask them to speak clearly for the record.

Use Complete Words, Not Inarticulate Sounds

Inarticulate sounds are commonly used in everyday speech and not something we usually have a problem with. These sounds are given a general, almost universally-understood meaning without being official words. Common sounds like “uh-uh” and “uh-huh” are often used in place of “yes” and “no.” Although these may seem like ideal sounds to record phonetically, court reporters use stenographs to include not only what was said but how it was said, and inarticulate sounds don’t have shorthand notation for intonation. If your witness is using these implied sounds instead of “yes” or “no,” please ask for clarification of their meaning so that everything can be accurately recorded for later use.

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