The ins and outs of hired real-time court reporting services


An attorney may need to turn to real-time reporting for access to the instantaneous translations of the proceedings or meetings. Real-time reporting may not be in its nascent stages, but it is definitely in its adolescence. There are several facts about it, attorneys and law firms need to learn, before appointing their first real-time competent court reporter. The best practices on the part of the real-time transcriptionist cum reporter can help the attorneys create better records of testimonies and get the maximum out of their money.

Here are the 7 things you must remember to utilize your real-time court reporting service –

  1. Attorneys can choose to use their own iPads or laptops for the real-time transcription process. However, they should always coordinate with their hired court reporting agency first for installing necessary drivers and troubleshooting any kind of compatibility issues. Not doing this can set you back by a couple of hours right before the deposition, since troubleshooting software issues can take considerable time.
  2. There are cases where the law firm does not provide a laptop or an iPad to the appointed attorney. This usually varies according to firm policy. In case you do not have your own laptop or tablet, it is completely fine. You simply need to inform the court reporter beforehand, so your chosen litigation service provider can arrange for a display device with plug-and-play facilities.
  • Do not cringe or sweat every time the court stenographer writes “our” instead of “hour.” It is completely alright! Stenographers have trained for years to write phonetically. Not adhering to the norms of traditional spelling. A steno machine is very different from a conventional QWERTY keyboard, and it has fewer letters. This enables the court reporters to type fast enough to keep pace with the speakers. When they are writing on the fly, you will notice several “mistakes” in spelling and misstrokes in places of proper nouns. The reporter has full training to read the stenographer’s notes and transcribe them into regular language.
  1. Sometimes, it is indeed difficult to follow lesser common accents and pronunciations of people with speaking disabilities. If you are having trouble following what your client or your witness is saying, know for sure that your stenographer and court reporter will have trouble following them too. So instead of interrupting the court reporter to ask them if they got it right, you can always ask for further clarification from the speaker. “Did you say accept or except?” is a completely valid query you can make to clear the doubt.
  2. Having a real-time reporter has a number of perks. Getting your hands on the rough draft of the “cleaned up” version of the transcript is, of course, one of the leading perks. Real-time reporters will usually send the cleaned up version of the transcript over to your official mail or in hard copy to your office within 24 hours. The final transcript can take a few days, but the rough draft makes it a lot easier for attorneys to submit the second deposition.
  3. You must always confirm with your court reporting agency to check if they provide real-time reporting service. All court reporters in the state do not provide real-time service. Those that do must hire National Court Reporting Association certified stenographers and law reporters only. The online captioners should hold CRR and CCRR certifications along. The best of the best live transcriptionists in the US have cleared several standardized speed tests at incredibly high translation rate.
  • You may want to utilize a software you are familiar with. Your court reporting service should be able to sync their software with your device to provide you with an interface that you know. This is one more reason you should coordinate with the court reporting team before the actual court date.

Having a real-time transcriptionist on your team can be beneficial, especially if you are trying to stream your text to any remote location. All authorized parties usually have access to the transcription that the court reporters share from the premise. The attorney can make notes and mark the most important parts of the trial that they can use later for progressing with the trials. It is a powerful tool for law professionals that can change the course of a trial.

Who can be the ideal real-time court reporter?

To become the trained and professional court reporter, a person has to train hard. It often takes 2 to 4 years of court reporting school and special software training to be able to transcribe in real-time. A CAT (computer-aided transcription) system is the software that helps real-time reporters to transcribe with high accuracy. Therefore, all leading real-time reporters and captioners need considerable software operations training.

The most common CAT software maintenance and operations training package includes –

  1. Transcribing and editing the text in tandem with spoken dialogs.
  2. Capacity to share the transcript and the rough draft with the parties involved, especially the attorney, on demand.
  • The capability to allow word processing for the attorney as the transcription goes online in real-time.

Several attorneys and law firms judge the capability of the real-time reporter on the latest tech and gadgets they possess. However, the display systems and computers only enhance their acquired skills. A good transcriptionist can always arrange for state of the art software and hardware as long as they have the training for the process. Always ask your chosen court reporter service if their real-time transcriptionists have enough experience and training to handle the kind of case you will be working on.

Who are the certified real-time reporters?

The certified real-time reporters (CRRs) have completed the National Court Reporters Association certification program. This guarantees a court reporter’s ability to use a stenographer during real-time CAT method. It also ensures that the court reporter you are about to work with has the training to set up the necessary equipment and software. They should also be able to translate the text to an ASCII text file and cover a 5-minute real-time session with at least 180 words per minute speed. Most court reporters, who complete the CRR certification, are already Registered Professional Reporters (RPR), and they must also have NCRA approval.

 What responsibilities can a real-time court reporter service cover?

The real-time court reporters are capable of working inside courtrooms, as well as outside courtrooms. Therefore, if you think that as a court reporter, someone is only going to work in clamorous courtrooms and transcribe dialogs between attorneys and witnesses, you could not be more wrong!

Real-time captioning: the demand for real-time captioners went up a notch during the end of 2014. As of 2015, the demands were creating a visible deficit of available court reporters in the US. There are 5,500 new vacant posts for court reporters since the dawn of live captioning of television broadcasts. There are news shows, weather announcements, emergency broadcasts and sports events that mandate real-time captioning.

Communications access real-time reporting (CART): CART is a specialized method of reporting that provides a way for the hard of hearing and the hearing impaired to become a part of the court proceedings and other meetings. The CART professionals have sufficient training in English and American Sign Language. They can translate the proceedings to people simultaneously along with the transcription. They have a high demand for religious services, cultural presentations, lectures and civic services. A pending litigation may make it mandatory for all K-12 classrooms in the US to employ a CART reporter.

Webcasting: Online real-time captioning is very common during webcasting. This is necessary when there are several live events like online sales conferences, training seminars, webinars and press conferences. These live events often require CART and real-time transcription services.

How to pick the best real-time court reporter?

Real-time reporting is in high demand outside courtrooms. Inside, it adds value to courtroom proceedings. The attorneys can go back and revisit the testimonies on any later date to check for details and discrepancies. The real-time text makes it easy for attorneys to highlight the relevant portions of the testimony. It is a very important tool that can track and address multiple issues. Being a good reporter involves being able to make changes in spellings and grammar as they are making the transcript. Therefore, the salary or cost of hiring a court reporter often depends on their experience, skill, training, and certifications. A CRR real-time court reporter, who has the experience of working with a steno for the last 10 years, will charge you significantly more than a new reporter fresh out of law school. While choosing your law reporting agency, it is your responsibility to inquire about the qualification of the real-time reporters working with them. Always ask for senior law reporters for your upcoming events. Specifying your needs often increases your chances of getting a reporter, who has handled similar cases before. Working with a reputed court reporting agency cum litigation support services will often offer you services of experienced reporters and transcriptionists only.


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