Five Reasons Why Human Court Reporters Are Still the Best

In today’s technology-filled world, some people may...

In today’s technology-filled world, some people may question why so many courts and attorneys still rely on human court reporters instead of automated systems. There are some very clear advantages to using live court reporters instead of electronic reporting systems. Following are five key benefits that only a “real” court reporter can deliver.

1. Accuracy

An electronic system may be fast but can never actually match the accuracy of a live reporter. An easy way to understand this is to consider the ability to distinguish sounds that need to be recorded versus those that do not. For example, if someone in the courtroom drops a briefcase, an electronic system has no way of knowing what the sound is yet will work to “translate” it and incorporate it into the transcript. A human court reporter can easily know to simply ignore that action and sound.

Additionally, professional court reporters are trained and tested for their combination of maximum speed and accuracy. When you work with true industry professionals, you can be assured of such results.

2. Speed

The best court reporters are able to match the accuracy rate of speech-to-text dictation systems, all while allowing the human ability to discern what should be recorded, as noted above. The speed at which information is input into a system is only part of the picture when it comes to court reporting. The ability to provide the transcript to lawyers, judges and jurors promptly is also important. That is why the use of live court reporters with a software translation system is an ideal setup. The software translates what the reporter has recorded and displays it to the judges, attorneys and jurors within a matter of seconds, allowing them the ability to make critical decisions real-time.

3. Affordability

Court reporting is not needed only in trial courtrooms but also in boardrooms, conference rooms or other facilities for the recording of depositions or other such legal proceedings. Hiring a live court reporter is far more affordable for most attorneys than purchasing and maintaining a digital system.

4. Ability to provide written transcripts

A written transcript can be created and provided easily from a court reporter’s recorded transcription. Developing a written transcript from an audio or a visual recording, however, can sometimes take weeks. Such a delay can be costly for the legal process and many appeals often require a written transcript. Using a live court reporter gives you the best access to the transcribed information quickly, accurately and when you need it.

5. Ultimate ROI

When comparing the true cost of things, it is important to look at all of the contributing factors, not simply out of pocket costs. To understand your true cost of ownership and how to get the best “Return On Investment” (ROI), you will need to compare several factors.

For starters, the cost to hire a court reporter is far less than the cost to purchase all of the necessary hardware and software required for a digital system of any sort. Certainly you would amortize the purchase price out over a period of time but you must be cautious not to assume that is your total cost of ownership.

After your initial equipment purchase, you must assume there will be required repairs and maintenance over the life of the system. Therefore, part of the cost should include any projected maintenance or upgrades to ensure proper operation. As a corollary to this, there will be costs associated with managing the system. That may be done by an internal or outsourced IT professional but should be included in your calculations as well.

In addition to comparing actual out-of-pocket costs, balancing the output (e.g. accuracy) against what goes in (e.g. costs), essentially, is the ultimate way to determine your ROI. Given the accuracy, speed and lack of delays associated with live court reporters, it is easy to see that they can offer a consistently high return on your investment. The same cannot always be said for electronic systems.

A place for technology

Certainly technology is an integral part of our world and society today and that does include court reporting. The software used to transcribe a live reporter’s recording, for example, is one such way that technology can be a valuable tool in the courtroom, conference room or beyond. Looking for ways to allow technology to enhance human abilities rather than to replace it is likely the way to get the best court transcripts every time.

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