What is a Court Reporter?
A court reporter or stenographer creates a word-for-word transcription at trials, depositions, administrative hearings, in legislative branches of government, for instance, the U.S. Senate, The House of Representatives, and other legal proceedings.
Court reporters also provide real-time translation for the hearing-impaired at public events, in business meetings, and in classrooms. California Court reporters also live caption civic events, elections, debates, sports, news, classroom captioning for hearing-impaired students, and church sermons.
How Court Reporters Work
Court reporters are utilizing computer-aided transcription technology to translate their notes into English in real time. CAT (Computer-aided transcription) technology has allowed reporters to provide services in ways never possible at the inception of court reporting when they used pens and paper. Today’s California court reporters utilize computer technology to immediately translate their notes into English and are able to provide this service both at the location they are working and send their real-time translation file to a remote location anywhere there is an internet connection worldwide. The real-time court reporters of today allow lawyers, judges, litigants, legislators, and the hearing-impaired to view instantly the testimony as it unfolds.
The attorneys that utilize real-time California court reporters have become very skilled at keeping witnesses on their toes by allowing an attorney to view the witness’ answer immediately and be able to see if the witness has answered the question asked.
California Court Reporters
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One very talented attorney our firm worked with relied heavily on the real-time translation when a witness was being evasive. He would often say to the witness that the answer the witness provided was a great answer, but it wasn’t the answer to his question. It would go something like this, “Mr. Smith, that’s a great answer, but that’s not answering my question. My question is,” and he would read verbatim the question from the real-time display on his laptop and then say, “Now answer my question.”
The court reporter’s providing of the real-time text can be to a location physically in the room or remotely to anywhere there is internet access. The ability of the court reporter to send the real-time text file to a remote location allows the court reporter to send the real-time text of the deposition to co-counsel, insurance adjuster(s), expert witnesses, or consultants during the proceedings. The process allows the remote attendee to open a chat window and to communicate with the questioner in real-time as opposed to having one expert review the written transcript of an expert witness after the event is through, allowing attorneys to question opposing counsel’s expert witness while their expert can view and communicate information with their counsel and assist in the questioning process.
Today, Reporters Are Quite Talented
The reporters today are quite talented. They are taking down verbatim the testimony word-for-word while punctuating the testimony as they utilize their machine to create the real-time text file for the litigants. There is a lot going on in the mind of a court reporter while taking testimony. Among other things California court reporters are required to do is deal with homonyms on their writing machine. As an example, there are three twos, i.e. I went to the store; it was just too much, she has two cars. The court reporter is required to think of different ways to write the same word so that there is no word conflict or homonym. There are a number of words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. Another example of the homonym would be here and hear, there, they’re, their.
In addition to writing word-for-word testimony and differentiating between homonyms, the court reporter must identify the speakers in the room so that the proper identification of the speaker comes across in the real-time text file.
Of course, knowledge of the English language, legal and medical terms or technical language requires court reporters to have an extensive word-usage talent. It is imperative that the highly-trained reporter have a mastery of the English rules, be conversant in medical and legal terminology and be able to spell correctly. California court reporters must be fast thinkers and resourceful in their ability to determine the correct spellings of words that may be beyond their knowledge base so being a good researcher is a talent unto its own. It is important for California court reporters to be able to research words and come up with the correct spelling and understand the meanings of terms of art – an example would be a left, bilateral oophorectomy comes out quickly from the doctor’s mouth. Since the court reporter’s talent is writing down verbatim what is said, the reporter breaks up the word phonetically and then relies on research to make sure that it is correctly spelled and that the term actually follows the testimony.
Court reporting is a serious business, but that doesn’t mean that some humor doesn’t come from the most benign situations. If you need a last minute court reporter we are here for you.
Here are a couple of examples:
Q. This condition you have…. Does it affect your memory at all?
Q. And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A. I forget.
Q. You forget? Can you give us an example of something that you’ve forgotten?
Q. What is your date of birth?
A. July 15.
Q. What year?
A. Every year.
Q. What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A. Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
CA Judicial Reporting
Judicial cases are carefully recorded through a number of mediums. It’s amazing how much a single case can be recorded and described to you just through text. Our judicial reporting is like none other. Catching all the little nuances in a sentence. This is why we are ranked number one for CA judicial reporting. We record everything better than everyone.
Court reporters work tirelessly to meet deadlines. CA judicial reporters work during the day writing the testimony down and many times work into the evening hours to provide edited transcripts for the day by providing what are called rough transcripts. Rough transcripts are created with a minimum of editing skills and are given to attorneys and/or paralegals to prepare for a second day’s testimony or to prepare for another witness on the same subject.
The CalDep Difference
California Deposition Reporters is an owner-operated firm. Our experience includes a variety of venues. Our experience comes from many years of California court reporting experience as well as the deposition arena. We have served clients in a wide variety of professional negligence cases, product liability, and government bodies, such as The State of California Senate Energy Investigation. We have done a variety of complex litigation cases. Now covering Civil Trials.
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