A court reporter may seem like an afterthought to someone who is not part of the legal system because they just sit at the front of the courtroom and quietly type on their machines while everything goes on around them. However, someone familiar with the legal system knows that the court reporter is just as much important in the courtroom as the judge, attorneys, and witnesses. In most cases it is illegal to proceed in court without a court reporter present. A certified court reporter is mandated because of the importance of having an accurate transcript of the case.
In order to properly record everything that goes on during court case, the court reporter receives training in courtroom proceedings, legal terminology, and medical terminology, among other subjects. They also must become proficient at using a stenotype machine to record speech at a minimum of 225 words per minute. This record is then translated into a written transcript that becomes part of the official court case records. The transcript may be referred to within the court for the duration of the case, and attorneys involved in the case may request copies to review proceedings. Transcripts become extremely important if a case is appealed because an accurate record of previous court proceedings is necessary. Judges frequently use the transcript when making their decision whether or not to grant the appeal.
It is not just typing the transcript that makes court reporters such a valuable part of the legal proceedings, just knowing they are present effects the entire court proceeding. Whenever a reporter is at a deposition or a court case, everyone becomes more conscious and aware of the fact that every word spoken becomes official evidence that may be reviewed as needed. Court reporters are professionals who take an active role in depositions and in court. Court reporters control the accuracy of the record, and so they may speak up frequently in order to have someone repeat themselves if a word is missed, reminding witnesses to use verbal responses rather than gestures, and making sure only one attorney speaks at a time. They may also be asked to read back some of what has been recorded, or to note emphasis placed on a word or phrase.
Attorneys will often attempt to keep the costs of litigation low, and to do this they will sometimes videotape depositions. As court reporters, we want to make sure that we report every detail and what better way to report a real-time occurrence than by using video equipment. While videotaping depositions seems like the better solution over court reporters, there are many disadvantages.
- When audio has been used, people in the courtroom have not always spoken loudly enough or clearly, there is frequently background noise or papers shuffling near microphones, and microphones malfunction or are not turned on, rendering much of the testimony inaudible.
- A written transcript of the proceedings must still be provided. Transcribing from audio uses much more time what is usually required, produces a much less accurate outcome, and costs significantly more. Unfortunately, many courts have found that even when transcriptionists are able to discern what has been said, the expense of paying them is more than the cost of retaining a full time court reporter.
At California Deposition Reporters, court reporters are one of the tools we use in our court reporting. When you hire us for your court proceedings, recognize that in addition to transcribing real-time information, we can also use video to record everything that occurs in your court hearings at the finest detail. Don’t hire amateurs who may mess up your court case. Hire California Deposition Reporters.