When Should You Hire a Court Reporter?
Court reporting is one of those vital services that most people don’t think about until it’s needed. But when you have a need for accurate reporting, suddenly you realize just how critically important it is to select the right professionals.
Who is a Court Reporter?
According to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), “Court reporters are highly trained professionals who share a unique ability to convert the spoken word into information that can be read, searched and archived. This specialization has created new career paths for reporters, including broadcast captioning and real-time translation services for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.”
Court reporters are commonly referred to as the “guardians of the record,” because of their unique skills that allow them to provide impartial documentation of important processes and proceedings.
As their name suggests, the most common use for a court reporter is in an actual court proceeding or legal matter. This is important for a number of reasons.
“A court reporter providing real-time, which is the only proven method for immediate voice-to-text translation, allows attorneys and judges to have immediate access to the transcript,” NCRA explains, “while also providing a way for deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans to participate in the judicial process.”
Court reporters are professionally trained and must hold specific certifications and meet a list of requirements in order to practice. (Most choose to work for a court reporting firm or agency.)
When selecting a court reporting firm, make sure you do your due diligence and hire the right one. Some companies only give you a court reporter and nothing else. Others, like Veritext in Kansas City, offer beautiful conference rooms that are fully stocked with anything you could need.
5 Times to Hire a Court Reporter
Court reporters are needed in many situations. Here are several common ones that you may or may not have considered:
Real-Time Translation of Testimony
Do you need to give sworn testimony about a business, financial, or legal matter? A court reporter can be the person who documents this testimony and records it so it’s accurate and admissible. Whether it’s a five-minute testimony or a five-hour testimony, court reporters are equipped to handle the task.
Reading Testimony Back During a Deposition
While you obviously need a written record of a deposition so that all parties can look back on it afterward, there’s also a need to have recorded testimony during a deposition. In many cases, one individual will ask the court reporter to read back testimony aloud in the middle of a deposition so that all parties are on the same page. A court reporter has to be able to do so on the fly.
Audio Transcriptions from Digital Sources
While not the most common application, court reporters will often accept jobs to perform accurate audio transcriptions from digital sources (like videos, podcasts, or audio recordings). This type of job is becoming less common due to digital transcription software. However, if you’re looking for high accuracy and few errors, a court reporter is definitely the way to go.
Depositions can be very complicated. And when you have multiple depositions involved in a single case, trying to organize and manage all of them becomes a very tedious chore. A good court reporter not only helps create the record, but they can also perform exhibit linking (which is basically electronic hyperlinks within the transcript that allow for easy referencing other pages and exhibits).
Board Meetings and Conferences
Most official board meetings and some important conferences will hire a court reporter to keep an official record of the meeting. This is more thorough and official than simple meeting notes (which usually only contain bullet points of the topics covered – not actual quotes or statements).
Adding it All Up
Think you can just grab your laptop and take notes? You might want to think twice about going this route. Court reporters play an important role. They not only have a unique skill set (being able to quickly capture spoken words with incredible accuracy), but they also know how to manage heated situations and handle lots of pressure. They do all of this while being extremely efficient, quick, and reliable.
Hiring a court reporter is an important decision. You should not take the process lightly. Whether it’s for something as serious as a deposition or as simple as creating audio transcriptions from digital sources, having the right guardian of the record in place goes a long way toward maintaining integrity and accuracy.
Take your time, do your due diligence, and take the selection process seriously!