Real Time Reporting


The Impact of Real Time Reporting On Court Reporting Career




As with many modern industries, technology has had a significant impact on the field of court reporting.  Over the past several decades, the practice of court reporting has evolved from taking down testimony with a pencil and a steno pad to use of a stenotype machine that allows testimony to be viewed instantly on a computer screen as a legal proceeding is taking place.  This instant transcript production is referred to as “realtime” in the legal community.  The implementation of realtime technology has had positive results through its use in courtroom and deposition settings.  In a recent article published in the Oakland County Legal News, a Wayne County, Michigan, circuit court judge comments on the benefits offered by realtime court reporting services in his courtroom.
Not all court reporters write realtime.  As with many professions, some people are more gifted than others.  Becoming a court reporter is a significant achievement in itself, but developing the skills to become a realtime reporter evidences a strong commitment to the profession.  The National Court Reporters Association describes a realtime reporter as “a Registered Professional Reporter who possesses the knowledge, skill, and ability to produce accurate, simultaneous translation and display of live proceedings utilizing computer-aided translation”.  Though the jobs of regular court reporters and stenographers are not in jeopardy, realtime court reporters certainly command the upper echelon of court reporter salaries and job security.  The continued development of realtime technology, along with the increasing skills of court reporters to write in realtime, ensures healthy competition in the field of court reporting.  Because of the increasing interest of the legal community in using realtime court reporters, many court reporting schools now offer programs which have training in realtime reporting as the primary focus.  As the field of court reporting evolves, so do the training techniques offered by many court reporting schools, both online and through courses taught on college campuses.
Though most people think of a court reporter as the person using a stenography machine in a courtroom, another method of realtime court reporting is through voice writing, sometimes referred to as “mask reporting.”  The method of voice writing is not presently as widely accepted as the method of stenotype, but it is consistently gaining respect in the legal community as technology advances.  Regulated primarily through the National Verbatim Reporters Association, the method of voice writing is evolving in much the same way as the method of stenotype.  Similar to other types of court reporting methods, realtime voice writers produce text which is instantly displayed on a computer screen.  This is accomplished through the use of speech recognition computer-aided transcription (CAT) software.  The same litigation-support software used by judges and attorneys with a stenotype court reporter can also be interfaced with the CAT systems used by voice writers.  Also read Webcasting for another version of electronic court reporting and stenography careers.

Whether a court reporter is a realtime stenotypist or realtime voice writer, an accurate transcription can only be produced in conjunction with human intervention.  Simply recording a proceeding onto a digital file does not offer the time- and money-saving benefits available through the use of a court reporter using realtime technology.  The obvious advantages of using a realtime court reporter have prompted many court reporting schools to better prepare students for the changing courtroom scenario.  Instead of offering training solely in machine shorthand theory, programs are being developed with an emphasis on realtime skills.  Though veteran court reporters have the benefit of experience, new court reporters who complete realtime training leave school with a significant advantage in the workplace.  Advances in technology will not cause the extinction of the court reporter.  Rather, as advances are made, the job of the court reporter becomes more efficient and valuable to the legal community.  The ability to adapt to technological changes in the workplace environment for a court reporter will assure success in this rewarding career.
Take the first step in becoming a realtime court reporter.  Check out our website for informative reviews of court reporting schools offering training in realtime technology.


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