Different Strokes

Remember the era of steno machines that fed paper out the back? Times have changed in the court reporting field. Gone are the days of paper, carbon copies and Dictaphones. Now, computer-aided translation software and electronic technology allow court reporters to produce transcripts in a fraction of the time and effort of manual reporting.

For the past 15 years, Kelly Herrick has been a freelance court reporter, taking pre-trial deposition testimony for Benchmark Court Reporting. She knows how technology has revolutionized the industry and the process of transcribing legal testimony.

Court reporters use combinations of keys to make phonetic sounds in the manner of machine shorthand. Their software has individualized computerized dictionaries so when they are hooked up to a writer, for the most part, words come out in English rather than steno. Court reporters are certified at 225 words per minute with 97% accuracy.

Since each case has unique terminology, Kelly can use brief forms to make reporting easier. The software recognizes three subsequent keystrokes and then efficiently suggests a brief form.

The benefits of computer-aided transcription are many. Clients save money and can get depositions faster with more services. Through live-note remote, attorneys can forego the cost of travel to a deposition and receive the court reporter’s feed in their homes or offices, similar to closed captioning you see on television.  Transcription is faster too. “In the old days, 500 pages of deposition testimony could take a month to transcribe,” said Kelly. “Now, attorneys can get it the next day.”

Attorneys can also search for words in a computer transcript, a facet that paper copies cannot perform. With an E-tran, an electronic version of a transcript compatible with their specific software program, attorneys can search and organize files through a word index, adding management capabilities and saving time spent summarizing transcripts.

Like Kelly, Benchmark embraces the advantages of moving from the dinosaur to the digital age. Contact us and your next pre-trial deposition could have impeachable effects on your efficiency and productivity.

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