Innovative technologies are taking over all industries including healthcare, legal and education. The transcription sector has also changed. Though the court reporting profession has faced a decline in the last few years, court reporters are still in demand. They spend their valuable time, both in and out of the courtroom, providing accurate verbatim transcription of what happens in court. Errors in transcripts can have catastrophic results – for litigants, for victims, for anyone that has a reason for being interested in what goes on in the courts. Legal transcription companies assist these reporters in getting accurate transcripts.
Their increased typing speed can turn out court discussions, decisions and all legal proceedings into clear transcripts.
Experienced court reporters can –
- make the deposition process easier
- reduce the stress of legal team
- ensure the accuracy and integrity of the record, and
- save time and money for everyone involved
Any errors in their transcript could impact the administration of justice, which proves that their job is a critical one.
Most courts are now considering digital audio recording of judicial proceedings and court reporting technologies such as Siri and Alexa. But still court reporters have a role to play.
Shortage of court reporters – a concern
An article the New Jersey Law Journal discusses certain key factors of court reporter shortage:
Age of reporters – As the average age of retirement of stenographers in the U.S. is 62, and the average age of reporters now is 52 it is expected that an estimated 70% will retire in the next couple of decades. This would add to the shortage of reporters.
Hard to complete certification programs – Current steno certification programs may require the applicant to type at least 225 words per minute while hitting 96% accuracy, which is proven to be difficult to complete and thus have high dropout rates. Some programs graduate only 4% of those who start.
Closing court reporter schools – Lack of interest from the younger generation and low graduation rates in court reporting has forced many court reporter schools to close permanently. With a declining number of prospective stenographers obtaining certification, many trade schools have failed to meet Department of Education requirements.
Another article in the same journal discussed the relevance of court transcription, even with the availability of digital recording. This article highlights that digital recording may never be adopted as an acceptable court reporting method.
The News Gazette recently reported that in effort to meet the shortage of court reporters, court stenographers in Illinois have taken an appreciable step of offering free introductory classes to this profession for which a college degree is not required. These classes are designed to give those interested in this profession a clear idea of what the job requires and what options they may have, assess them for success in a court-reporting program and let them get their hands on a steno machine.
Automation combined with human talent rocks
Automation allows saving costs on training time and manual labor, better efficiency and scalability by transcribing even a high volume of recordings on time and speeding up the otherwise slow process. AI-driven advanced technology can assist these stenographers to perform their job much easier. A human reporter who is also skilled in managing a wide range of emerging court technologies and ensuring that they function properly is sure to be in high demand going forward. AI combined with legal transcription outsourcing will take the court reporting profession to a new level. While court reporters continue to be an integral part of the process, technology can offer long-lasting benefits for the entire court system.