A deposition is the sworn testimony of a witness in a court case and takes place before a trial. Transcription of that audio by court transcribers or a deposition transcription company is considered a deposition transcript. It is held in the absence of a judge, usually at the office of one party’s attorney. The questions are asked to the witnesses placed under oath and their answers are recorded and later transcribed for court purposes. It is crucial to format deposition transcription since the transcribed statements are later read aloud in the court as part of the fact-finding process that aids the prosecution and the defense. Depositions transcribed in the correct format can be used as evidence in court and allow the attorneys to collect information from all parties involved.
Typically, deposition proceedings are typed by a stenographer or court reporter at the attorney’s office who will record the statements verbatim. Formatting may vary slightly according to each reporter or attorney. However, the basic elements to be included in all formats are as follows.
- Cover Page – For any deposition, the cover page should start with the title “Transcription of the testimony of (name).” The title should be followed by several pieces of information such as the date, case name, case number and contact information for the transcription company (if you have outsourced the transcription work).
- Page One – The first page of the deposition transcription must include all significant introductory information related to the court case such as the name of court, the district, and the division; the plaintiff’s name, civil action number, the defendant’s name, and a summary of the deposition.The structure of the summary is as follows: “Deposition of (name), taken by counsel for the (plaintiff/defendant), pursuant to notice and agreement of counsel, under the (federal rules, etc), before (name of court reporter as well as his/her professional titles) at (location/address), on (date), commencing at (time).”
- Subsequent Headers – The top left side of the header must include two lines. The first line is the name of the person who is giving the sworn testimony. Use a slightly larger font size for that line.The names of the plaintiff and defendant should be included under the first line in a slightly smaller font size.The right side of the header must include the date, two hard returns and the page number.
- Subsequent Footers – The footer can be of two lines indicating the name and website or preferred contact information of the transcription service provider.
- Page Two – The second page comprises the “Appearances of Counsel” for both sides of the case. The other people present in the room will also be listed on this page.
- Index – An index should be provided as depositions are lengthy. The index will give page numbers for crucial items such as opening remarks and stipulations, examination (and the name of the person who performs it), attestation, errata sheet, and certificate (to be signed by the court reporter).
Deposition transcription is challenging since each record can be over 100 pages a piece. In the case of a busy legal firm, there would be a huge number of depositions to transcribe. Court reporters and attorneys could consider obtaining services from a general transcription company that will have a large pool of trained and experienced transcriptionists to complete the transcription job quickly and efficiently.
The important thing is to ensure that the service provider employs stringent security measures and has an efficient quality assurance team to make sure that the transcripts are accurate and reliable.