Many people confuse the terms legal transcription and court reporting, often considering them to mean the same thing. Both legal transcriptionists and court reporters need to have a thorough knowledge of legal terminology. But there are differences, the most basic being that a court reporter attends legal proceedings and transcribes speech directly from the original event while a transcriptionist listens to and transcribes recorded speech.
Court reporters provide real time verbatim transcription. Whether voice writing or stenotype reporting, the main limitation of court reporting is that the chances of errors are high. Some of the errors involved in manual method are:
- errors in grammar and sentence construction, requiring heavy editing
- omissions by the court reporters who may form their own judgments as to what is relevant and what is not
- failure to hear and transpose certain words or sentences that could be crucial to the case
- the pace of testimony narration may be too rapid for accurate verbatim transposition
Legal transcriptionists work for legal transcription companies that provide online legal transcription services. The legal professional may dictate into an efficient, portable digital recording device and send the audio file to the service provider through email or upload the file to a secure FTP server. Most service providers also accept dictation via telephone. The file is transcribed and sent back by email or using the LT company’s secure file exchange system. Legal transcription solutions are available for general correspondence, legal letters, court proceedings, presentations, judgments, licensing appeals, wire tap, and much more.
When compared to court reporting, the chances of errors are much lower in legal transcription. This is because the transcription is done from a recording which the transcriptionist can listen to repeatedly. There is no need for any guesswork. A reliable legal transcription company can offer well organized and properly formatted transcripts. While the expert legal transcriptionist takes care to avoid errors, stringent quality checks are in place to ensure the quality of the final documents before they are returned to the client.