Advancements in Technology: Still No Match for Human Court Reporters
It’s no secret that the debate surrounding whether or not court reporters will eventually be replaced by technology has been ongoing for years now.
The advancement of newer technology such as high tech digital recording equipment, artificial intelligence, and voice recognition has contributed to the greater movement towards automated court reporting.
Supporters of such automation believe that its use would be a cheaper alternative and could be more advanced than the human ear.
Many court reporters and other members of the legal community, however, believe that the accuracy levels of their transcripts will never be attained by any kind of technology, no matter how advanced.
We at Expert Depos have analyzed both sides to see how qualified Court Reporters, coupled with modern technology, can produce the most accurate records of legal events in 2018 and beyond.
No one can deny that human beings are the most accurate when it comes to understanding the subtle nuances of speech, accents, dialects, and speech impairments.
Court reporters have the ability to differentiate between various people speaking and, unlike voice recording and recognition, can separate unwanted background courtroom noise and can ask counsel to have a witness or deponent repeat parts of their testimony.
One advancement in court reporting technology that can aid the reporting process is the synchronized video deposition.
Companies such as Visual Evidence help with creating a synchronized video deposition through a built-in software that syncs video with the court reporter’s written transcription.
Such services are incredibly useful for helping attorneys find keywords and quickly review hours of testimony. They can also be used to playback passages for jurors during trial and improve the retention of information.
Another indispensable benefit of a qualified court reporter is their ability to determine what should and should not be in a report. Digital recordings can and do log everything, but only a court reporter can distinguish between private conversations between attorneys and clients, differentiate vocal tone, and have the ability to ask for clarification.
Additionally, reporters can handle and identify more speakers at the same time, mark exhibits, and create an immediate draft transcript followed by a same day or next day final document.
The Future of Court Reporting
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of court reporters is projected to grow 3 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average, but still a growth.
Estimates from the National Court Reporters Association project that in 2018 there will be just under 28,000 working reporters, but the need will be for just over 33,000.
According to Jim Connor, Owner/President of Connor Reporting, Inc., “The legal and court reporting industries are facing a looming court reporter shortage.” To combat this, certain companies have developed revolutionary services to help solve the issue, such as remote transcription.
In this way, qualified court reporters create transcripts remotely, ensuring the same level of integrity, accuracy, and experience offered by an in-person court reporter. This real-time technology is useful for courtrooms and depositions, and combines the best of both worlds — human court reporters and technology.
The streaming to different mobile devices through a protected system is another great advantage of real-time technology. Whether it’s iPads or phones, everything is much simpler now when it comes to connecting and efficiently delivering services across multiple platforms in a flexible, but secure manner to clients.
While digitizing and replacing court reporters with machines might cut costs in the legal industry and offer a more modern approach to how things are done in court, we’re convinced that automation is a long way off from being able to replace a qualified court reporter’s experience, work, and most importantly, humanity.
Perhaps if more courts would modern technology to work side-by-side with court reporters, it would not only can help with case preparation and reporting, but also be a significant improvement to the legal industry as a whole.