How Accurate Should A Court Transcript Be?

Expert Court Reporting: Accuracy

We’ve talked at length about what it takes to become a top court reporter. While Capital Reporting Company offers high quality, comprehensive court reporting services across the board, there are two foundational qualities that we always maintain: speed and accuracy. You may have read on previous blog posts that our court reporters transcribe a minimum of 225 words per minute. This is the requirement set forth by the National Court Reporting Association. What’s more is that Capital Reporting Company’s court reporters transcribe several-hundred page documents on a regular basis. When we type so much so quickly, how can you be sure that the work is precise?

The answer is the NCRA, which requires that a court reporter transcribe the minimum 225 words per minute, with at least 95% accuracy. This is the basic requirement to become a court reporter, and, as one of the Best Overall Providers of Court Reporting & Deposition Services, Capital Reporting Company, goes above and beyond the basic requirements. In the case of a verbatim transcription–we thoroughly review our transcripts before being certified, filed with the court, and forwarded to our clients. All of our work is as close to 100% accurate as possible.

At Capital Reporting Company, we understand the importance of getting a transcript right.  As the NCRA outlines, we assign court reporters and transcriptionists tasks based on their levels of ability. The most complex depositions will be placed in the most capable hands. We know it is not uncommon in the audio transcription world for a government agency or attorney to receive a transcript that does not match the audio, forcing the client to demand a transcript re-write. This is never the case at Capital, where our high standards ensure your work is handled by only the most capable professionals.

The guidelines for court reporting in Chicago may differ from those of San Francisco and New York, but Capital Reporting Company maintains its high standards across the nation and the globe. Our commitment to accuracy is just one of the many reasons that over 10,000 clients look to us to fulfill their court reporting and deposition needs.

March Madness Puts Court Reporting To The Test

Can a California court reporter take on an NCAA athlete? The Wisconsin Badgers seem to think so. “Cattywampus, onomatopoeia, and antidisestablishmentarianism” are three of the most convoluted words spoken so far during NCAA March Madness. They came from Wisconsin Badgers player Nigel Hayes, in an attempt to test the interview transcriber’s skills. At Capital Reporting Company, we know that any court reporter worth her salt can transcribe them, as occurred during the NCAA press conference. The interview stenographer, known on Twitter as @Saintsswimmom, transcribed the sesquipedalian words without missing a beat, amazing the college basketball team and their coach. Our court reporters in San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington DC, accomplish similar feats every day, transcribing over 225 words per minute with expert skill and cutting edge technology.

How do court reporters type words that many of us have never even heard before? By relying on our hearing rather than spelling memorization. As was demonstrated to the Wisconsin Badgers that night, a stenographer uses a special machine called a stenotype, which transcribes words according to phonemes (sounds) rather than letters. For example, there are three phonemes in the word “apple,” A-P-L. A qualified stenographer, like our San Francisco court reporters, can transcribe these three sounds by simultaneously pressing a combination of keys. When employed by a trained professional, this process is much faster than individually typing the five letters “a-p-p-l-e”. The same procedure goes for even longer, stranger words such as “antidisestablishmentarianism.”

Each court reporter has a personal dictionary on his or her computer, which gleans new and frequently used words from each transcript. This allows the reporter to save and retrieve the terms, transcribing them faster each time they are repeated. This is particularly helpful in depositions that contain expert witness testimony, where a witness may use medical jargon or other unusual phrases. A court reporter must be ready to transcribe this terminology, so that your deposition can run smoothly, and testimony can be accurately taken, without interruption.

Nigel Hayes and his teammates were very impressed with the court reporter’s level of skill and technique. When asked why he opened his interview with such strange words, Hayes responded, “Well, the wonderful lady over there, I think her title is stenographer, yes, OK. And she does an amazing job of typing words. Sometimes if words are not in her dictionary, maybe if I say ‘soliloquy’ right now, she may have to work a little harder to type the word, or ‘quandary’, or ‘zephyr’, ‘xylophone’, things like that, that make her job really interesting.” (You can watch Hayes and his teammates testing out the stenotype on Twitter.)

For the record, the word “cattywampus” is an adjective or adverb meaning “askew” or “awry.” For example, “If you don’t want your deposition to go cattywampus, schedule a court reporter from the leading court reporting services provider.” Since 2012, Capital has been consistently voted among the Best Overall Providers of Court Reporting and Deposition Services in the National Law Journal/ Legal Times. Call us today to schedule your deposition. We will meet your March Madness challenge with dedicated service.

What Is A Verbatim Transcript?

Our court reporting company is proud to offer many different kinds of transcription and deposition services, among them are verbatim transcripts. What is a verbatim transcript? You probably know the word, verbatim, and its meaning “word for word.” And if you guess that a verbatim transcript means that each and every word is transcribed, you would be right. Did you know, however, that there are different kinds of verbatim transcripts?: Intelligent Verbatim, which is word for word, and True Verbatim, which is, essentially, sound for sound.

True Verbatim

Imagine an interviewer asking a witness, “Were you aware, of the defendant’s whereabouts on the night in question?” The witness hesitates, perhaps stutters or laughs nervously before answering, “Ummm…no. Not at the time.” An intelligent verbatim transcript (which we will discuss below), may simply read “No. Not at the time.” A straightforward answer, but a true verbatim transcription will capture every sound and nuance in the witness’s answer. This includes fillers, pauses, and ambient noise. It will read something like the following:

Interviewer: Were you aware of the defendant’s whereabouts on the night in question?

Interviewee: [Silence] um…no. [Pause]…not at the time.

A true verbatim transcript can be essential in assessing a witness’s credibility, as those hesitations, spelled out on the page, may indicate a witness’s lying or uncertainty, and determine how the litigants move forward. True verbatim transcriptions may be most useful in situations where the way in which something is said is equally important to what is said. Such transcripts are necessary in commercial cases, intellectual property cases, and even car accident cases.

Intelligent Verbatim

There are other instances, of course, where ambient noises, filler words and nonverbal sounds can be distracting. In this case, our court reporters and transcriptionists are happy to provide Intelligent verbatim, or simply verbatim, transcripts.This is an excellent practice for bloggers, journalists, and others who may need an exact quote but do not need the superfluous, minute details. Intelligent verbatim, or simply verbatim transcription, is helpful when you need a clean quote for a succinct story or report.

Whichever form of transcription you choose, Capital Reporting Company is proud to offer a host of court reporting services. We are a comprehensive court reporting and deposition company, proud to serve you locally, nationally, and internationally. Whatever your transcription needs, entrust your verbatim and true verbatim transcripts to Capital Reporting Company. Schedule a deposition or other service with us today.

The ILCRA & our Chicago Court Reporters

The ILCRA Certification & Chicago Court Reporting Companies

When it comes to our Chicago court reporters, Capital Reporting Company aims for the highest standards. With that in mind, we look to governing bodies like the Illinois Court Reporters Association (ILCRA), to help us recruit the high quality court reporters for your Chicago depositions.

What is ILCRA?

ILCRA is a board made up of 17 committees,which oversees the standards of court reporting and the relations between shorthand reporter agencies– like our Chicago court reporting company– and consumers.

Why do we have ILCRA?

Like our court reporters in San Francisco and around the US, our Chicago court reporters are expected to undergo rigorous training and pass a statewide certification exam, the Certified Shorthand Reporter exam, before obtaining certification. The Illinois Court Reporters Association is administers these exams in an effort to achieve its mission of:

  • Maintaining high standards in verbatim shorthand reporting
  • Providing Illinois court reporters with opportunities for continuing education and technological growth.
  • Promoting a mutually beneficial relationship between the verbatim shorthand reporting profession and its clientele.

When were they established?

Regulations for shorthand reporters were initially established in in Illinois in 1967. In 1978, ILCRA was established with then-president Raymond K. Richter at the helm. And in 1984, the Illinois Certified Shorthand Reporters Act came into effect, reinforcing the standards that uphold our profession today.

How do they serve their members?

ILCRA has many functions in the field of court reporting, including, but not limited to:

  • Maintaining reporters’ rights to certification
  • Administering certification examinations and publicizing exam dates through their newsletter.
  • Keeping abreast of legislation, and promoting and campaigns for legislation in the interest of professionals in the court reporting, transcription, and deposition fields.
  • Hosting conferences and continuing education seminars.
  • Publishing an online newsletter, Ad Infinitum, to inform members of new developments in the field.
  • Serving as an affiliate to the National Court Reporters Association.
  • Offering membership discounts to conferences.
  • Administering awards for students, educators and the winner of the annual speed contest.
  • Providing online information regarding regulations.
  • Offering an online mentoring program for students
  • Promoting student recruitment
  • Providing members with CART brochures, free of charge
  • Sending representatives to conferences and training conventions

There are many more functions of  ILCRA, and it is clear from the above list that they are instrumental in helping with the professional life of court reporters in Chicagoand throughout the state of Illinois.Like the ILCRA, Capital Reporting Company aims to ensure that our clients receive high quality work from us in Illinois and across the globe, To enlist our court reporting services or learn more about the other ways we can assist you with your court reporting needs, contact Capital Reporting Company today.

Court Reporters Board of California

Court Reporters Board of California

There are a lot of factors that aid Capital Reporting Company in providing quality court reporting and deposition services in San Francisco, CA. Not the least of these is the governing board that allows our court reporters in San Francisco CA– and all over the state of California– to practice. Founded in 1951,this board, known as the Court Reporters Board of California, authorizes court reporting school curricula and administers qualifying exams. Its aim is to protect clients and ensure that they receive quality, accurate, court reporting and deposition services in California.

What does the Court Reporters Board of California do?

Accurate court transcripts are instrumental to a fair and efficient judicial process. The Court Reporters Board of California assures that our San Francisco CA court reporters adhere to these standards in the following ways:

  • Licensing California’s Certified Shorthand Reporters (CSR’s), better known as court reporters.
  • Overseeing California’s court reporter schools through the following:

○     authorizing curricula

○     creating and administering licensing exams for California court reporters

○     auditing court reporting school requirements

○     responding to any complaints that might arise regarding record keeping and curriculum standards

  • Disciplining professionals in violation of consumer protection law.
  • Managing the transcript reimbursement fund that is responsible for providing deposition services to legal counsel in pro bono cases for indigent clients.

Who funds the board?

The Court Reporters Board of California does not use General Fund tax dollars but rather collects its funding from licensing exams. Therefore making it  a special-fund or self-funded agency.

How many board members are there?

The board consists of five members. Three of those members– a public member and two licensees,are are appointed by the Governor of California Two additional public members are also appointed: one by the Speaker of the Assembly and the other  by the Senate Rules Committee.

Where are they based?

The Court Reporters Board of California has one office in Sacramento, CA.

When were they founded?

As mentioned above, the Court Reporters Board of California was established in 1951 and, since then has licensed more than 13,000 reporters. Over 8,000 of these licensees are currently practicing. These licensees fall into two categories: freelance reporters (who mostly provide deposition services for private agencies such as our court reporting company in San Francisco) and  officials (who work mostly in the courts). All court reporters, whether freelance or official, are subject to licensing standards set forth by the Court Reporters Board of California.

Under the Court Reporters Board of California’s standards, you can rest assured that our professionals will provide with quality, accurate court reporting services for your San Francisco deposition. For more information on our San Francisco, CA deposition services, contact our court reporting company, or schedule a San Francisco Court Reporter online.

Are Court Reporters Certified?

Capital Reporting Company is dedicated to providing you with highly qualified court reporters who can fulfill all of your deposition needs. In most professional fields, one means of determining qualification is through certification. Are court reporters certified? The short answer is yes. However, in the world of deposition services, there are many kinds and levels of certification, which we will explore in this post.

In 1937, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) issued the first certificates to 27 court reporters as a means of denoting their excellence and reliability. These court reporters earned their certifications by transcribing five minutes of literary dictation at rates of 160 words per minute (wpm). The NCRA distinguished these court reporters as Certified Professionals (CP’s)– what would today be known as a Registered Professional Reporters. Since 1937, the standards for certification have greatly evolved alongside court reporting technology. As of now, there are three major levels and many different kinds of court reporting certification, all of which require specific demonstrated abilities. The three main tiers of certification are as follows:

  • Registered Professional Reporter (RPR)- This is the foundational level of certification and the present-day equivalent of a CP. To obtain RPR certification, a court reporter must transcribe 180 words per minute in literary settings, 200 words per minute in jury charge and 225 words per minute in testimony settings–all with a minimum accuracy rating of 95%. Currently, 22 states use the NCRA’s RPR exam as their standard of certification. However, many states have their own state licensure and certification requirements. A court reporter in Chicago may have to fulfill different requirements from one in Washington DC.

  • Registered Merit Reporter (RMR)- Once a court reporter is registered as an RPR and a member of the NCRA, he or she may take an exam and become a Registered Merit Reporter (RMR). To become an RMR, a court reporter must, again, demonstrate skill in literary, jury charge and testimony transcription, but this time at a rate of 200 wpm, 240 wpm and 260 wpm respectively. Again, a court reporter must be able to transcribe this dictation with a proven accuracy of 95% in each section.

  • Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR)- RDR certification is a means of distinguishing outstanding professionals in the field. An RDR must be able to transcribe in literary, jury charge and testimony at a respective 200, 240 and 260 wpm. However, an RDR must also sit for a written exam and demonstrate additional skills across technology, reporting practices and professional practices. To take the RDR exam, a court reporter must be an RMR with 5 continuous years of NCRA membership, beginning with Participating or Registered member status. RDR certification is a means of distinguishing outstanding professionals in the field of court reporting.

The NCRA currently estimates that there are 11,000 Registered Professional Reporters in the US, over 2100 Registered Merit Reporters and over 450 Registered Diplomate Reporters.

Beyond the three tiers of proficiency, court reporters may also qualify for additional certifications. For example, one can become a Certified Realtime Reporter by passing a test in which one successfully sets up and operates realtime court reporting equipment, writes a minimum 200 words per minute with 96% accuracy, and then converts the files into a final text format. Other related certifications that court reporters may obtain include:

  • Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC)

  • Certified CART Providers (CCP)

  • Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS)

A court reporter may also obtain instructor certification as a Certified Reporting Instructor, a Master Certified Reporting Instructor or a Certified Program Evaluator (CPE).

To learn more about our court reporting company and our professionals’ abilities, contact Capital Reporting Company today, and find a highly qualified court reporter near you.

Shortage of Court Reporters Predicted

Jill Cohen

Shortage of Court Reporters Predicted

According to the recent Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report commissioned by National Court Reporters Association, there will be an estimated 5,500 new court reporter jobs available by 2018 in the United States.  The greatest demand is expected in California, Texas, Illinois, and New York.  However, this demand for court reporters will likely exceed the supply within five years.  Already some states are feeling the impact of the court reporting shortage.  In South Carolina, criminal proceedings have had to be delayed because no court reporters have been available to record the proceedings.

The court reporting industry is experiencing this shortage as graduation rates from court reporting schools fall and the population of court reporters ages.  Seventy percent of court reporters are 46 years of age or older.  As older court reporters retire, younger court reporters are not rising up to fill the ranks, despite the significant advantages to a career in court reporting.  A court reporter has job security and the opportunity for growth without the expensive requirement of a four-year college degree.  And the average starting salary – currently $43,000 – is forecasted to grow 14% in the next five years.  A more experienced court reporter can make upwards of $100,000 annually.

To combat the shortage, court reporting schools are doing their best to provide attractive incentives to newcomers.  Some schools, such as the College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Indiana, are offering significant tuition discounts.  Most schools work hard to ensure all students are placed with a full-time position upon graduation.  In fact, most students will receive multiple job offers before they even graduate.

With all of these perks, why aren’t more young professionals headed into the court reporting field? One of the key problems seems to be a low awareness of the profession.  Further, a career in court reporting is challenging.  Court reporters must have an extremely high attention to detail and be very strong in English grammar.  Given the nature of the work, court reporters may be required to work through the night or throughout a weekend to complete a transcript.  Most court reporting positions are also very independent.  Court reporters will largely work from their home, and when they are on the job they are expected to be “seen and not heard.”  The job does not provide the camaraderie and socialization that today’s millennial generation desires.

Although advances in voice-recognition technology continue to be made, this is still not a valid alternative to the accuracy of a court reporter, and likely will not be for years to come.

Court Reporting Machines: How Do They Work?

Jill Cohen

Court Reporting Machines: How Do They Work?

In English a person can speak at a rate of 180 to 200 words per minute. Try to listen to a person speaking at that rate and typing their words on a conventional QWERTY keyboard. Even if you are a master typist, at best you may be able to type 80 words per minute. Enter the stenotype, a technological wonder that Washington DC court reporters like the ones at Capital Reporting Company have been using for decades. With the help of computers, however, these machines are faster and more accurate than ever. Using a stenotype, a court reporter can type over 200 words per minute. In fact, the world record for stenotype transcription stands at 275 words per minute.

Court Reporters in Washington DC use stenotypes to ensure court procedures move forward as quickly and fairly as possible. The stenotype, our court reporting machine, is a 22-key word processor. The left side of the stenotype is for the left hand to type initial consonant sounds. On the right, the final consonant sounds exist. Below these are the vowels. These keys can be pressed all at once so as to create syllables, words or even phrases in a single stroke. Think of a piano: with just 88 keys, a skilled pianist can combine notes to produce a lovely Christmas carol or a classical symphony and anything in between. With simply the 22 keys of a stenotype, one of our award winning Washington DC court reporters can reproduce the sounds of English words and phrases.

However, it is unlikely the words that your Washington DC court reporter transcribes will look anything like traditional English.  As you may see by now, the court reporter transcribes words by their sound rather than their spelling. Therefore to type “court,” a court reporter will start by pressing not a “c” but a “k” to give the initial sound. Using a single key or a combination of keys, the court reporter also recreates the “o” sound. The same goes for the later consonant sounds.Once this is done the court reporter will need the aforementioned computer to help to translate the words into conventional English orthography.

The court reporters at Washington DC’s Capital Reporting Company use up-to-date software to interpret the court transcripts. Each court reporter has his or her own glossary of sounds that tells a court reporter what a word or a set of sounds should represent. In this way, a Washington DC court reporter can distinguish between words such as “by” and “buy” when context does not make this distinction clear. Advances in technology such as this, in conjunction with years of training and court reporter experience, allows a court reporter to transcribe court dialogue with great accuracy. If you are looking for an experienced court reporter in Washington DC, you can contact us at 800-655-3679 or simply click here to schedule a Washington DC court reporter.

Why Are Court Reporters Necessary?

Jill Cohen

In the 21st century, there are mountains of choices in hardware and software that can record and even transcribe the human voice. Why, then, you may ask, are court reporters still so essential to the legal process? For one, voice recording and recognition technology are nowhere near capable of detecting the subtle nuances of human speech. How many times have you spoken a command to your smartphone, only to have it completely misinterpret what you’ve said? The human ear, or more accurately, the human mind, is the most careful and precise analyst when it comes to human speech patterns.

In the courtroom, this can mean a difference in verdict or judicial interpretation. If a lawyer says to a witness, “you did it,” this phrase can be read any number of ways. It takes the accurate ear and linguistic knowledge of a court reporter, like those at Capital Reporting Company, to understand the subtleties of that simple, three word phrase. Was it a statement (“You did it.”) or a question (“You did it?”) and on which word did the emphasis fall? These are all inflections that the skilled, experienced ear of a Washington DC court reporter might catch.

Additionally, court reporters are able to accurately interpret other small variations within a language such as accents, speed, or sudden switches between English and one’s native tongue. Especially in a cosmopolitan area like the District of Columbia, Washington DC court reporting relies on trained ears and insightful analytical minds. The list of uses for an accurate human reporter goes on, but let us focus on one of the most important: written record. At the end of the day, judges rely heavily on the detailed written records that court reporters produce. When sound volume and technology fail, judges need reliable transcription of the day’s events.

Court reporting is still a painstaking and highly valued task. Even as courtrooms across the country and in Washington DC cut costs, court reporters are still seen as indispensable within the judicial system. This is why awards for excellence in court reporting are still allocated, such as the “Best Court Reporting Service” award which Capital Reporting Company received from the Legal Times in 2013.

None of this is to say, however, that courtrooms or court reporters do not embrace technology. With today’s electronic advances, computers can instantly translate stenotype shorthand to provide judges with courtroom notes in real time. Combine that with the accuracy and experience of our Washington DC Court Reporters for the most accurate recording of your legal proceedings. Contact us or schedule your Washington DC court reporter here for courtroom transcription with unmatched accuracy.

Court Reporters: Typing Wizards or Technologically Savvy?

Court reporters: Typing Wizards or Technologically Savvy?

A court reporter can type up to 99.5% of all dialogue accurately. This is important when finances, child custody or legal penalties are at stake. It is crucial that Washington DC court reporter reflect exactly what has been said, so that justice proceeds smoothly. For this purpose, a Washington DC court reporter employs a special machine known as a stenotype. This is how court reporters can transcribe courtroom speech and deposition testimony so quickly.

A stenotype is a kind of word processor, but unlike your computer, it does not use a typical QWERTY keyboard. Instead, the court reporter uses a 22-key machine. How does the court reporter type without all 26 letters of the alphabet? Simply by responding to sounds instead of words: the left hand transcribes the initial consonant sounds of words, such as the “K” phoneme at the beginning of “courtroom”. The right hand types the final consonant phonemes, but since there is no “M” sound at the right hand side of the keyboard (or anywhere for that matter), the court reporter uses a combination of keys that will represent the “M” sound. Below these sets of keys are the numbers and then the vowels. Just four vowel keys can be combined to represent the myriad of vowel sounds in the English language. Think of all the ways we can pronounce the letter “O.”

An experienced Washington DC court reporter relies on his or her ears when reporting, to highlight the unique sound of a word. This saves time and difficulty when guessing how to spell any unfamiliar terminology. While speech recognition technologies exist, they are yet to match the trained accuracy of a court reporter’s ear, and likely will not advance to that stage for many years to come.

At Capital Reporting Company, our highly trained court reporters work with stenotype technology to produce fast and accurate legal transcription. Court reporters, over the years, develop their own unique glossaries of sounds so that they may know, for instance, that “RORT,” typed on a stenotype, translates to “Report.” Using their cultivated shorthand vocabularies, a court reporting professional can translate and review his/her transcriptions to give an accurate, documented account of court proceeding or deposition. In this way, a court reporter can transcribe dictation at a pace of at least 225 words in a minute.

Founded by two attorneys and a seasoned court reporter, Capital Reporting Company combines the speed and accuracy of our stenographers with reliable courtroom technology. The National Law Journal/ Legal Times ranked Capital Reporting Company as 2013’s Best Overall Provider of Court reporting Services. Our court reporting accuracy and reputation for excellence speak to the quality of service you can expect from us. We provide court reporting services not just in the Washington, DC metro area but throughout the United States, to ensure your legal matters are reported carefully and precisely. Contact our Washington, DC office at 800-655-3679 to learn more about our legal transcription and other services.