How We Do It
Ever wonder how the proceedings of your deposition or hearing become a final printed transcript?
Let’s start with “that little machine” your court reporter uses to record the proceedings. The proper name is a stenotype machine, although there are several different models which carry a trade name, similar to the make and model of your car.
Using a stenotype machine, the court reporter phonetically records the proceedings with a system of alphabetic shorthand. There are many different systems of alphabetic or “machine” shorthand. Although the basics are the same, each reporter customizes the system to match their style of writing, making each reporter’s notes unique. Because it is a phonetic system, a reporter can write whatever he or she hears, even if the words are not familiar.
Even though there are many systems and individual adaptations of machine shorthand, the keyboard is configured the same on every stenotype machine. As you may have noticed, your court reporter’s stenotype keyboard does not have the corresponding letters and numbers imprinted upon it. Court reporters are encouraged not to watch their fingers – it only slows us down! Unlike a typewriter, multiple keys of the steno machine may be depressed at the same time, and combinations of the letters shown are used to represent the missing letters on the keyboard. For example, the combination of S K W R on the lower left-hand bank of the keyboard represents the letter J. Sound confusing? Learning to read and write machine shorthand is like learning a second language, and your court reporter is proficient at 225 words per minute and above!
All stenotype machines used by Bauer Court Reporting, Inc. are computerized, meaning that the proceedings are being recorded electronically on a 3-1/2″ diskette and/or other media, as well as being transmitted to a laptop computer via realtime translation.
Now that you have a brief overview of how the reporter stenographically records your deposition or hearing, let’s move on to what happens “behind the scenes” when the reporter leaves your office.
The first step toward the final transcript that you see is to translate those hieroglyphic-type steno notes into English. Absent a realtime translation, the reporter takes the electronic notes from the steno machine we discussed earlier and reads it into a computer containing software made especially for producing transcripts. It then matches the steno notes to that individual reporter’s personal dictionary and translates the notes into English. A court reporter’s dictionary takes years to build and refine. The better the dictionary, the more efficient the following steps will be. The court reporters at Bauer Court Reporting are knowledgeable and have many years of combined experience in computerized transcription.
After the steno notes are matched against the dictionary, some untranslated shorthand may still remain. This may be due to words or names that are unique to your particular case, words simply not yet entered in the reporter’s dictionary, or – though we hate to admit it – a fingering error made by the reporter in recording the proceedings. A “scan” or quick edit of the transcript highlights these words or phrases, and they are resolved by the court reporter.
Once the scan edit is complete, the transcript is printed in a rough draft format. It is then proofread by the court reporter for content, spelling, punctuation, et cetera. The corrections made during proofreading are entered into the computer, a spell-check is performed, and the final version of the transcript is printed.
Although we’ve tried to condense and simplify our description of this procedure, the production of a final transcript takes roughly twice the amount of time as the original proceeding. By the time it is all said and done, a court reporter may hear or see the same words from your deposition or hearing up to five times. And you thought it was tedious the first time around!
Thanks for taking the time to review how we record your proceeding, transcribe it, and deliver the final printed transcript to your office. A listing of the services we offer can be found in the Services section of our website, www.bauerreporting.com. If you have further questions, need more information, or would like a demonstration, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 724-444-1080, or use the Contact Us section of our website. We’ll be happy to respond to your inquiries or requests.