Did you know how Court Reporters Counsel/Attorneys may best assist in ensuring a good record is produced by a Certified Court Reporter / Certified Real-time Reporter?

The shorthand writing of court reporters is based on a phonetic alphabet which is broken down into syllables in conjunction with many short forms. Each spoken word is written by the court reporter in such a way that his/her shorthand is recognized and then translated into English. This requires extraordinary skill and thought process on behalf of the court/real-time reporter. It, therefore, may slow down the court reporter’s writing ability to a degree so that he/she may achieve the best possible readable transcript; therefore, again, if the pace is too quick, it will inhibit the court reporter’s abilities and jeopardize the quality of the transcript. 

Another critical reason that the proceeding is conducted in a reasonable and methodical manner is to enable the court reporter the opportunity to insert the appropriate punctuation during the proceeding, as lack of punctuation may confuse the intended meaning of the words spoken. For example when speakers are continually interrupting one another or when a speaker changes his/her thought process midstream or when a speaker is speaking too quickly with run-on sentences, punctuation in these situations may be difficult, if not impossible, to discern until the actual editing phase, when preparing the final transcript.


Ideally, the court reporter’s goal is to be as unobtrusive as possible, to interrupt as little as possible, but even under ideal circumstances, a court reporter may find it necessary to interrupt to clarify something said so that no ambiguities exist or to clarify a name. An experienced reporter will do his/her best to electronically mark his/her notes during the proceedings when names of places or persons are said so as to not interfere with the flow and then spend time at the end of the proceedings with the parties to clarify the information or to refer to specific documents. 

For real-time proceedings, however, the court reporter will request to view or be provided a few days in advance of the date of the proceedings a copy of the pleadings and any relevant material so that the court reporter may prepare a job wordlist. This is crucial information as the court reporter’s dictionary must contain the necessary job-related words to have a clear, viewable transcript by all - to ensure translation of any technical words, industry specific words, and names that may be encountered.