Court reporting is one of the oldest, and most important functions during legal proceedings. Throughout history courts and judicial systems have utilized court reporters to ensure a trials fairness and accuracy. By having someone there to document every word spoken and action performed it’s easy to go back and review any individual case to determine if anything was done wrong or left out altogether. You can’t just leave the job to any person who can hear and type though. Here are three aspects that any person trying to perfect professional court reporting should have.
1.) Accuracy: The most important factor when it comes to court reporting services has to be accuracy. It differs by certification program, but generally a court reporter must be able to keep up with testimony at a 95% accuracy rate. If there are inaccuracies in the transcription of testimony the entire case could be called into question and potentially forfeit. Because of the fast-paced nature of the job proofing/editing is virtually impossible. A great court reporter must be able to keep up error-free the first time through.
2.) Speed: If there could be two most important things, speed would certainly be the other. It does no good if the court reporting is 100% accurate, but 50% complete. There are three different national court reporting associations with their own set of standards in the United States. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA), and the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). The NCRA, for example, requires a minimun speed of 225 words per minute to become certified.
3.) Breadth of Knowledge: While the first two areas are as evident as they are important, one of the traits that doesn’t get mentioned as often in court reporters is their overall knowledge base. This contributes to both speed and accuracy. Someone with greater knowledge of things in general will have an easier job identifying potentially confusing or industry specific terms, organizations, references, and names.