Court Reporting Services

Court reporting services are simply services that provide court reporting, closed captioning, transcription, and other services. Anyone who needs these types of services should be familiar with the basics of court reporting services. This article will wake a look at some of these basics.

What is a Court Reporting Service?

A court reporting service, as above mentioned, provide court reporting to customers who need these services. They are generally firms that employ a number of court reporters and can thus service many clients at once. Often these services assign a reporter to one particular case upon client request and then sell the transcripts to the client or anyone else that requests them.

The following is a list of some of the services that a court reporting service may offer:

Court Reporting

This is the basic service and the one that most people associate with these agencies. An attorney or other party involved in a trial, hearing, or other court proceeding contacts the service and requests that a court reporter be present. The service looks at its roster of available professionals and assigns one for the particular time and date requested (as long as, of course, one is available).

The reporter shows up to the court house or hearing room, meets the attorney or simply sets up his or her reporting equipment, and begins taking direct dictation of what is being said, along with other information, when the proceedings get underway. He or she may use either stenopraphic, voice writing, or electronic recording methods to capture the spoken interchanges. The reporter captures everything in realtime and often manipulates electronic files that are created in realtime using the Computer Aided Transcription (CAT) method.

Once the trial is over, the court reporter returns to his or her office at the court reporting firm and upon request of the client, assembles the data collected into a coherent and readable transcript that documents exactly what occurred during the court proceedings. A number of different people may want a copy of the transcript, and the court reporting service can charge each individual for the copy they request.

Meeting, Speech, Convention, and Other Event Recordings

These services are often not limited to the sphere of legal proceedings and litigation. They can also send a reporter to be present at a variety of other events. For instance, if a corporation or small business is having an important business meeting at which company policy will be discussed and at which the input of many different individuals will be heard, the business may wish to have an official record of what was said and the conclusions that were arrived at. They can call the court reporting service and request that the service sends a reporter in the same manner as with a court proceeding. The service checks its schedule, finds a free reporter, and sends him or her to cover the meeting. And once the meeting is finished the reporter prepares a transcript which is made available to interested parties for a few just as in the instance of court proceedings.

Other events such as speeches, conventions, and so on are handled in the same way. The reporter may elect to use different methods for various situations – for instance for a rapid fire business discussion with a lot of debate, a reporter may use voice writing techniques, while for a leisurely speech, the stenographic method or electronic reporting (i.e. digital recording) may be employed. A particular court reporting service may specialize in one particular method however, so that should be borne in mind.

Document Transcription

Often these companies will offer to do simple document transcription in addition to their other services. This is simply taking a document and transferring it to another medium. For instance, let’s say a law firm has old paper or microfilm documents from a long time ago. The service will, for a fee, take such a document and put it into electronic format, and perhaps provide printout for it as well.

Video Transcriptions

Often various proceedings or meetings will be recorded on video. The court reporting service will offer to transcribe the video in much the same way as they would for a live event. A complete and readable transcript of the video is created, often in both electronic and paper format.

Closed Captioning

This is a whole branch of court reporting that deals with displaying captions based on what is being said in a live setting. It is used on television, at various events at which hearing impaired individuals are present and need to have a good understanding of what is being said, or at events where there are foreign people who don’t speak English or speak it rudimentarily. The court reporting service sends a reporter whose is trained in closed captioning and usually the use of the system known as Computer Access Realtime Translation (CART) to cover the proceedings.

Selecting a Court Reporting Service

Make sure when selecting a service that you get references from past clients. This will give you the assurance that they are reputable and capable. If you hear more than a few minor complaints, maybe you need to consider selecting another service.

You can also check with the Better Business Bureau in the state where the court reporting service is located. They should be members of the BBB in good standing. If there are any complaints about the service, they may be filed with the BBB as well.

Finally you can check with professional organizations such as the National Court Reporter’s Association (NCRA), The National Verbatim Reporter’s Association (NVRA), or state or local court reporting organizations in your area, to see if they have any information about the service, and whether the latter is a member of the organization.

In addition to this it is important to be able to talk openly and in a friendly way with court reporters about pricing and to get a contract or estimate statement in writing as to what charges will be and what services will be delivered. Selecting a good court reporting service is important to insure that you get the most out of this useful tool.