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Is Court Reporting Becoming an Irrelevant Profession?

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Confidently, we can say that court reporting--having a human court reporter preserve the spoken word in a courtroom, classroom, or elsewhere--is in fact a thriving field.  Yes, technology has made incredible advances in speech to text technology, but there are still no signs of an electronic device that can perform every necessary task that a human reporter can. There are a few prime reasons that we cite for the necessity of court reporters.

First, if you have ever been in a crowded area like an airport, mall, or bus station, you know that it is impossible to hear and comprehend everyone's conversations all at once.  However, the human ear accomplishes a feat that no machine is yet capable of.  You have the ability to home in on just one conversation out of the entire crowd.  Your magnificient ears can pick out one voice out of hundreds.  In court or a classroom, there are many times when multiple speakers will attempt to speak at one time.  Court reporters are able to distinguish between voices and even request that the speakers proceed one at a time.  This is one advantage over electronic recording devices.

Proponents of these electronic recording devices claim that using them cuts down on costs.  They say that court reporters cost too much.  We find fault in this claim.  If a court chooses not to use an actual court reporter, they must purchase the equipment for video and audio recording, and speech to text software; they must hire a technician to run the equipment, then also hire someone to create and proofread the final transcript.  There have also been plenty of documented cases where recording devices malfunctioned or the technician running them made an error.  In these cases when the court has no transcript to refer to, the entire court proceeding must be done all over again.  Why pay for all of these things and run the risk of introducing more human and electronic error when you could have just ONE professional reporter that is held accountable by national and state certification standards?  Courts around the country have discovered these problems after switching to recording devices instead of using reporters.  Many of these courts are now switching back to using court reporters.

The last reason we cite for the growth of this field is the need for more closed captioners and CART providers.  There has been and always will be a need for the preservation of the record in court, but advances in technology are providing for more captioning and CART jobs than ever before.  A recent court ruling mandates that under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, companies like Netlix and Youtube that stream Internet videos, movies, and television shows are required to provide captions for their content.  In addition to those new jobs, CART providers now have the ability to procure more jobs by offerieng their services from remote locations over the Internet.  This coupled with the need for more CART providers at all educational levels, proves that court reporting is here to stay.

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Guest Sunday, 15 December 2019

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