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Creating a Transcript

As a rough rule of thumb, it could be said that the work a court reporter does in public, at the deposition or hearing, is about one-half to one-third of the total time needed to prepare a transcript.

There are five phases to getting a transcript produced. They are:

  1. Reporting
  2. Translation or Note Reading
  3. Scoping
  4. Proofreading and Correction
  5. Printing and Binding

1. REPORTING – The first requirement is that a reporter be present at the event to be reported to take down what is said. The most common method is the use of a stenographic writer. The reporter is present for the entire proceeding. The reporter swears in the witness. The reporter is also responsible for any exhibits which have been presented and must mark and catalog these before leaving.

2. TRANSLATION – The reporter’s notes have been made, but they are useless to almost anyone except the reporter in their raw form.  Specialized court reporter software is used to translate the notes into English, using a dictionary that matches that reporter’s writing style. Such translations are around 90 percent accurate. So what we have at this point is a rough translation of the text, with some raw steno markings in it, and none of the cover pages, index, and so forth expected on a finished transcript.

3. SCOPING – The process of editing this rough translation into a finished transcript is called “scoping.” The programs used for this offer many tools specialized to doing this speedily, but it still remains that the entire text of what was spoken must be read, understood, and any questionable areas clarified.

4. PROOFREADING – Once the transcript is “finished,” it is read through once again by the reporter and any errors noted for correction. The corrections are then made.

5. PRINTING – And, finally, the entire work is printed and bound.

You can see that someone has to “live through” the deposition or day in court three times over:– once at the actual event, once when scoping the job, and once again when proofing the transcript.

See the Glossary of Court Reporting Terms for more information on many of the topics mentioned here.