About Us

Glossary of Terms

AFFIDAVIT
A written declaration made under oath before a notary public or other authorized officer.

APPEARANCE
A coming into court or to a deposition as a party to a suit.

APPEARANCE FEE
A fee paid when the court reporter arrives at a scheduled deposition but the deposition does not occur.

ASCII
(pronounced “askee”) A computer term which stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII is a means of exchanging text among dissimilar computers and computer programs. The term ASCII in court reporting is usually used to mean a file in this format. ASCIIs are the most common form of litigation support offered by court reporters at this time. Having the ASCII of a transcript allows a law firm to load the text into a computer for fast searches and extractions of portions of the testimony. The programs used for this purpose range from common word processors to sophisticated text databases.

CALENDAR
A “calendar,” in the field of law, is the schedule of upcoming appearances in court or legal proceedings. Attorneys keep a calendar of times when and where certain activities are to take place. An important section of Atkinson-Baker is the Calendar Department, which handles the scheduling assignments of our court reporters along with any changes in those assignments. A job which is scheduled to be done is said to be “on calendar.”

CAT
Computer-Aided Transcription. CAT systems are computer equipment and programs that perform three main functions. First, they translate the reporter’s notes into English. These notes are in electronic form. Secondly, they provide an editing system that is highly specialized for court reporting which allows the roughly translated text to be put into full, final transcript form. This step is also called “scoping.” And finally, the CAT system prints the transcript in the format required by legal practice: numbered lines, double spacing, and a box. Early CAT systems were based on a mainframe or mini computer. CAT programs came into wide use in the 1980s with the rise of the personal computer. A new wrinkle on CAT systems is Realtime translation.

CIC
Computer Integrated Courtroom. CIC is the application of computer technology in a courtroom or deposition room such that all parties present have immediate access to the text of the proceedings as it happens, plus possibly other resources such as past testimony and exhibit images.

CMR — Calendar Management Reports
The Calendar Management Reports are a series of automated reports sent from Atkinson-Baker’s computerized deposition calendar automatically by facsimile each morning. The reports inform and allow the receiver to double check: A) Orders that they placed the day before, B) Cancellations they made the day before, and C) Jobs due to occur for them the next day.

COMMISSION
An authority or writing issued from a court directing and authorizing a person or persons named to do some act or exercise some special function, usually to take the depositions of witnesses.

CONDENSED TRANSCRIPT
A miniaturized copy of the original transcript printed in such a way as to place eight or more pages of transcript on a single sheet of paper, front and back.

CONFIRM
Short for a confirmation. It is ABI policy to confirm each scheduled deposition (or “job”) with the taking law firm the day before the deposition is scheduled to occur. Confirms can be cross-checked by the person ordering the court reporter through the use of our Calendar Management Reports.

CONTINUANCE
The adjournment or postponement of a legal proceeding to a subsequent day.

COURT REPORTER
The stenographer who witnesses and reports on what is said at a trial, deposition, or hearing. A court reporter writes verbatim notes during the proceeding, then produces a full, written transcript of what was said from these notes.

CSR
A Certified Shorthand Reporter, a stenographer who has been specially trained to take shorthand by machine, primarily for legal proceedings, and has been certified by the state.

CUSTODIAN OF RECORDS
A type of court reporting job in which the person being deposed is there not so much to answer questions verbally but rather to convey records of some kind that he has control of. The person subpoenaed to appear is the custodian (keeper) of records being sought by the taking attorney. The subpoena will have charged the deponent with the task of bringing with him all of the records identified in the subpoena. Custodian of Records depositions are usually short in terms of time and text but have a great many exhibits, which must be marked and indexed by the reporter and then copied and bound.

DATE OF LOSS (abbreviated DOL)
A term used in insurance cases which refers to the date of an accident, injury, or other insured event that someone has filed a claim for.

DEFENDANT
A person accused of wrongdoing or sued in a court of law.

DEPONENT
A person who testifies under oath. The person answers questions put to him, and these questions and his answers are recorded in shorthand by the court reporter. After the text has been transcribed, the deponent is typically given the opportunity to read the written record of his statement, amend it or correct it as he sees fit, and then sign his name to it as being correct.

DEPOSITION (“DEPO” for short)
The giving of testimony under oath. The actual testimony of an individual or individuals, especially a sworn testimony. Depositions are usually distinguished from courtroom testimony. Depositions are taken before a case goes to trial, during the “discovery” phase of the case.

DICTIONARY
An essential part of a CAT system used in translating the reporter’s notes into English. The dictionary contains correlations between stenographic notes and English text. Since stenographers develop their own writing style and system of abbreviations, dictionaries are specific to each individual reporter and are compiled through repeated use and correction by the reporter.

EMERGENCY
At Atkinson-Baker, an emergency is a call that comes into the Calendar Department with an immediate job for a court reporter that was unplanned for. This is sometimes called a “same day depo.”

EXHIBIT
Document, object, etc., shown in court as evidence. Exhibits are marked with an identifying number by the court reporter and then indexed and described in the transcript of the proceedings.

EX PARTE
A Latin phrase, meaning on one side only; by or for one party; done for, in behalf of one party only.

EXPEDITE
An expedite is a job that has been explicitly ordered by one of the attorneys at a deposition to be delivered sooner than normal in exchange for an increased fee.

EXPERT WITNESS
A type of witness who gives testimony in relation to some scientific, technical, or professional matter.

INTERROGATORY
A formal or written question, or series of questions, which must be answered under oath. In some cases, there is no taking attorney present at a deposition. Rather, the court reporter is given a written list of questions which she herself asks the deponent and then reports his answers. Such a court reporting job is referred to as an “interrogatory.”

JOB
A term used at Atkinson-Baker to refer to one court reporting event. A reporter’s work at one location on one day for one client is usually what defines a job, and may cover multiple deponents. Each event is given a job number at the time the job is set, which thereafter identifies the job.

LITIGATE
To carry out a dispute or contest with someone before the law. To sue someone.

LITIGATION
Contest in a court of justice for the purpose of enforcing a contract or right.

LITIGATION SUPPORT or LIT SUPPORT
Broadly, this refers to any of the tools that an attorney may use to help categorize and display information about the case, things that support the litigation. This often includes visual aids used in a courtroom, such as charts and computerized recreations of an accident scene. In court reporting, lit support refers more narrowly to the production of transcript text in computerized form, such as an ASCII copy of the testimony or graphic copies of the exhibits on CD-ROM.

MACHINE STENO
The kinds of marks made by a steno machine, as differentiated from the marks used in handwritten stenography.

MEDICAL
A court reporting job in which the deponent is testifying as a medical expert witness. The court reporter needs to familiar with medical words and their spellings.

MOTION
An application, usually from an attorney, made to a court or judge for an order, ruling, or the like.

NOTES
The original stenographic marks made by a court reporter during the proceedings being reported. Notes can be made by hand with pen and paper or with a steno machine. A steno machine prints the notes on a folded paper tape and may also record them in electronic form such as a computer file on diskette. “Notes” usually refers to the entire stenographic record of one session. See also “uncertified notes.”

NOTICE
In a legal sense, a Notice is information, an advice, or written warning, in more or less formal shape, intended to inform a person of some proceeding in which his interests are involved, or informing him of some fact which is his right to know, and which it is the duty of the informing party to communicate. When a lawyer schedules a witness, he gives notice to other counsel in the case of where and when the testimony of whom will be taken.

O and 1 (O & 1)
A notation which means that the Original transcript plus one copy is being made of a transcript. “O & 5” would mean the Original plus five copies are being ordered. Pronounced, “oh-and-one,” the first character is an “O” for “original,” not a zero.

PARTY
A person who takes part in the performance of any act or who is directly interested in any affair, contract, etc., or who is actively concerned in the prosecution and defense of any legal proceeding.

PI (or P.I.)
Abbreviation for “Personal Injury,” a category of litigation which involves individuals who are victims of personal injury.

PLAINTIFF
The person who begins a lawsuit. The plaintiff accuses another of wrongdoing. See also “Defendant.”

REALTIME
Realtime as a computer term means “happening right now, in present time.” It is used loosely to refer to two different techniques and types of software used by attorneys and reporters during a deposition. See the next two entries for more information.

REALTIME CAT System Translation
The earliest use of the term “realtime” in court reporting referred to the concurrent translation of the reporter’s notes into English. Up until recently, translation was done after the deposition was taken, typically on a computer back at the court reporter’s office. The reporter’s notes were fed to a desktop computer. With the advent of powerful notebook computers, it is now possible for a CAT system to translate the notes as they are stroked in by the reporter. The reporter’s steno machine is connected to her notebook computer by a cable or wire and the data is transferred as it occurs instead of later. The notebook computer translates the notes as they are received.

REALTIME Text Capture for CIC
The term “realtime” is also used to refer to the simultaneous broadcast of the text of a deposition, in realtime, from the reporter’s realtime CAT system (see entry above) to one or more attorneys’ computers. This text is captured by a program running on the attorneys’ computers that is designed for this purpose. Very simple means are provided that allow the text to be marked, annotated, searched, reviewed, or printed during the proceeding or immediately afterwards without distracting the attorney.

“REPORTED”
Used as a noun, a “reported” is a completed session of note taking by a court reporter. The reporter showed up at the meeting, deposition, or hearing and took down what was said.

ROUGH TRANSCRIPT or ROUGH ASCII
See “uncertified notes.”

SAME DAY DEPO
See “Emergency,” above.

SCOPING
The process of editing the first, rough translation of the court reporter’s notes into final form. A court reporter may do this step herself or may hire a scopist. The scoped transcript is then proofread by the reporter.

SCOPIST
A person who assists a court reporter by taking the first, rough, computer translation of the reporter’s notes and editing them into full transcript format.

SETTING
An order placed for a court reporter. The act of scheduling a court reporting event.

SETTINGS
At Atkinson-Baker, the people who take incoming orders for court reporters and record all of the details needed by the attorney are called the “Settings Department.”

SHORTHAND
See “Stenography.”

STENO
Short for “stenography.” “Steno” can also refer to the marks (notes) made by the stenographer.

STENO MACHINE
A stenographic writer. A steno machine has three banks of keys plus a bar which are “stroked” in combinations that produce marks that represent sounds, words, and phrases.

STENOGRAPHER
A person skilled in the use of stenography.

STENOGRAPHY
Any system of writing that uses contractions and arbitrary marks in place of normal writing. Stenography is also called “shorthand,” and its purpose is to make writing fast enough to keep up with the spoken word, as in taking dictation or recording what is spoken at some event. Most forms of stenography are based on sounds, where certain marks stand for particular spoken sounds.

STIPULATION (sometimes referred to as a “stip”)
The name given to any agreement made between attorneys respecting business before the court. It is not binding unless agreed to by all counsel present, and most stipulations are required to be in writing. In a deposition, a stipulation is often spoken into the record by the taking attorney and agreed to verbally and on the record by the other counsel present.

STROKE
To “play” the keys on a steno machine so as to produce stenographic marks. The keys are often pressed in combinations using both hands, somewhat like playing a chord on a piano. Each downward motion of the hands is a stroke, and the mark so produced is also sometimes referred to as a stroke.

SUBPOENA
A judicial order requiring a person to appear and give testimony.

TAKING ATTORNEY
The attorney who ordered the deponent to appear for questioning. The taking attorney notices others in the case of the time and place of the deposition, subpoenas the deponent if needed, orders the court reporter, and asks the bulk of the questions.

TESTIMONY
The statement or declaration of a witness under oath.

TRANSCRIPT
The verbatim writing of what occurred at a legal proceeding, produced by the court reporter from stenographic notes taken at the time.

TRANSLATE (to translate notes)
The stenographic notes taken by the reporter must be translated into English text before they can be used by anyone else. It used to be that reporters read their notes from the paper pad and typed the English directly. Nowadays most reporters use a computer program known as a CAT system to make a first pass at the translation. After the CAT system has translated the job, it still needs to be scoped and proofread.

UNCERTIFIED NOTES
A term that refers to the first, rough translation of the reporter’s notes into English. Because the text has not yet been edited and proofread by the reporter, the reporter cannot certify that the record is complete and correct. Therefore, the text is said to be uncertified. Another phrase for this is “rough transcript.” An attorney using a realtime capture program at a deposition is receiving the uncertified notes or rough transcript of the job.

UNTRANSLATES
Untranslates are instances of untranslated stenographic markings appearing in a work which has been translated from stenographic notes. Untranslates will be present in a transcript which has been translated but not yet scoped, and some will appear in realtime text duing a deposition.

WORKSHEET
The cover sheet attached by a court reporter to each job, giving all the data necessary for rapid processing by the agency.

WRIT
A written order issued by a court, commanding the person to whom it is addressed to perform or cease performing some specified act.

WRITER
A steno machine.