Getting Started on Realtime


Getting Started on Realtime

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In this day of technology hitting us from all directions, our profession is not exempt. As a means of making a record, a good realtime reporter outshines all other methods and guarantees a place in the legal support space.

We have an exciting and rewarding profession. Realtime is a new and fun game. Are you ready for the challenge?


Realtime is the immediate translation of the reporter’s machine writing into a transcript of the proceedings. As the reporter writes the proceedings, the strokes are translated against the “dictionary” file which has been individually created for that reporter’s personal style of writing. The translation appears on the receiver’s computer within seconds of the words being spoken.


Only a realtime reporter can provide an instant transcript. Voice recognition and/or digital recording cannot provide an instant translation of the quality required for legal purposes.

Writing realtime makes being a reporter more interesting. Instant translation as you are writing creates a new game to play – the game of getting a perfect translation (or as close as possible).

Realtime helps to create final transcripts faster and more efficiently. More efficient editing of transcripts equals faster production, that is, final pages out with less time and effort.


The first step is to decide. Worries and concerns can stop a person from forging ahead into the unknown. Change can be a difficult thing to confront. The solution is to put one’s attention, instead, on the goal of going realtime and simply do the necessary steps to accomplish that goal.


You need a laptop and a software system that allows you to write realtime. Plus ensure you are signed up for software support.

You need to be a good writer and to have confidence in your writing. This comes with speed. If you can write fast and write anything, you will have confidence. Get your certifications, and practice daily. You can use finger drills or a software program app.

Practicing regularly will keep you sharp, ready for that fast witness or attorney, and it keeps realtime translations looking professional.

Arrive early to the job so that you have plenty of time to set up, to test your equipment, and to troubleshoot as necessary. Obtain a caption and appearances ahead of time, if possible, and enter the names in your job dictionary. This assists you in getting a better translation.


While most attorneys have heard of realtime, they are not necessarily familiar with the benefits to them.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Immediate access to the rough transcript to check if all intended questions were asked, if all intended answers were gotten, and if something needs follow-up
  • Ability to do keyword searches during proceedings
  • Ability to organize for other depos or proceedings in the same case
  • A reference point after breaks and off-the-record discussions
  • Ability to mark testimony for later reference
  • Ability to take notes
  • Walk away from the proceedings with a rough transcript


By embarking on this new adventure, you open your horizons to personal levels of production never before reached. You will begin to write faster and more precisely.

In doing so, you guarantee yourself an integral role in the legal system and in protecting the integrity of the record.

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