Automated Technologies Cannot Replace Court Reporters
Will new technologies render court reporters obsolete? The answer to that question, according to Stenographer Dina Marcus, is no — at least not for a long time. While many people assume that voice recorders, videoconferencing, tapes, and voice-to-text technology can do everything that an actual human being can do, when it comes down to it, that’s just not true.
Voice Recording Falls Short
What is the problem with using simple recording technology? “You can’t use tape recorders, because you don’t know who’s speaking. You hand over the tapes to a typist, and the typist doesn’t know who’s speaking,” Marcus explains. Live, professional court reporting services also have the advantage of asking for immediate clarification and making any changes to court transcripts as necessary. That is, there is no confusion about what has been said that is difficult to clear up after the fact. Professionals working for a court reporting agency also have training (an average of 33.3 months of it!) that enables them to decipher court testimony when people are speaking particularly fast — or even when several people are speaking at once.
The Problems With Voice-To-Text And Video
Court reporting services are no joke. Future court reporters spend a minimum of 15 hours per week transcribing court reports. Ultimately, working as a reporter will require typing as many as 225 words a minute, all while using very specific legal terminology and shorthand. It is highly difficult to develop voice-to-text technology that is able to use this same shorthand. What’s more, voice-to-text isn’t wholly accurate. Voice recognition technology can (and does) get it wrong. Picking out these inaccuracies is time-consuming and, at times, difficult. Voice-to-text and video fail to afford the same convenience as a court reporter. Parties can ask a live court reporter to repeat parts of testimony verbatim if necessary; it is much more difficult to achieve the same thing — a relatively simple thing — using video or voice-to-text.
Stenographers and court reporters provide critical services — services that, at this point, cannot be adequately replicated by any machine or automated technology.