What is a Digital Court Reporter?

Digital court reporting-also referred to as electronic court reporting-is one of many technology based reporting disciplines that a court reporter can specialize in. Like all specialized court reporters, a digital court reporter first receives training in the basic precepts and practices of court reporting before specializing as a digital court reporter. The key feature of digital reporting is its use of a high tech, multi channel recording system to clearly capture the words of a proceeding's official parties (prosecutor, defense attorney, judge and witnesses), regardless of the situation. Additional benefits of digital reporting include the ability to present past testimony in audio, the easy navigation of audio transcripts by judges and attorneys, and the elimination of a court reporter's need to interrupt testimony for the clarification of words or phrases. In addition to its unique benefits, digital reporting also offers unique features, which we list below.

Hot Links Created by the Reporter's Log Notes
As the reporter oversees the reporting from a computer terminal in the courtroom, he or she makes notes throughout the recording that are then used as hot links to navigate the recording. One of the biggest drawbacks to paper transcripts is the significant amount of time it can take to locate a certain section. Digital recording eliminates these drawbacks by allowing judges and attorneys to use the reporter's notes to quickly arrive at key points in the audio transcript.

Hot Links Created by Judges and Attorneys
To speed up the navigation of audio transcripts even more, judges and attorneys can make their own notes at the same time a reporter is making notes. By entering the notes using the same system, judges and attorneys have their notes audio-linked the same as reporters. Because even the simplest cases can take unexpected twists and turns when least expected, being able to quickly access previous testimony is more of a necessity than a convenience, and digital reporting can offer the quickest navigation of all.

Deliverable Over the Internet
Another advantage of reporting digitally is that audio transcripts along with their notes can easily be sent over the Internet, which can eliminate or reduce shipping delays and shipping costs, as well as allow for the instantaneous delivery of audio transcripts when last minute scenarios arise. The ability to store audio transcripts as computer files can also reduce the need for archiving space, which is valuable both courts and court reporting agencies.

Prevents Sound Deterioration in Copies
In the early days of audio transcripts, sound deterioration occurred when the court reproduced its original copy for the benefit of transcribers and attorneys, resulting in copies that sounded breezy, static filled and generally less sharp. Because digitized recordings are stored as computer files, an endless number of copies can be made with no deterioration in sound quality whatsoever.
In my research on court reporting agencies, I've studied the value that an electronic/digital court reporter can bring to court transcripts


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