Court Reporting vs. Legal Transcriptionist
Transcribing legal hearings, depositions, and other meetings is growing in demand. Many companies, individuals, and agencies use these professional services to try and create accurate and legally binding records. Is there a difference between a court reporter vs. legal transcriptionist? Both produce transcripts, but a few requirements separate these professions. Some believe court reporting and legal transcription seem to have identical duties since both of these professions create transcripts of court and legal proceedings. These specialists must document the words of the witnesses, attorneys, and others with a high accuracy rate. Although some think the training is similar, court reporters face more stringent education and skill requirements. However, the critical difference is the environment where these professionals work. Kusar Court Reporters specializes in court reporting services. Schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you by calling (800) 282-3376.
What Is a Court Reporter?
Court reporters may be called stenographers, law reporters, or shorthand reporters. The name “stenographer” comes from the type of machine used to capture the transcription, known as a stenograph. With that device, the court reporter creates a transcription with shorthand notes. Typically, these trained professionals work in the legal industry to provide reporting in real-time. One of many functions of their job is speed; they need to capture all words spoken, oftentimes exceeding 200 WPM, during legal proceedings.
Along with typing at a high rate of speed, court reporters need to be accurate as well. Once the deposition, hearing, or trial is completed, the court reporter prepares a transcript of the proceedings. While real-time reporting is often utilized, court reporters can work in other industries, including public events and closed captioning. Court Reporters must complete courses and training through approved schools and then pass state-specific competency tests and take continuing education classes.
What Is a Transcriptionist?
On the other hand, a legal transcriptionist may be found in a less formal setting. Transcriptionists can assist with legal hearings, meetings, and witness interviews. Plus, they may help prepare legal documents, offer dictation services, and transcribe 911 calls. Primarily, the legal transcriptionist produces transcriptions from audio and video recordings. Their documents should contain word-for-word conversations but often do not. Slang, dialects, and accents often affect the outcome of these legal transcripts.
Transcriptionists just do not work in the legal field; they may assist those in the academic, financial, business, law enforcement, and medical industries. These individuals might even work with clients for private projects, such as documenting family history or recording a memoir for a book. These professionals work on a contractual or conditional basis. Most of them are self-employed and work as independent contractors. Often, they receive payment for the work they complete, such as the number of lines or the audio minutes transcribed. Some individuals work for a transcription company, allowing them access to the newest systems. These professionals often use a secure online system to download and upload documents with cloud hosting.
Which Is Better: Court Reporter or Legal Transcriptionist?
In an official legal setting, a court reporter captures real-time words and composes them into a certified legal transcript. According to the United States Courts, a court reporter must record all court deliberations. In simple terms, a court reporter is required if a judge sits for the case. It is the court reporter’s duty to ask for clarification when people are speaking at the same time. Whereas in the case of a transcriptionist, if it is unintelligible or people speaking over each other, there is no opportunity for clarification. The transcript may say “inaudible,” whereas a court reporter, a human, can ask for clarification. Who to choose – court reporter vs. legal transcriptionist? If a client needs real-time streaming, or a certified transcript, or if a judge is present, the client must use a reporter in court. When audio and video of a recording needs to be transcribed, a legal transcriptionist can complete the job.
Some clients may have a tight timeline to receive certified transcripts. For same day transcripts, a court reporter produces faster results. Often, the transcript is ready immediately after the meeting or hearing. The timeline may vary when a transcript needs to be made from a recording. Typically, an accurate record can take about five or six hours to complete. A professional service might be better than hiring an independent contractor. These companies work with court reporters who have the formal education requirements for the job. Additionally, they have a background and experience with legal procedures and understand the terminology, producing faster and more accurate transcripts.
Choose a Court Reporting Agency for Your Needs
Is the court reporter vs. legal transcriptionist debate settled? Knowing the difference may help you find the ideal professional for your particular situation. When accuracy is necessary, finding a reputable and skilled professional is essential for any hearing, deposition, or legal case. When you require qualified court reporters for your situation, reach out to Kusar Court Reporters. These professionals meet all of the requirements and hold valid licenses in their respective states. Schedule a consultation by calling (800) 282-3376.