Wednesday, 19 Jun 2019

Human vs. Machine Court Reporting

As technology encroaches into every aspect of our lives, more and more people wonder what future of work looks like. We do know that there is a wide range of jobs that can be improved or modernized with the help of automation and technology.

However, there are many careers and responsibilities, such as those done by court reporters in Pittsburgh and other communities that can’t be replace by machines. Or can they? Yes, this is a raging debate as organizations look for ways to cut costs, improve efficiency, and remove the risk of error.

At first glance, it appears that court reporting is ideally suited to being replaced by machines. To help underscore how and why this is not the case, let’s look at machine court reporting and why human court reporters are still a necessary part of the legal system.

Machine Court Reporting

The legal profession is buzzing with how technology can make great strides in how lawyers, court reporters, legal transcriptionists, paralegals, and other legal professionals work. While the advantages of eDiscovery, online legal portals, machine learning, and legal research tools can’t be denied, the debate is still out on the advantages of machine court reporting.

New courtroom technology including digital voice recording software, synchronized video deposition, videoconferencing, voice recognition software, and artificial intelligence-powered tools are all contributing to a dependence on the machine over the human court reporter.

However, we want you to think of the times technology has failed you. For example, the lost emails, the fax that wouldn’t transmit, the early days of cloud technology that resulted in lost data, missing USB sticks, and lost data. In all of these examples, there are no backup plans – we placed all our faith on the email working, the meeting being scheduled, or the important documents being accessible and available.

It’s this lack of backup plan that underscores why you still need to and know how to hire a court reporter.

Why You Need a Human Court Reporter

You need a human court reporter for one clear and obvious reason: errors. In step with this core reason is needing to have a backup plan. What happens when your artificial intelligence-powered court reporting technology makes errors during transcription? What happens when the digital files are corrupted, or the cloud fails? What will you do to recover from these costly and damaging errors?

Let’s look at the benefits of hiring a court reporter:

  • Professionally trained. Court reporters are trained and certified to efficiently and effectively keep an accurate account of courtroom hearings, depositions, and pretrial hearings.
  • Inconsistencies in language. When people are under stress, for example during legal testimony, they speak quickly, speak quietly, miss words, stutter, and mumble. In addition, many people have accents or use colloquial language. Human court reporters are trained to understand and adjust for these inconsistencies.
  • Noise, noise, noise. A human court reporter is trained to focus and drill down on what is being said during the testimony. Talented court reporters are able to block out extraneous courtroom noise and focus on what is being said. This keeps the recording focused and accurate.
  • Professional efficiency. Human court reporters are extremely efficient. Typically, it can take up to one month to receive an accurate digital recording of testimony. Most court reporters can turn around the same transcript in real-time, thanks to their knowledge in legal matters, fast typing speed, keen eye for errors, and professional diligence.
  • Added legal benefits. Synchronized video deposition that uses synchronized video and transcription by the court reporter is a huge benefit in the courtroom. This dual approach allows lawyers and others in the hearing to better retain information and to quickly identify key legal points.

The demand for human court reporters continues to be on the increase, and this above all else should underscore why machines cannot replace human court reporters. When the very legal experts who rely on court reporting skills prefer a human over a machine, this clearly shows why human court reporters are the smartest choice.