When it comes to informational accuracy, technology surpasses human intelligence in several circumstances, but are court hearings included? Surprisingly enough, they’re not.
While some people may go along with the potential obsolescence of court reporters and the deployment of digital recording as a sole reporting method, that may not be fully recommended for a number of reasons. Modern technology and artificial intelligence are optimizing day-to-day tasks and facilitating operations that would otherwise take long hours to be completed. On the other hand, despite their systematized functioning, electronic devices aren’t failure-proof. That’s where the human element makes an entrance.
Digital recording: the latest technology for accurate documentation
Digital reporting or electronic reporting is, in the words of the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, the “use of professional-level audio recording systems to register court proceedings.” Those unfamiliar with the judicial scenery might consider the presence of a human court reporter unnecessary in any case – after all, an electronic device has a faster and stricter capability of collecting crucial information. Still, electronics malfunction, break, and regardless of outside conditions, they’ll only work according to their primary function, which isn’t optimal when you think about it.
When taking human failure rates into account, however, one may find that there’s a high risk of information loss and defective machine performance. In ideal conditions, the recording device would be working properly, and all members would respect their time to speak. Yet, it’s common for litigants lower their voices or speak almost inaudibly in certain instances, which may or may not be caught by a recording device. Additionally, not everyone will keep their speeches stable in court and member will sometimes interrupt one another. When such situations meet poor device functioning, bad audio quality, and human error (e.g. forgetting to press the “record” button), a bunch of missing information could compromise the case and information could be gone permanently.
The job of court reporters is still critical for complete reports
Court reporters are highly trained professionals who are knowledgeable about legal proceedings and emergent technologies. Their expertise and dexterity is based on years of training, which qualifies them to document entire judicial processes. Just for reference, a person must be able to type about 225 words per minute in order to pass the United States Registered Professional Reporter Test.
Another major difference between digital recordings and court reporters is that the best professionals have an expedited turnaround of all transcripts, as is the case with skillful Miami court reporters. Some court cases require faster processing and a shorter turnaround time for being more complicated than others, which once again favors the reporters’ set of skills. They won’t simply deliver transcripts on time — they’ll interpret them, clarify misheard sentences with heavy accents, for example, and offer real-time technology so every court member, including the hard of hearing, has instant access to transcripts. Their role makes sure to benefit judges and jurors alike, providing information that can be accessed in person or remotely.
Should one be employed without the other?
Without technological assistance, the job of court reporters would be harder. For this reason, their education and certifications must always meet high standards of innovation and deliver extremely precise transcripts in a short period of time.
For all-encompassing and error-free documentation, digital recordings paired with the proficiency of a court reporter would be suitable. However, reliable and proficient reporters are always up-to-date with the latest technologies to capture hearings accurately, so the extra cost of a recording device might not be necessary. Court reporters are, at least in the predictable future, the best voice-to-text transcriptors courts can rely on.