Are Court Reporters Obsolete?

Are Court Reporters Obsolete?

In today’s era of automation and virtual assistants, many workers fear their profession could soon be taken over by robots, so to speak. But how accurate is that assumption?

Well, jobs like driving, data entry, financial analysis, customer service, medics, and manual labor are already being replaced by artificial intelligence. Whether it’s self-driving cars or robots performing surgery, the workforce is changing with automation. In the fields of reporting and proofreading, for instance, some professionals are worried their jobs could become obsolete.

But is there any weight to that concern? The rise of voice recognition software and a shortage of court reporters has pushed this worry into the spotlight. Are court reporters now obsolete in the digital age?

No substitute for real-time stenography

Court reporting takes a certain level of skill and critical thinking that computers can’t offer. Despite technological advancements, court reporters are still considered the most credible transcribers. They can produce accurate legal records and note interpersonal nuances and emotions that computers might miss.

Human judgement is also needed to discern accents, dialects, slang, and overlapping speech. Even the most high-tech voice recognition software still malfunctions frequently. Virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa can understand commands, but only in simple language. Often in court proceedings, testimonies are said in a conversational manner that voice recognition software may not be advanced enough to grasp.

Laws are frequently specific to certain states and even certain cities, and local expertise is a must. Court reporters in Miami or anywhere else are trained to understand complex legal procedures involving trials and depositions. They need to have that training and knowledge to navigate a complicated legal system. Our technology is smart, but it still doesn’t have the capability needed to correctly transcribe and understand legal proceedings.


Court reporters have attorneys’ trust

The growing costs of maintaining court systems has urged courts to cut expenses. Despite the cost-cutting, court reporters have remained as record keepers, especially for high stakes cases. That’s because a personal injury lawyer and other attorneys trust them to produce the most accurate records. Amid the digital revolution, court reporters are still the most reliable choice for lawyers.

And replacing court reporters with computers to save money may not even be a valid argument, as recording software comes with hidden costs that could cost attorneys and their clients money. In fact, a computer-generated transcript could even cost more than one done by a court reporter.

Technology can help not hurt court reporters

While we’re seeing changes in the workforce, that doesn’t necessarily mean humans should feel threatened by our modern technological advancements. In fact, technology can actually benefit court reporters and help them do their jobs more efficiently. Several new advancements are making court reporters’ lives easier.

Real-time computer software is now able to immediately transcribe court reporters’ shorthand into intelligible English so judges and attorneys can have the transcripts readily available. And in some situations, court reporters have started using video and audio recordings and voice recognition software to aid in their transcriptions.

The technology can do the bulk of the recording and transcribing and court reporters can be there to correct any potential errors, articulate nuances the computer could not capture, and turn recordings into coherent documents. Digital recordings can also act as a back-up for courts. These processes are making court reporters’ jobs more efficient and gives them more time to focus on other tasks associated with their work.

In regards to court reporting and technology, the main issue is about ensuring fair trials and court proceedings. While computers can assist in transcribing efficiently, human court reporters are critical for maintaining a just system, especially when it comes to difficult cases.

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