About Court Reporting and Recording
The Court Reporting Industry is committed to providing an accurate record of court proceedings for use by legal personnel and to that end has two main functions.
- To record court proceedings according to client requirements;
- To accurately transcribe recorded proceedings
The recording and transcription of court and tribunal proceedings is achieved by various methods, depending on the technology applied. While some courts have their own in-house recording facilities, others outsource this function to ACRIA members in the private sector. The quality of recordings, and subsequent transcription, often depends on the location/types of microphones used and the quality of the recording/mixing equipment applied to the task.
There are several different technologies currently in use in the industry:
- Real Time Reporting (Stenographic Reporting):
In situations where courts or tribunals require immediate access to transcript, stenographic transcription staff with real time capabilities are engaged. As the shorthand reporter records the proceeding, the electronic note from the stenograph machine is transcribed in real time by a computer equipped with reporter-specific software. This enables the transcript to be viewed on laptops almost immediately, in real time, by presiding judicial officers and lawyers in the court.
- Digital Audio/Video Recording:
Both the audio and vision of the proceedings are recorded digitally. The data is stored on similar media to that used for storage of digital audio data.
- Digital Audio Recording:
Proceedings are recorded using digital audio technology. The audio is converted to data which can be stored on a wide range of media, such as computer servers, CDs, DVDs, MP3s and memory sticks.
MONITORING OF RECORDINGS
To retrieve specific parts of court recordings for courtroom playbacks or transcription, ACRIA members provide a monitoring process when recording proceedings. The processes undertaken are:
- In court monitoring – The operator takes manual log notes of major occurrences in a proceeding (start and finish of hearing, testimony, cross examinations, judgments, etc). Where in-court monitoring has taken place, log notes/captions which have been embedded into digital recordings can be immediately retrieved by searching the embedded log entries.
- Audio Transcription – As noted above, court recordings can be stored on a variety of media. To efficiently retrieve specific sections of recording, ACRIA members have acquired a wide range of devices and industry specific software. This enables them to not only retrieve the recordings but also assist transcription staff by varying playback speed to suit their keyboard input operation.
Once recordings of proceedings have been made, the Court Reporting Industry engages fast typists who transcribe the recorded proceedings. Transcription typists work at speeds in excess of at least 80 words per minute at 98% accuracy.
Specific parts of recordings are transcribed to clients’ individual formats and work is checked to ensure compliance (i.e. format, accuracy and quality etc.) prior to delivery. Within the Australasian context, whilst some clients specify hard copy transcript, the majority of transcript is now delivered in electronic form (CDs or email attachments).
STENOGRAPH AND REALTIME REPORTING
As well as the above audio recording methods, courts and tribunals are sometimes recorded by a real time court reporter.
The real time transcript created by the court reporter is ultimately converted into electronic formats which are compatible with the various word processing and transcript analysis programs used by counsel and judiciary, enabling more efficient research of transcript.
The Court Recording industry in Australia pioneered digital recording technology and has continued to adopt relevant technologies to store, retrieve, transfer and manage data. Utilising both wide and local area networks (LAN/WAN), Virtual Private Networks (VPN), the remote recording of court proceedings and the production of multiple copies of recordings for storage, the electronic generation of transcript has become normal practice with member organisations.
As a result of the leading capabilities offered by ACRIA members, the in-house systems used to manage recording, storage, transcription and billing processes enable companies to provide their clients with efficient and cost-effective resource usage (i.e. court sitting times, pages delivered to courts and clients). They are also able to provide accurate performance data which courts can use for their management decision-making.
ACRIA members are always interested in recruiting keyboard operators who are both computer literate and keen to embrace emerging technology, combined with a good knowledge of English. For more information about employment in the court recording and transcription industry, see the Careers section on this website.