Will digital recordings replace court reporters?

There is a buzz about court reporting that we’d like to address - whether or not court reporting is a dying profession or if court reporting is making a comeback. We can say for sure that Oklahoma court reporters are in demand. In addition to human reporters, courts across the nation are utilizing digital recordings just to keep the court system moving ahead.

This is due to the court reporter shortage.

By the end of 2018, it’s estimated that we will have a shortage of about 80 reporters in Oklahoma and 5,000 or more across the nation. This is due in part, as the article states, to a growing demand for services and a shortage of reporters.

This begs the question, “Will digital recordings replace court reporters?”

The answer is a definitive no. While technology can record voices, it doesn’t have the ability to log evidence or, and we think more importantly, ask for clarification of names, request people speak one at a time, or provide a final transcript. Those (and more) are tasks best completed by a human court reporter.

In some courts, digital recordings have been implemented as a cost savings measure but the fact is that they still need the transcripts created. Hiring freelance court reporters could end up costing the same as if they’d left reporters in the courtrooms. Not only that but if the recording hits a technical snag, like it doesn’t record, or if the transcriptionist can’t understand what is being said, the case may need to be thrown out and started again which is costly.

The reality is that human court reporters are a needed and necessary part of the legal process and are likely to remain so for a long time.

It’s a win for the industry but poses an interesting problem. From a basic economic standpoint, there’s a supply and demand problem. There is high demand for court reporters both in legal settings and in business, education, politics, and more but there aren’t enough reporters to meet the demand.

As a court reporting firm, we are dedicated to continuing to spread the word about the benefits of being a court reporter to those seeking a first or second career. Thinking about court reporting? Give us a call. We’d love to share more with you!

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