I am a court stenographer. Stenographers and stenographic recording of testimony is vital and necessary to ensure our judicial system runs efficiently and fairly to all. During testimony, stenographers can instantly provide readback to the judge and parties and further aid juries during deliberations.
Whether to save money or because of so-called shortages, there has been electronic recorders coming onto the legal market calling themselves digital court reporters. I feel a more fitting name for digital recording is a court recorder or digital recorder.
Stenographers abide by a Professional Code of Ethics, which includes confidentiality along with professional conduct. Stenographers are the only ones responsible for maintaining the official record.
Digital recordings can be given to anyone. Oftentimes, there are several typists and others involved to produce one transcript. The confidentiality and ethics regarding typists and others can be called into question when many users have ready access to secure and confidential information.
Transcripts of digital recordings often contain “(Inaudible)” when the typist is unable to hear and type the audio. During trial testimony, stenographers can ask for clarity, if there is a background noise, a mumbling witness or overlapping speakers. If a witness nods their head, stenographers ask for a verbal response. The trial record is clear and maintained.
Stenographers are the gold standard and should not be confused or replaced with a digital recording. Digital recording is not state-of-the-art technology and can never compete with a stenographic record.
I am a court stenographer. I've had a rewarding career that has span two decades writing on my stenographic machine. I've helped provide communication access to Deaf and hard of hearing individuals and have worked in the judiciary. I am proud of my accomplishments, the friendships I've made, and the future of stenographic reporting is here to stay.
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