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The Future Of Court Reporting

Friday, March 27, 2020

Each of us is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in various ways. Working court reporters who may have had full schedules for the upcoming weeks and months just a week or two ago are suddenly left grappling with the postponement of trials.

As people seek to slow the spread of the virus by limiting face-to-face contact and gatherings, some state and local governments have mandated the closure of courts in the interest of the public health. In some cases, this pandemic will mean parties settle outside court rather than waiting for an indefinite time period to resume in-person proceedings. 

Still, although traditional court reporters are facing some uncertainty in the near term, the future of court reporting remains strong. 

Today’s Technology Cannot Replace Human Court Reporters 

Before COVID-19, court reporters were in high demand and there is little reason to think that will change when this current crisis ends.

In recent years, there has been speculation that technological advancements could make human court reporters obsolete. We have become accustomed to digital assistants on our phones and in our homes, voice-to-text and talk-to-email functionality, voicemail transcription, and more. That said, is court reporting a dying career? No! 

Transcribing depositions and courtroom proceedings requires reliability and a high degree of accuracy. The reality is that the output of human digital court reporting and stenography professionals is still much more accurate than today’s technological innovations can deliver. If you’ve ever relied on your phone to compose a text or email, it’s easy to understand that this technology is limited.

Digital Court Reporting Using AI and Human Court Reporting Professionals Improves Accuracy

In many courtrooms and other environments where court reporters work, technology is playing a growing role in capturing recordings of proceedings. As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning improve the functionality of digital recording tools, these tools are becoming more valuable. They have the capacity to keep up with fast-paced events and proceedings, not tiring after hours of transcribing what’s being said. In these environments, though, human court reporting professionals are still needed to proofread and clean up the transcripts.

Even AI-enabled court reporting technology struggles with accents, dialects and differing pronunciations. Technology also often fails to recognize or pick up on context, resulting in written transcripts that are often wildly inaccurate or are riddled with holes marked as “inaudible.”

Human court reporters and stenographers capture the legal record that may be relied upon during appeals. When a transcript is incomplete or contains inaccuracies, it simply doesn’t serve the intended purpose. 

Is Court Reporting the Right Career Choice for You? 

If you are considering career options, it is important to look at the projected outlook for various paths. Earning your associate degree in court reporting can prepare you for an exciting, long-lasting and satisfying future working as a traditional courtroom reporter, stenographer, communications access real-time translation (CART) provider, convention reporter, captioner and other exciting roles.

At MacCormac College, we have been training the nation’s court reporters since 1912. We are proud to offer a fully online court reporting degree program, so you can earn your college degree from the comfort of your home — on your schedule.

Ready to learn more? Contact us today!