The quick answer is not to expect court reporters to be replaced by technology anytime soon. Digital recording technology has advanced to the point where services like For the Record (FTR) are being implemented but it’s not replacing the human factor completely. While court reporters could be replaced by technology, the reality is that sometimes an in-person reporter is the best person for the job.
Even with FTR, a court reporter is still needed to create a transcript.
Recording software cannot deliver a transcript so even in courts where FTR is implemented on a limited basis, there is a need for a human reporter. It makes the digitization of the courtroom a personal issue. In courts and legal offices across Florida, there are trusted and experienced reporters who are needed, if in a different capacity than in previous years.
You can’t ask a recording to read back testimony.
When a court reporter is present, the judge and legal teams are able to ask for questions to be repeated or for the ruling on an objection. The reporter is able to clarify the correct spelling of witness names and locations and to request repetition when people are talking over one another.
A recording device can’t stop and ask questions so when the reporter goes back to create a transcript, there is a chance that it will not be an accurate account. They simply may not be able to hear what was said.
The legal challenges can impact cases and clients.
In the most serious cases, like those involving sex crimes, murder, or attempted murder, it could mean a less than favorable outcome if the technology plays a factor. If a key witness speaks too quietly to be recorded, there’s no court reporter to ask for them to speak up or repeat what was said; the testimony could simply be missed or inaccurate in the transcript.
While technology has advanced, we don’t believe it can replace the value court reporters have to legal teams or courts. We do acknowledge our role is changing and growing outside the legal field to include entertainment, professional sports, political and civic events, and business.
It’s truly an exciting time to be a court reporter! If you’re in need of a reporter for an upcoming Daytona or Ft. Lauderdale case, contact us today!