When it comes to being a certified court reporter, there is no doubt that they are an important and integral part of the legal system. But could this job be done by technology, computers and the like now or later on?
Automated tech is being integrated in a lot of places now, from the grocery store to the bank. So, could technology result in making this human job obsolete? It’s possible, but not likely. At the moment, computers as well as voice recognition are not nearly at the point where they could be a smart substitute.
It is theoretically possible that at some point, the technology would be developed enough and error-free enough that they could be utilized. Anything is possible, and technology is constantly evolving.
Right now, courts need stenographers and will likely continue to do so in the future. The simple need for them is that humans are really best suited to this job and have been doing it reliably for decades. That reliable factor is precisely what makes them such a preferable choice when it comes to recording events in the courtroom and creating transcripts.
While some courts are experimenting with using digital recording, most of them are doing so in conjunction with human court reporters. It can be helpful, but ultimately, many of them are finding that the money that they save is being spent on repairs, maintenance, and more. The same reporter that would be replaced by the machine may very well need a tech expert to come along with it, costing much more than a simple and reliable human reporter.
Add in future costs such as support, software, upgrades, file storage, wiring, and more, and you can see that courts using technology for the main purpose of saving money might not be a final, end-all and be-all solution. All that glitters is not always gold, as they say.
Digital recordings also must ultimately go through being transcribed and then proofread after and even certified by a transcription expert or court reporter– so human support is still required even if tech is used. Add problems on top of that and it’s even more costly, as tech support often is.
Reporters are trained to be reliable and not make errors. They’re good at their job and very capable. They also have the benefit of being able to ask for more clarity or stop proceedings to record something accurately. This all adds to an error-free, accurate record, which is the most important thing. They will also easily be able to omit off-the-record statements.
Humans can always sort through audio better than the current computers can. It’s an easy decision when it comes to choosing between tech vs. people in this field. Technology has a long ways to go until it can match the ability of reporters to transcribe in the court room.
If it is a matter of quality transcriptions or risking it all, of course courts are going to go with the clear choice of hiring a reporter and not relying on technology. With superior performance and greater reliability, always go with a human court reporter when in doubt!