Q&A: Transcription Off Site of Court Recordings*


Does anyone have any complaints about the accuracy of court transcripts prepared off-site by transcribers who were not in the court at the time of the recording?

Also, what kind of a certification and qualifications do you require for your court reporters in your area?

Our government is looking to start using digital recording monitored by a court monitor and transcription pools to replace court reporters.

What I am wondering is have you had issues with not having a certified court reporter type the transcript since you have changed over to the typing pool or off-site typist?


In South Dakota, we do not use off-site transcribers. All transcripts are prepared by official (court employed) court reporters, in-state freelance reporters who were in court and reported on the proceeding, or, in the case of electronically recorded proceedings, court recorders (court employed). We have had no complaints about accuracy. Our rule regarding use of electronically recorded proceedings is attached and also allows these proceedings to be transcribed by an official court reporter. In practice, we encourage these proceedings to be transcribed by a reporter.


[Deleted] the U.S. federal courts use audio recording for a lot of judges (and steno reporters for lots, too!), and of course many transcripts are produced from these recordings. Typically, the transcripts are produced by outside vendors that apply to each local court to perform that service (there is no national registry). As an example, my court’s two judges both use audio recording for all hearings and trials, and we have a page on our local website listing the transcription firms (and other information). Go to http://www.nmcourt.fed.us/usbc/transcripts to see this information. If a firm/person wants to be added to our list, we check references with other courts as our primary means to assess qualifications.

Now, regarding the accuracy of the transcripts, I have never had even one complaint here. I believe the work done by the transcriptionists is excellent, even though they weren’t in the courtroom at the time. If we ever had an accuracy problem, we would strike the offending firm from our list.
_____________________________ * All names and other forms of specific identification have been edited out to protect the privacy and confidentiality of participants.

Contact Information