Every industry has had cycles of technological innovations and court reporting is no exception. According to Marty Herder of Phoenix court reporting firm Herder and Associates, 2018 trends for the industry include dispelling the myth that court reporters are being replaced by digital technology and to bringing the court reporter shortage to the forefront.
“For years we've been hearing how speech-recognition software will replace the verbatim court reporter but these claims ignore that trial and deposition testimony is full of unique challenges that speech recognition cannot overcome. Arizona courts are experiencing these challenges along with a court reporter shortage,” says Herder, “If you try to employ speech recognition technology in conversations or meetings where people frequently interrupt each other or talk over one another, such as in a deposition, you're likely to get extremely poor results. Challenges of speech-recognition software include the variations in the pronunciation of words, unwanted ambient noises, homonyms, as well individual dialects and accents.”
Herder notes, “The result is the growing need to put court reporters back into courtrooms or legal proceedings that had been using digital recording technology. The challenge in doing so is the nationwide court reporter shortage. We’re struggling to fill those seats. It’s an interesting place to be as an industry considering the benefits. Court reporting is a rewarding career especially for life-long learners, those seeking a new career, and it’s a career where you can earn six figures.”
While digital technology is being used in Arizona courts, the Certified Professional Court Reporter remains the gold standard for producing a real-time verbatim record but there have to be reporters available to do the work. While the shortage may slow the legal process, experts like Herder believe it is a short-term problem that can be overcome.
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