Florida court reporting professionals often don’t have to contend with each other. If there’s one threat to their livelihood, it’s the same as other professionals in other industries – the emergence of technologies. Even the criminal justice system isn’t safe from changes in practice. While some of the changes remain good, some aspects are best left untouched.

Currently, some courts prefer digital recordings over real-live Florida court reporting. Each of these styles of record-keeping has its own merits and downsides. Before we compare which of the two methods fare better, get to know the difference between court reporting and a digital recording inside the courtroom.

What is court reporting?

Court reporting is a crucial aspect of legal proceedings. In essence, Florida court reporting professionals bear the responsibility of transcribing the words spoken by the judge, both teams involved in the case, the attorneys, and every other key personnel. The physical copy made by court reporters remains useful whenever the judge attempts to clear something. The same copy helps when one of the involved parties wants to review previous statements made by the other. Turn to these vital documents if you want something cleared or clarified.

An often undiscussed function of court reporters is their ability to easily make legal proceedings accessible by the deaf or those hard-of-hearing. Thanks to court reporters, everyone has equal access to the legal proceedings.

If you want to be a court reporter, you’ll have to undergo rigorous training. You’ll mostly be taught to use a stenograph machine, a computer that helps you type quickly and accurately. This tool also helps you keep up with the statements and conversations made inside the courtroom.

One of the upsides of Florida court reporting is that the results are more accurate. There’s a reason why most courtrooms don’t use voice-to-text or voice recognition software. This is because the technology has a margin of error, which the court considers critical. If you’re a well-experienced court reporter, you won’t have a huge margin of error in your work.

Another upside is that you can delete and quickly edit your transcription. Voice recognition software doesn’t do this, so once it’s written, it will be hard to go back and change the typed statements. As you can see, these two reasons exemplify why court reporting maintains its prominence and value over other types of record-keeping inside the courtroom.

What is a digital recording?

Digital recording falls under a completely different practice. Essentially, as its name implies, it entails recording statements and conversations. This can be recorded by various means, but the most common of which are tape recorders. As you can guess, a digital recording is far from what a court reporter produces in his line of work.

For starters, digital recordings don’t automatically create a transcription of the statements made within the legal proceeding. That being said, digital recordings do not provide the same ease of access as Florida court reporting outputs. These materials matter a lot to those who are hard-of-hearing or deaf.

On the other hand, digital recordings let anyone easily listen to previous statements simply by pressing play. Digital recordings provide some merits. They aren’t entirely bad, and, to this day, you’ll find them still being used in most courtroom settings.

What is a digital recording?

Noteworthy, the downside to recordings relies on the output because it can get affected by various factors. These factors include outdated equipment, technical issues with the recorder, and many more. Moreover, digital recordings find it hard to keep up with the dynamics inside the courtroom. After all, it is very common for people inside the courtroom to speak all at once when things get heated.

During heated discussions, lawyers and everyone else involved will talk at the same time. As they speak in unison, it’s often hard to distinguish one from the other through digital recordings. If you were going to transcribe a digital recording, it might be difficult to produce accurate results as the recording itself could be troublesome.

Which is better?

It’s tough to pick one over the other. Advocates of digital recordings will argue that this is a much better way of record keeping. That is true as usual, courtrooms only have to make a single payment for the recording device. That alone could last for years to come. However, if you’re a court reporting fan, you know that the traditional way is the more cost-efficient method.

If you think about it, the amount of time and money lost in low-quality digital recordings is far greater than what courtrooms will spend on a court reporter. It’s not just the costs that are the issue; it’s the accessibility of the output from both practices.

While written texts sound like old and obsolete practice, there’s no denying the value in it. Aside from making the statements more accessible, written texts provide a better output. Even tradition and history both indicate just how much impact print provides.  It is easier to read through lines of texts rather than deciphering all the statements made through a digital recording over and over again.

Mixing the Best of Both

But courtrooms don’t always have to pick one over the other. Digital recordings and court reporting go hand-in-hand fairly well. In fact, this is a preferred method by most courtrooms.

You can focus mainly on having a court reporter create a transcription of the legal proceedings. At the same time, you can have a recorder at bay to record all of the statements of the involved parties. If there are discrepancies in the text, then there would be an easy means to go back to the hearing.

Having both options also lessens the impact of technical issues such as corrupted files and lost copies. Believe it or not, this is still fairly common in today’s legal environment. By using the merits of both record keeping methods, it will be much easier to uphold the legal justice system and its principles.

Florida court reporting may seem outdated, but it will never be obsolete. There will never be a voice recognition software accurate and fast enough to beat the results made by a court reporter. For years to come, you can expect the practice to remain prominent, albeit with a few upgrades along the way.

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