Differences Between Legal Transcription Services & Court Reporting

Legal transcription services are growing in demand. Many businesses including legal, medical, insurance, entertainment, and corporate seek their services. Yet, what is the difference between legal transcription and court reporting? Knowing the difference can make a huge difference in any business.

Legal transcription services vs. court reporting

Legal transcription and court reporting are very similar. Both create transcriptions of legal and court proceedings. Each must capture the words spoken verbatim with a high degree of accuracy. Plus, the training for both is similar, though more stringent for court reporters.

One key difference between the two is the setting in which they work.

Court reporters, as the name implies, generally work within the courtroom. They often use a transcription machine called a stenograph. This allows them to create real time spoken word transcriptions. This is a court transcription.

Court reporters must complete a National Court Reporters Association approved education. They must also pass state-specific competency tests and complete continuing education courses.

By contrast, a legal transcriptionist performs work in a less formal setting. They may assist with depositions and hearings, witness interviews and important legal meetings. They transcribe 911 calls, provide dictation services and help prepare legal documents. Most often, they use audio or video recordings to produce transcriptions.

When do you need a court reporter and when would a transcription service be better?

A court reporter transcribes real time spoken words in an official legal setting. You must use a court reporter for official records of court deliberations. These may include closed door hearings. A simple rule is, if a judge is present you need a court reporter.

Many proceedings are also audio or video recorded then transcribed later. This helps lawyers catch mistakes or nuances important to their case.

Most depositions today are audio recorded for later transcription.

Remember, for real time transcriptions, you must use a court reporter. If an audio or video recording will suffice, a transcription service is the better option.

How long does it take to provide legal transcriptions?

A key advantage of legal transcription is the ability to pause or rewind the recording. It also can be cross-referenced with the official court reporter transcription. Doing so provides the highest degree of accuracy possible. But this takes time. How much?

The amount of time varies. It takes most about five hours per audio or video hour for an accurate transcription. Much depends on the abilities of the transcriptionist including the degree of education.

The formal educational requirements are lower for a transcriptionist. But a background in legal research, procedure, and terminology results in better transcriptions.

The bottom line on legal transcription vs. court reporting

First, turnaround time is more important than the time to produce a transcription. For rapid turnaround, it is best to use a professional service. Not all transcription companies are equal. Some rely on a team of skilled transcriptionists, while others are individuals. Know which is which before hiring because it can make a difference in turnaround.

Next, court reporters provide real time spoken word records of a legal proceeding. If this is not needed, a legal transcription service is the better option.

Finally, dialects, slang and accents all affect the outcome of a legal transcript. Be sure to find a service which can ensure a high degree of accuracy even under these circumstances. Legal transcription services often handle recordings of people worldwide. This exposure helps them produce accurate legal transcripts.

At IncrediScribe, we have cultivated a large network of legal transcribers from around the globe. We use proprietary artificial intelligence to provide 99% accurate transcriptions. Send an audio or video of depositions, interrogations, hearings, examinations, briefs or wiretaps. Twelve hours later, your legal transcription is ready.

We hope you will give us a try. But even if you do not. We hope this article helps you find the right legal transcription service for you.