Ever Wonder How Court Transcription Works?  Here’s How.

Wondering how court transcription works? Simply speaking, court transcriptionists listen to audio and video of trial testimony, depositions, and other trial proceedings and type out what was said into a document.

The final product can be verbatim, i.e., exactly what was said, or it can be lightly edited (cleaned up verbatim), where we remove the unimportant “ums, ahs, and false starts.”

What is a Court Transcriptionist?

A court transcriptionist’s responsibility is to transcribe court proceedings and other related legal hearings into professionally formatted documents. For the benefit of the lawyers, judges, court systems, reporters, or private individuals who may request a transcript, it’s important that these legal records are 99% + accurate.

A transcription company such as Ditto Transcripts can provide certified legal transcripts. A client begins by uploading an audio or video file to our secure portal. Should you require immediate service, please call, email, or text our office, and we will provide your transcript as soon as possible.

That said, it’s important to note that not all transcription services are willing or able to certify your legal transcription. The main reason why some transcription services refuse to certify their transcripts is that they’ve decided to hire and use overseas-based transcriptionists who are not U.S. citizens.

All transcriptionists at Ditto Transcripts must meet the following standards:

  • They are legal US citizens, and they live in the United States
  • Possess prior experience with legal proceedings transcription
  • Can pass a thorough criminal background investigation
  • Ready, willing, and able to certify the legal transcriptions they transcribe for us
  • Our legal transcriptionists deliver >99% accuracy
  • Will testify under oath if requested by the court

We advise anyone needing a certified legal transcript to discuss the specifics of your order personally with a member of our management team.

Court transcripts need to be certified to guarantee that everything said during legal proceedings is recorded precisely as it happened. Legal transcripts include trials, hearings, depositions taken elsewhere, and other courtroom proceedings. These materials may also include transcripts of criminal encounters from police departments.

As part of the transcription process, any transcript of a legal proceeding, including trials, hearings, and depositions, is “certified” when the person transcribing those legal documents signs a form certifying that the transcript is accurate and true to the original recording. In other words, the court transcriptionist and the company they work for are willing to stand behind their work and testify in court to its accuracy and authenticity.

We are different than our competitors as our legal transcribers certify their legal transcripts by signing this statement:

certified legal transcription

Also, courts will accept only certified transcripts for appeals or when a legal proceeding needs to be reviewed. Legal proceedings can be difficult, and how a witness, defendant, or attorney says something is just as significant as what they say. Therefore, it is essential to hire an experienced transcription service provider with an accuracy guarantee.

Differences Between Court Transcriptionists & Professional Court Reporters

There are significant differences between transcriptionists and court reporters, although both undertake the same task of transcribing spoken words. Court reporters need to be in court (in person) to create verbatim transcripts during hearings. 

Fun fact: A court reporters’ job doesn’t end there. They need to take their draft home to proofread their work before submitting the final version within 30 days.

On the other hand, transcriptionists listen to audio or watch video of the hearing and transcribe it. And a company such as Ditto Transcripts can produce the final copy in as little as 24 hours. 

The tradeoff is that a legal transcriptionist will provide the final product cheaper and faster than a court reporter.

The Job of a Transcriptionist

A legal transcription job requires listening to the spoken words of lawyers, witnesses, judges, the accuser and defendant, jurors, etc. The transcriptionist listens to the audio or watches video recordings of the hearings and transcribes them into words. By leveraging specialized transcription audio software, transcriptionists can slow down audio and repeat listening of the audio recordings until they fully comprehend them before transcribing them.

Additionally, transcriptionists frequently work with dictations from lawyers or other legal professionals and generate notes that will be used later. 

The Job of a Court Reporter

Although the court reporter transcribes the court proceedings verbatim, their task is far more challenging. They must go through a rigorous training program, and the environment in which they work is entirely different from that of a legal transcriptionist. Court reporters must transcribe courtroom proceedings, depositions, and other legal events within 30 days. In some cases, during a proceeding, the court reporter may be asked to repeat what was said, verbatim.

It takes time, commitment, and a willingness to learn to be a court reporter. And for those looking to work as court reporters, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) sets the bar high. They provide a thorough licensing program that takes two to four years to complete and covers instruction in every facet of court reporting.

The program will include classes on legal transcription services, transcription devices, legal documents, legal proceedings, stenotype machines, and other common legal terminology, depending on the level of certification requested.

Hiring a Court Reporter vs. a Court Transcriptionist

Many of us have seen court reporters typing on stenotype machines near the witness stand in dramas and movies to record everything said and done in court.

Learning how to use the stenotype machine isn’t the only thing court reporters need to know. They must complete two to three years of formal education (i.e., from community colleges and vocational schools) and job training to become certified and develop the ability to record every detail of a court proceeding.

Legal transcriptionists, however, aren’t present in person during court sessions. The use of audio and video recordings to playback proceedings in courtrooms is rather common. A transcriptionist will use specialized transcription software such as Express Scribe to playback the voice recordings afterward and create a written document that accurately reflects what was said in court.

What Makes a Transcription Company Superior To a Court Reporting Service?

The two main factors to consider when hiring a court transcription service are cost and turnaround time.

The benefit of using a legal transcription company such as Ditto Transcripts is that our fees are typically 25-50% less than a court reporter. Additionally, our legal transcriptionists have access to security features and cloud hosting and are specialists in many legal specialties.

Our rates for legal transcription services range from $1.50 to $5.00 per audio minute.

Depending on the turnaround time, the number of speakers, and the audio quality, there are three different price ranges for legal transcription. The most typical request for legal transcription services we get is a verbatim transcription with a 3-5 business day turnaround, 3+ speakers, and a price of $2.50 per audio minute.

Turnaround time is another significant benefit of using a transcription company rather than a court reporting company. We can create your certified legal transcript in a few hours to a few days, depending on your needs and the length of the audio and/or video files. Further, we can produce written court transcripts typically in about 6-10 business days.

It is crucial that you check the procedure for ordering audio files with the court clerk’s office. Before ordering certified court transcriptions, its important to know all the applicable local court rules.

Court Certified (all 50 states) Transcription Services Cost

court certified transcription rates

Transcription Rates Categories

Our standard court transcription rates are divided into three groups: A, B, and C.

  • Category A: Single-person narrative or a typical one-on-one interview that has been digitally captured.
  • Category B: Three-person (or more) interviews, audio with solid background noise, and any audio with difficult-to-understand voices (i.e., poor recording, soft voices, etc.)

Not every company that transcribes documents has the ability or desire to certify its legal transcriptions. The fact that many of our competitors opt to hire legal transcriptionists at a below-average salary and reside abroad is one of the primary reasons for it. Additionally, these same businesses frequently permit several transcriptionists to work on the same document. Indeed, the accuracy rate tends to drop significantly when numerous people work on the same legal document, especially if they are foreign nationals unfamiliar with the American legal setting.

Ditto Transcripts takes pleasure in its work, which includes quality control and individual account managers for each client.

Please contact us with the button above if you require a certified court transcription or call (720) 287-3710.

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