Coming Soon To California Courts: Voice Written Transcripts

A technique for creating legal transcripts that’s newly recognized by the Court Reporters Board of California will have to abide by the same high standards as more traditional methods.

Voice writing differs from those traditional forms of stenography in that a court reporter can speak their notes into a sound-dampening mask. The verbal notes are translated into English and shorthand by computer, and the court reporter can then use those notes to create official transcripts.

At their February meeting, members of the board voted to allow would-be licensees to use voice writing technology in the next test offered for professional certification. Procedures for how the technology will be used during tests are being developed by the board now.

California leads the nation with the most exacting standards for court reporting accuracy among all 50 states. Voice written transcript testing won’t change that.

“What voice writers do is substantially the same as what machine stenographers do. They are both effective,” said board Executive Officer Yvonne Fenner. “However, the training time is significantly reduced for voice writers, and more people are able to finish training programs.”

Recognizing voice writers in its licensing procedures is part of an ongoing strategy by the board to increase the number of capable, professional court reporters in the state. The demand for professional court reporters already outstrips supply and is growing.

The board is available to consult with schools in California as they develop educational content that includes voice writing in their curricula.

You can view the news release about this subject here: Coming Soon to California: Voice Writing

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