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Court reporters do far more than just 'type what happens'

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:54 PM

On behalf of the members of the Ohio Court Reporters Association, I would like to respond to Hamilton County Commissioner DeWine's suggestion that audio recording is a better method of capturing courtroom proceedings than official court reporters ("DeWine: Court reporters cost too much," Aug. 19).

The article states that "Many federal courts have ruled in favor of technology," but the fact is 95 percent of federal judges choose court reporters as their method of making the record, because official court reporters utilize the most up-to-date technology of turning the spoken word into text, a process called "real-time translation."

The article refers to court reporters as "the men and women who type what happens in the court." That description stops far short of what court reporters actually do.

For hearing-impaired litigants, without a court reporter's real-time translation of proceedings, they would be unable to fully participate in their own trial. We are a priceless service to them.

Judges rely on their court reporters for more than just making the record. We can alert the judge to something that is omitted, misstated, garbled or something amiss in the courtroom, which again is priceless for the judicial officer.

An attorney appointed to an indigent defendant for appeal purposes having to listen to tapes of a multi-day trial at an hourly rate would be more costly and less convenient than a review of a transcript.

Why settle for less value with electronic recording? There is so much more involved in what court reporters provide to the judicial system and its litigants than a price tag.

Yolanda L. Walton


This opinion piece appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Yolanda L. Walton is president of the Ohio Court Reporters Association. She lives in Norwalk and works at the Huron County Courthouse.

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