Court Reporters – What To Do With Strong Accents?


As court reporters, we get to produce transcripts about everything imaginable and meet people from all over the world. One of the most difficult parts of our job is to write people who come from different countries, ethnicities, and with strong regional accents. The question was recently debated on the NCRA manager' forum: “Does the reporter write a verbatim transcript or transcribe testimony adding plurals when a person does not have the ability to pronounce an 's' and yet it is obvious the plural is what the person is saying? Or, “Does the reporter write a verbatim transcript or transcribe testimony inserting 'him' for 'them' when it is obvious the person is talking about a single person?” As a court reporter in the line of battle listening to strong accents I will find myself thinking: “Did I mishear? Did the witness say 'him' but I couldn't tell because of the accent, or did the witness say 'them'? The thing is 'them' wouldn't make any sense in the context of what he is talking about? Hmm. But I think I heard 'them?'” Mind you, this is going through my mind as I am writing 200+ words a minute.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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