How to Ensure Accuracy in a Court Reporter’s Transcript of a Deposition
The court reporter tries to transcribe accurately what everyone says. If you or anyone else in the room speaks too quickly, this can be unpleasant. Speaking in measured tones makes the court reporter’s job easier, and makes it more likely that the transcript of the deposition will be more accurate. In addition, speaking more slowly than usual can help you to formulate your words more completely and thoughtfully.
The words you say in a deposition and the construction of those words are important because they may be quoted in a later trial. You should use correct grammar, phraseology and facts when you speak in a deposition.
The pace at which you speak in a deposition will not be heard in a court of law, unless the deposition happens to be videotaped. occasionally, your sphere of experience has to refer to acronyms or proper names. Whenever you use an uncommon word, you can help the court reporter by spelling it. It is also important to use simple “Yes” or “No” responses, rather than just shaking or nodding your head. While the court reporter listens to what you say, he or she cannot easily determine what your head movements mean. Finally, do not speak while someone else is speaking. Hearing two voices speaking at the same time is unpleasant for anyone to understand.
When you initial enter the room, give your business card to the court reporter to help with the spelling of your name, as well as the address to which the copy of the transcript can be sent for your review.
Generally, court reporters edit their reports before submitting them for your review. They proper for grammar and spelling, but cannot accurate technical misunderstandings regarding your content. That is your job. Remember the court reporter’s typed record is a legal document. It assumes even more legal import when you sign that the transcript is a valid reflection of what you said during the deposition.
It is not over until all the attorneys in the room agree that it is over. They have to tell the court reporter that they are now “off the record.” You cannot relax until that moment. occasionally you may hear an attorney say “that’s all I have;” you might think that the deposition is over at that point. It rarely is. Any of the other attorneys in the room can still ask additional questions. Even the attorney who said he had no more questions can come back and ask you more, so do not take that proverbial deep breath and relax until the procedure itself is “off the record” and the deposition officially ends. Depending on the urgency of the case, the attorneys may press the court reporter for immediate copies of the transcript. They may even ask for an electronic ‘raw’ copy of the deposition. The term “raw” refers to a copy of exactly what the court reporter has typed during the deposition day or days.
After the deposition ends, read the transcript that is sent to you and submit any corrections, which will be incorporated as part of the final confirmed transcript. You may not change any details of opinions; only proper any obvious misunderstandings of the words you spoke during the deposition. If the court reporter thinks he heard something, and you know you did not say the words recorded, you have to catch that. Otherwise, if it is a particularly important phrase regarding your work, you will have allowed a conflict to remain in the record and you will surely have to describe that conflict later at a trial. Do not put yourself in that possibly embarrassing predicament. Spend the required time to reread your own transcript and edit any errors before they are cast in stone. Some ill-advised attorneys will attempt to simplify matters by waiving your right to read, review, and correct any errors in the deposition transcript. It’s your neck and reputation that’s on the line here. Do not permit this waiving. Insist on reading through the transcript. It’s not a perfect procedure; there are almost always errors to find.