Deposition Participants can Learn to Make a Better Record

With a little forethought and practice deposition participants can create a better record.

When you hire a court reporter to take a deposition and produce a verbatim transcript you want the transcript to be accurate, readable, and you want to be able to rely on it.  Many times attorneys are focused on the facts and forget they are also making a record. With that in mind, here are six ideas court reporters have for improving the quality of your next deposition transcript: 

  1. Don’t Interrupt 

For a more readable transcript let everyone complete their questions, answers, and objections without interruption.

Have you ever read a transcript that went something like this:

Q.     Did you have an opportunity to —
A.     Yes, I did.  I just can’t remember —
Q.    Where were you when —
A.    Chicago. I think it was June 15 —
MR. SMITH: Objection.  Let the witness finish his —
MR. JONES:  All right.
MR. SMITH:  — answers.

Transcribed as spoken, it makes you wonder what they’re talking about.

  1. Don’t Mumble 

While trying to understand what is being mumbled, court reporters can misinterpret what they hear.  Speaking clearly and enunciating helps to eliminate confusion, thereby producing a more accurate transcript.

  1. Slow Down 

Speaking too quickly can cause a slurring of words and mumbling, making it difficult for court reporters to keep up.  Slow down and enunciate your words for a cleaner, more accurate transcript.

  1. Watch the Cross Talk 

It’s important to let court reporters know when to go off the record and when to go back on, otherwise conversations meant to be off the record may wind up in the transcript.

  1. Pronunciate and Spell

Words and names pronounced or spelled differently have a chance of being spelled incorrectly in the transcript. If you think you may mispronounce a word or name that has a unique or different spelling, by all means spell it for the court reporter. 

  1. Take Breaks 

Court reporters are not machines and therefore need breaks throughout the day.  Plan to take a 10 minute break every hour or so, allowing the court reporter to get up, stretch their legs, and clear their heads.

Court reporters need your help, and the help and cooperation of all the deposition participants, to create a better transcript. With a little forethought and practice you can create a better record, one you can read more easily and rely on.