Court reporters – legal videographers: How to change time in Windows 10 for syncing 

A blog by Kramm Court Reporting that was posted April 19 by JD Supra, provides the steps necessary for court reporters working with legal videographers to follow to sync time before every deposition to ensure that timestamps on the transcripts match those on the video.

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Court reporting firm Rhino Reporting launches on-time transcript initiative

Rhino Reporting, based in Ft Lauderdale, Fla., announced in a press release issued April 19,  the launch of its On-Time Transcript initiative that focuses on a 10-business-day turnaround for all transcripts.

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18 Deposition Tips from Court Reporters

A blog posted April 18 by JD Supra offers 18 tips from court reporters to help attorneys and paralegals make sure a deposition goes smoothly.

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LearnToCaption.com offers Translation Tune-Up for court reporters

LearnToCaption.com is now offering Translation Tune-Up, a webinar and a half hour of one-on-one training to help court reporters learn to cut editing time in half.

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Top reasons why you need to hire a court reporter

On April 16, Vents Magazine posted the top 10 reasons to hire a court reporter.

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Bailey & Associates Court Reporters offering deposition suites throughout South Florida

Bailey & Associates, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., announced in a press release issued April 16 that the firm is now offering its services and luxury deposition suites in multiple locations throughout South Florida.

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How do court stenographers keep straight faces?

On April 11, The Madera (Calif.) Tribune posted an article that included excerpts from NCRA’s Disorder in the Court.

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NCRA applauds VCRA on grassroots campaign

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed into law SB 545, which establishes ethical standards and requirements for the provision of court reporting services. The new law prohibits providers of court reporting services from entering into contracts for more than one case. It also prohibits providers of court reporting services from entering into an action or legal proceeding with a party to an action, insurance company, third-party administrator, or any other person or entity that has a financial interest in the case, action, or legal proceeding.

NCRA CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto sent a letter to VCRA’s leadership applauding the association’s members for their successful grassroots campaign that aided in garnering support for the new law.

“I want to personally applaud VCRA and your association’s ability to organize a grassroots campaign to accomplish this legislative victory. The greatest resource that the court reporting profession has is the passion and dedication of its members. Through this initiative, VCRA has shown the nation the true power and influence that court reporters have, and that with a little organizing and hard work, anything is possible.”

To read more about SB 545, visit the Virginia Legislative Information Center.

NCRA Launches Online A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand Program

NCRA launched an online version of its popular A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program on March 30, increasing the accessibility of the free six-week course to interested participants. The program provides the opportunity for participants to learn the alphabet in steno, write on a real steno machine, and decide whether an education in court reporting or captioning is for them.

The NCRA A to Z online program is a hybrid course combining both live online instructor sessions with videos and dictation materials for self-paced practice. The class meets online live once a week for 60-90 minutes.

“The online A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program complements NCRA’s popular onsite program,” said Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA’s Senior Director, Education and Certification.

“The virtual program provides the opportunity for those who do not have access to an onsite program to experience it online. The self-guided curriculum is easy to follow and has been designed to let participants learn the basics of steno writing. With the increase of online education, NCRA felt strongly that the A to Z program would be a natural fit to an online method of learning.”

Students who sign up for the online A to Z program can lease a steno machine for $50 for the duration of the course from NCRA partners Stenograph and ProCat. Students will also need a computer (camera is optional), microphone, and headphones or earbuds.

Students interested in the A to Z online program can sign up for sessions in their time zone. April 16 is the deadline to register for the first program that begins on the dates below.

  • Monday, April 23 at 6:30 PM ET
  • Tuesday, April 24 at 6:00 PM MT
  • Thursday, April 26 at 8:00 PM CT
  • Thursday, April 26 at 6:00 PM PT

“NCRA wants to thank its program partners, Stenograph and ProCAT, for assisting with the success of the A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand by helping to make machines available at little cost to program participants,” said Marcia Ferranto, NCRA Executive Director and CEO.

“NCRA would also like to thank The Varallo Group, Worcester, Mass., especially Cedar Bushong, CLVS, and Patrick Blaskopf, CLVS, for their work with the online dictation, and the College of Court Reporting, Hobart, Ind., for its support in helping to make the online program a reality with the use of their learning management platform Moodle,” Ferranto added.

The Association also sends a huge thank you to the members of its A to Z Task Force who include: Chair Nancy Varallo, RDR, CRR, Worcester, Mass.; Mary Bader, RPR, Eau Claire, Wis.; Huey Bang, RMR, CRR, Pass Christian, Miss.; Jen Krueger, RMR, CRI, CPE, Parma, Ohio; Jeff Moody, Valparaiso, Ind.;  Kelly Moranz, CRI, Parma, Ohio; Jonathan Moretti, CLVS, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Kathleen Silva, RPR, CRR,  Andover, Mass.; Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Stacy Drohosky, RPR, CRR, CRI, Hammond, Ind.; Lynette Eggers, CRI, CPE, Chicago, Ill.; and Eileen Beltz, CRI, CPE, Avon, Ohio.

“Together, NCRA and its partners and member volunteers are committed to increasing the number of students entering court reporting and captioning programs to help fill the growing number of jobs in these fields,” Ferranto said.

NCRA launched its onsite A to Z program in February 2017 in conjunction with Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Volunteer NCRA members serve as program leaders working with small groups of participants as they learn how to write the alphabet in steno. The program does not follow any particular theory. NCRA provides program leaders with free training materials after completing and submitting a program leader Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). There are onsite programs currently available in approximately 15 states.

NCRA is currently seeking 10 to 12 member volunteers with online teaching experience to serve as online facilitators for its virtual A to Z program. If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about the program, contact Cynthia Bruce Andrews at candrews@ncra.org.

Additional information about both the onsite and online A to Z programs, including volunteering to become a program leader, registering for a class, and frequently asked questions, can be found at www.atozdiscoversteno.org, or by contacting schools@ncra.org.

Realtime: It’s worth it

By Keith Lemons

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. That’s a saying for just about everything nowadays. As court reporters, we know that it is real every day, all day long. When I was a puppy reporter, I had a judge who used to tell me, “Don’t interrupt anymore. Just throw up your hands when they’re talking too fast or on top of each other.” The problem with that is that whenever she said that in a transcript, the appellate court would naturally wonder what I left out. So I decided that I had to get better. I concentrated on learning how to brief on the fly, get longer phrases in one stroke, and write for the computer instead of myself.

I started out my career with the wonderful world of court reporting computers. All of them were written in dedicated computer systems that did not cross over for any other CAT program. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t even search the Internet or type a Word document or run an Excel spreadsheet because none of that had even been thought of yet. But we, the court reporters, had a marvelous new toy that made our work both harder and more meaningful. Imagine, if you will, being able to type two pages a minute when you used to only get one page per five minutes.

The struggle was real to try to figure out how to load a dictionary, how to write a dictionary, how to use a dictionary, how to edit a dictionary — all on a 2-megabyte disk — how to remember to plug in the machine, how to figure out if the cassette reader was really writing or reading that 300-page medical malpractice trial day you just had. But we learned. We adapted. We had to if we wanted to help our agency pay for that $50,000 Baron Data Center.

Later, when I became an official, I wrote for my newest piece of technology, the Baron Solo. It had 5-½-inch, dual floppy drives. The struggle was real to remember how to use this new technology and never, ever, ever use your magnet in the same room as your computer. (We had an electronic magnet system that bulk-erased our cassette tapes for the machines. If you used it near the computer, you risked either wiping out your floppies or causing damage to the electronics in the computer itself.) Then came the Microsoft revolution. We had yet one more machine to buy and one more operating system to learn. This one came with WordPerfect and learning the wonderful works of macros. No more Cardex! The struggle was so real that I accidentally wiped out my entire operating system trying to clear a message that popped up on my welcome screen.

Now we had to buy a new machine with a floppy disk drive in it. The struggle was real. In the early days of these marvelous inventions, we spent tens of thousands of dollars upgrading, upgrading, upgrading, all with no such thing as a legacy fallback.

The 24-pin dot matrix printer revolutionized multiple copy printing — that is, unless you figured in the hours spent trying to separate those carbon pages without destroying your clothing in the process. That struggle was real. So was ink in the machine. Try changing a ribbon without making everything around you purple.

Then the struggle became really, really interesting. In the latter half of the 1990s, a CAT program made real-time court reporting a reality. I got to watch a reporter write from her machine and have real words show up within seconds on a computer screen. I have no idea if her writing was pristine or 1 percent or even 5 percent untranslates. All I knew is it was beautiful. Music filled the skies; my heart was full. For the first time in a long time, I really wanted to be a part of something. It wasn’t just about the money anymore. It was something so new and so grand that I couldn’t even envision the possibilities of the future with it.

So I learned it. I bought more equipment, and I learned wiring and splitting and sending and receiving. It was a real struggle. I showed it to my boss, the judge. She didn’t want to have anything to do with it. But I was enthusiastic about it, so I kept asking her if I could just put a computer on the bench to see if my wiring was correct. She relented, but she made me turn the monitor to where she wouldn’t have to look at it. But she didn’t ever tell me to take it down. Pretty soon, she wanted me to angle the monitor so it would be more visible when she wanted to see the attorneys’ objections. Then she wanted to learn how to scroll backwards, then to search, then to write notes. Eureka!

Realtime (without the hyphen) had come of age. Next struggle was to get other court reporters to accept that our future was in realtime reporting. I felt like the most hated court reporter in the state at times because I provided something that 16 other judges in Wyoming weren’t getting. But when they saw it, they wanted it. (Without extra compensation, of course.)

Little did I know that this struggle would become the thrust of my presentations and seminars for the next 16-plus years. Of course, I’m talking about realtime for the average reporter.

Now the struggle is real because in order to become a realtime writer, we need to put away the things that we learned as a new reporter, that we thought as a new reporter, that we expected as a new reporter. We need to remember that the struggle is not with the machine, it is with our own expectations. We need to struggle to get to the next level of court reporting to make a difference, either in writing realtime or captioning.

The struggle is real; the rewards are great. Two months ago, I was taking a medical malpractice jury trial with several prominent attorneys, one of whom was intensely hard of hearing. I’ve been gently suggesting to him that realtime could help him. Finally, I just did what I did with my judge those many years ago. I put the realtime on his table and told him that it was free; but if he liked it, I would start charging the next day.

During the trial, this attorney would bring the iPad to bench conferences so he could see what was being whispered — something he hasn’t been able to do for years. Both attorneys used their iPads during the instruction conference to see what the construction of their sentences would look like on their jury charge. That reluctant attorney? He now has set two jury trials with me for the beginning of the year — with realtime. Two weeks ago, I did a realtime feed for a woman who was profoundly deaf, deaf from birth, who read lips but never learned American Sign Language. She read lips, but watched my screen like a hawk. She even got a kick out of a mistran or two that I made.

I know the struggle is real. This job can be the most difficult struggle day in and day out. But with our own self-improvement, learning realtime and becoming accomplished at it makes that struggle turn into satisfied accomplishment. I’m loving that struggle. You will too.

JCR Contributing Editor Keith Lemons, RPR, CRR, can be reached at k.lemons@comcast.net. This article was written on behalf of NCRA’s Realtime and Technology Resource Committee, of which Lemons is a member.