Is court reporting the career for you?

Ms. Career Girl posted an article on Sept. 27 about the benefits of choosing court reporting as a career. The article mentions NCRA and the growing need for people to enter the court reporting and captioning professions.

Read more.

Last chance to take the WKT in 2018! Check out these tips on how to pass NCRA’s WKT and Skills Tests

The JCR reached out to NCRA members, including volunteers on several of the NCRA committees that create and administer the skills and written knowledge tests, to get tips on passing NCRA certification tests. Whether your next exam is a skills or written test, whether it is the RPR, the RDR, or the CRC, we’ve got you covered.

On Sept. 30, registration closes for the last RPR, RDR, CRC, and CLVS Written Knowledge Tests in 2018. Register now for the testing period from Oct. 8-22.

Online Skills Tests for the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC can be taken through December. Register now!

 

Know you can pass it

Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC
Immediate Past President
Wausau, Wis.

Prior to my personal experience as the NCRA Board Liaison to the Test Advisory Committee (TAC), I believed, like many others, that NCRA was intentionally out to make the test diffcult. Could they really be making these tests diffcult just to get more money? I discovered that is definitely not the case!

TAC works diligently to make every test fair and passable. The process is really quite intense and amazing. I was proud to be a part of their process; I wish more people could see them in action. Both the Skills Test Writing Committee and the Written Knowledge Test Committee are dedicated to continually upgrading content and keeping the process updated and relevant.

Next time you take a certification test, go in knowing that it is passable. Focus, focus, focus.

Try to relax, remember to breathe throughout, and just let the words flow from your ears and out your fingers. Don’t think!

Enhancing your skills by adding a new certification behind your name will definitely pay off. Certification is good for the profession as a whole as well as your personal professional stock.

Strategic drops can ease your realtime test

Chase Frazier, RMR, CRR, CRC
Murietta, Calif.

For any of the realtime skills tests, learning to strategically drop is key. There will pretty much always be a handful of words that they add to try and throw you. Save yourself from dropping the sentence after that hard or weird word because you were trying to write that word and just drop the hard word and move on. Take the one error and don’t look back!

Build your speed for skills tests

Andrea J. Couch, RDR, CRR, CRC
Boise, Idaho

My number one tip would be to practice at higher speeds. No matter what kind of test you’re taking, whether it’s a realtime certification test or a speed-related certification test, anything you can do to make the words not sound so fast makes a huge difference. If you find it overwhelming to write super-fast dictation, just listen to it and let your brain get used to processing words at high speeds. Passing tests is all in your mind. If you can train your brain to process the words quickly, efficiently, and cleanly, your fingers will follow along with ease. Just like athletes train their bodies to function at peak performance, we must do the same with our minds if we are to be successful.

Also, when you’re practicing for certification tests, work very hard to focus on one word at a time. If you’re listening to the context of what’s being said, you will undoubtedly get tripped up. If you write “two” instead of “too” while taking the RPR or RMR tests, it really doesn’t matter. You got the word that was said and you can correct it later. Don’t let it trip you up that you wrote the wrong one. Focus on getting a stroke for every single word, one word at a time. If you make a mistake, let it go and move on to the next word. Don’t let a small mistake turn into a 15-word drop.

In the case of a realtime test, if you write “two” instead of “too,” it is still just counted as one error. Let it go and move on. Don’t allow that one mistroke to cause ten more. Take the one error, don’t let it throw you, and continue on and write the following words cleanly. It’s much easier to do this if you aren’t listening to the context of what is being said but just focusing on each individual word that is being dictated.

Keep it super simple

Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE
Annapolis, Md.

  1. Control your breathing.
  2. Know the rules.
  3. Practice the process, not just your writing.
  4. Review “What is an Error?” before your test, so you know what to expect.

Do a test run

Michael Hensley, RPR
Dublin, Calif.

I’m a strong proponent of pushing and practicing above the speed you need. If you’re aiming for the RPR at 225, you should be practicing at 240 as part of your routine. That extra speed buffer is crucial to help you feel comfortable with writing at test speeds.

Practice with a “dress rehearsal” as many times as you possibly can. Test day can be a highly tense situation. However, if you put yourself through the process more frequently beforehand, the actual test will be far less frightening. I recommend purchasing audio of previous NCRA tests. Use these to go through the testing process on your own. Include the process of transcribing your test, and be sure to self-grade and evaluate your final result to determine areas where you can focus your practice in order to improve. When you finally get to your testing session, it will feel like just another day of practice.

A handful of tips from a World Record Holder

Mark Kislingbury, FAPR, RDR, CRR
Houston, Texas

How to handle test nerves: Top NCAA men’s basketball coach John Wooden didn’t talk to his players about winning. Rather, he talked about each player striving to maximize his own potential. A player was to practice in such a way and play games in such a way that his goal was always trying to maximize that potential.

I believe court reporting students should approach school and testing in the same way. The main goal of practice is to practice in such a way so that you will improve and do your best on that particular day on that test. You don’t have to pass, but just try your best.

Adopting this attitude takes the pressure off achieving a certain result and frees you up to just “go for it” and do your best! If you did your best, even if you get below the required passing percentage, you have succeeded in the bigger goal.

Go out there and have fun! Record-breaking, undefeated, four-time NCAA collegiate wrestling champion Cael Sanderson has coached the Penn State wrestling squad to six national championships out of the last eight years. He expects his wrestlers to give their all, to be the best they can be, but overall, to “have fun!” Again, the goal is not to win, as in “I have to win,” but rather, “Go have fun in this match because you love wrestling, and give it your all!”

In the same way, court reporting school doesn’t have to be torture! It’s all about attitude. I love writing on the machine, and I love striving to be the best I can be, and I love achieving steno goals. Try turning your practice sessions into expressions of loving steno, loving writing on the machine. So “go out there and have fun!”

Write some high-speed material immediately before the test: Immediately before you take the test, if possible, practice for several minutes (you choose how long) at a speed at least 15-25 percent faster than the test will be, all the while striving to not drop a single stroke. This has the very nice effect of making the test seem very slow!

Try to “just write” and stay right on the speaker’s words: I have found that striving to never get behind helps me pass more tests, since getting behind often ends up in dropping numerous words and not passing. I also try to “be ready” for the hard parts. Each test will have several hard parts, the rest being fairly nice material. It’s how we handle the hard parts that usually determines passing or failing. So if you can fight through the hard parts without making too many errors (especially not dropping), you’re in good shape to pass the test!

Read the question again!

Wade Garner, RPR, CPE
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Members of the Item Writing Committee work very hard to make the test questions as clear and easily understood as possible. The emphasis of the certification exams is to test the candidate’s knowledge, and all questions are written with that goal in mind. We try to avoid writing questions that are ambiguous, unclear, subjective, or deceptive.

Many times a candidate will think they know the answer to a question after reading the first few words and then instinctively move toward selecting an answer without fully reading the entire question. I do this as well. As a member of the Test Advisory Committee, we go through a proposed test and answer the questions just as though we were a testing candidate. We then review the questions along with the answers. Many times, I have incorrectly answered a proposed question because I did not take that extra few seconds to fully read and re-read the question.

Practice above what you need

Allison Kimmel, RDR, CRR, CRC
Marysville, Ohio

If you are trying to pass the RPR, practice as if you are taking the RMR.

Likewise, if you’re trying to pass the RMR, practice as if you are participating in a speed contest. If your state offers a speed contest, participate in that. You will probably be nervous, but use it as an opportunity to work through your nerves. You may just pleasantly surprise yourself.

If you are trying to pass the CRR, practice higher than the test speed. My best suggestion is that, if you use your asterisk key as a correction stroke, you should also define your asterisk key and the final side -R key as an additional correction stroke. I found I would drag the -R key into the correction stroke, not correcting anything but adding additional errors.

For the Written Knowledge Tests for both the RPR and the RDR, I suggest looking through the NCRA website COPE opinions. There’s no need to memorize them. Just familiarize yourself with them. Also, look at the RPR/RDR job analysis info found on the website. If you own any of the books that are used as reference materials, take some time to peruse those too. I find glancing through the legal citations portion of Black’s Law Dictionary helpful.

Finally, I’d suggest subscribing to Merriam-Webster’s word-of-the-day email and reading it.

A little tip, but an important one

Katherine Schilling, RPR
Tokyo, Japan

Always get a good night’s sleep the night before and surround yourself with positive people who will love you no matter how you do on the test.

Do the math

Janice Plomp, RDR, CRR, CRC, CRI
St. Albert, Alberta, Canada

Before I start dispensing advice, let me first say congratulations to you! By challenging an NCRA certification exam, you are investing in your career and our profession. In my book, you are already a winner.

The surefire way to pass a skills test is to accurately write every word, and you should be practicing with that goal in mind. When you’re falling behind or dropping, analyze that section of the dictation. Practice the challenging words, look for phrasing opportunities, and then write it again — and again and again.

As you strive for perfection, it is equally important to prepare for the very real possibility that you may not achieve it on test day. What if you’re falling behind? What if some of the vocabulary is making you freeze like the proverbial deer in the headlights? Again, take an analytical approach, decide how you are going to handle these challenges, and then incorporate those strategies into your practice.

The first rule of speed tests is: Don’t get behind. You are far better to drop three or four words than to hold on too long and end up dropping a complete sentence. Once you recognize the validity of the concept, you are free to drop words and move on without beating yourself up about it. Before you start a dictation, decide that you will never get more than four words behind. Now practice it. Make the quick decision to drop and don’t second-guess yourself. On a 225 Q&A, you are allowed 57 errors. Even if you dropped every 30 seconds, that is only 40 errors. While we are all about words in our business, don’t ignore the math.

Since we are talking about numbers, consider the fact that dropping “consortium” is the same as dropping “can.” Think about what you will do when you come across vocabulary that makes you hesitate and fall behind. What if you just write the first stroke and hope that you can figure it out from context? What if you write something and hope that you can remember later? What if you don’t write anything at all? They are all valid strategies. Pick one and then practice it. Before you start a dictation, decide that you will use this strategy for every big word that isn’t a brief. Be sure to take a few minutes after to review your notes and transcript; you might be surprised.

Let me give you an example. Looking at an RPR literary test that I recently wrote, there are 22 four- or five-syllable words. Only one of those words occurs twice. Out of those, there are two words that I would write in three strokes. The rest are one or two strokes, and the majority of those are common words like “information,” “particular,” and “conversation.” Now, I have been at this a long time, so perhaps I have more briefs than you. The fact remains that out of exactly 900 words, only 22 could be considered big. If you dropped every one of them, you would still have room for 23 more errors.

Disclaimer: These next two strategies might not be the best if you are taking the CRR or CRC!

Hopefully, you are a stickler when it comes to writing punctuation. In a testing situation, however, dropping a comma or an apostrophe could buy you that extra second that you need. Practice it. Proper nouns can be a challenge. Decide how you are going to handle that name the next time you hear it. They do have a tendency to recur in a test. Practice it.

As you are preparing for your certification exam, your goal should always be perfection. Your fallback goal is minimal errors, and that is where these strategies come in. You need to practice dropping the same way that you practice not dropping. Remember that no error is fatal. When you drop, don’t think of it as a failure. Instead, pat yourself on the back for making a “calculated” decision because, after all, it’s all about the numbers!

 

FCC’s Disability Advisory Committee meeting announced

The Federal Communications Commission’s Disability Advisory Committee meets on October 3. NCRA’s Government Relations Manager Matthew Barusch; NCRA Board Member Steve Clark, CRC; and NCRA President Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, will attend this meeting and will raise the issue of Sinclair Broadcast Group using IBM Watson Captioning. If you are planning to attend this meeting in Washington, D.C., next week, please contact Matthew Barusch at mbarusch@ncra.org for important information!

Read more.

What NCRA means to me

Lynette Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR

Lynette Mueller

I love gathering inspiration from others and notable quotes from strong individuals. When I was asked to provide my insight for an article about membership, the following quote from Colin Powell sprung to mind and resonated with me:

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”

Now, you may ask: What does that famous quote have to do with membership?

My court reporting career has spanned over 35 years — a long one, for sure. My path has seen many obstacles and wins throughout that time. Providing realtime reporting was my number one goal in my professional life, and it’s definitely taken a lot of “sweat, determination, and hard work.” One of the major influences and constants over the last 35 years has been, and always will be, membership in my professional association — the National Court Reporters Association!

Were it not for NCRA and the many benefits it offers, I would not be the court reporting professional I am today. As we all know, court reporters can sometimes lead a solitary path at times, because a lot of us work from our home-based office. Sure, we have interaction with legal professionals and witnesses. But, for the most part, it is definitely a solitary environment, as the bulk of our transcript production is done at home.

NCRA offers many additional benefits to its members. Some of the most important reasons, in my opinion, for maintaining membership in our organization are the following:

Networking
While most may think of networking as a means of garnering future business, I look at it a little bit differently. I view “networking” with my fellow NCRA members as an excellent resource to gain advice, information, and guidance about many subjects that we face on a daily basis as court reporters. This guidance has helped me greatly to be the successful reporter I am today.

Professional Development
My national certifications are very important to me, and I’ve worked hard to earn them! Those “three little letters” behind my name are a conversation starter with potential new clients. It’s my opportunity to tout my skills and professionalism and to educate the public about court reporters. The testing for certifications has helped me validate my skill as a court reporter and carries clout in our profession.

Updates on Industry Information
NCRA does a fantastic job with recruiting volunteers (myself included) to serve on committees and bring the membership relevant and up-to-date information on technology and other industry standards. It’s so refreshing to be able to have a go-to source for current information. The NCRA.org website, JCR print, and TheJCR.com are fantastic sources of information!

Continuing Education Opportunities
NCRA brings the best and brightest professionals in our industry to share their knowledge and expertise at their Annual Convention, live webinars, and online webinars. NCRA is my go-to source.

I chose my profession when I was a sophomore in high school — best decision ever! I urge every court reporter to choose membership in our professional association, the NCRA. Choose your organization wisely. It can further your career in ways beyond your expectations, give you the tools and resources to set you up for future success, and gain a leg up over the competition!

Get noticed, find jobs, and start networking!

Did you know that the NCRA Online Sourcebook, the premier resource for finding professional court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, scopists, and instructors, receives 900 visits per day from peers, attorneys, firm owners, academics, and paralegals?

Log in and upgrade your listing today!

Stand out with Additional, Premium, and Premium Plus listings!

Registered, Participating, and Associate members receive a complimentary Basic Listing included with their NCRA membership. These NCRA members also have three options for upgrading their NCRA Online Sourcebook listings to stand out from the crowd.

  1. Additional Basic Listing: Purchase an Additional Basic Listing to showcase other services or your other locations. ($99)
  2. Premium Listing: Upgrade your complimentary Basic Listing for a separate dedicated detail page providing additional information about you, such as company name, alternate phone number, and services offered. ($250)
  3. Premium Plus Listing: Upgrade your complimentary Basic Listing for a separate dedicated detail page providing everything in the Premium listing, plus more, such as street address, company description, company website, Google map, and forward to a f riend. ($395)

 

Additional Basic Listing
$99.00
Premium Listing
$250.00
Premium Plus Listing
$395.00
All NCRA members receive a complimentary Basic listing for their individual profile as part of their membership. Members may purchase an additional Basic listing to showcase another address or other services for that member's individual profile.

(Note: Only personal images may be used for Basic listings. Company logos can be used for upgraded Premium and Premium Plus listings only.) Please visit the FAQ section for specific details on what information is included in each Sourcebook listing.
The Premium listing upgrades your complimentary Basic listing. It provides access to a separate dedicated detail page providing additional information about you.The Premium Plus listing includes all features of the Basic and Premium Listing, plus additional information including social links, 'about me'/company description, additional contact information and more.
• First and last name
• Professional designation
• Primary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Secondary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Primary employment type (non-court reporters only)
• City, state, ZIP
• Primary phone
• Fax
• Email
• First and last name
• Professional designation
• Primary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Secondary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Primary employment type (non-court reporters only)
• Company name
• City, state, ZIP
• Primary phone
• Alternate phone
• Fax
• Email
In More Details
• Services offered
• First and last name
• Professional designation
• Primary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Secondary reporter type (court reporters only)
• Primary employment type (non-court reporters only)
• Company name
• Street address
• City, state, ZIP
• Primary phone
• Alternate phone
• Fax
• Email
• Website
• Google map
In More Details
• Services offered
• Company description
• Forward to a friend

NOTES: To upgrade to a Premium listing you must:

  • Upgrade your existing complimentary Basic listing; or
  • To have multiple listings, (one Basic and one Premium level listing), you must first purchase an Additional Basic Listing, and then upgrade this listing to the Premium level

Here’s how to upgrade Your Online NCRA Sourcebook listing!

1. Log in to the NCRA member portal to access your profile

2. If you have a single Basic listing, access the “My Main Profile” to update your social media profiles, your profile picture, and your Services. NOTE: Remember to “Save.”

NOTES:

  • One image is used for all of your Sourcebook listings.
  • Only certain information will display, based on your listing level. (e.g. your social media profiles will ONLY display at the Premium Plus level.)

3. Select the “My Sourcebook listings” tab to see a list of your available Sourcebook listing(s).

4. Select the pencil to the left of the listing to make edits to that specific listing.

5. Click on a listing row to access options to either purchase an Additional Basic listing, upgrade to Premium, or upgrade to Premium Plus. (The yellow background in the preview indicates which listing you are currently viewing—assuming you have multiple listings.)

 

6. Use the button link above each listing preview to either purchase an additional “basic listing” or upgrade your basic listing to the Premium or Premium Plus levels.

7. Follow the system prompts to complete the purchase/upgrade transaction.

 

Our entire community working together

By Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC

NCRA President Sue Terry

The Sinclair Broadcast Group has announced that it will begin using IBM Watson Captioning, a form of automatic speech recognition, for their local television news stations. NCRA feels strongly that this decision is not in the best interests of the end consumer, and we are working diligently to do all we can to protect consumers and educate broadcasters as to the importance of quality captioning provided by a stenographic captioner.

This decision has alarmed everyone in our profession, but it is also serving as a catalyst to bring our association of professionals together to assist our deaf and hard-of-hearing community. This isn’t just about captioners and the effect that such a decision has on our work. Court reporters and captioners are not resistant to using technology to improve our lives; in fact, we are on the cutting edge of technology and are using the best platforms available to efficiently provide accurate court records and captions.

This decision is about the consumers: the millions of people in the United States who use captioning to absorb vital information, information that will now become garbled, untimely, lacking speaker designations, and often unintelligible, in addition to omitting sound effects, laughter, and music. While automatic speech recognition is evolving, it cannot match the expertise and skill of a trained and certified captioner. The deaf and hard-of-hearing community should have nothing less than full participation in programming. Using automation to disseminate vital information to millions of Americans who rely on accuracy in captioning is not only irresponsible, in our opinion, but potentially dangerous to the end users of our product: quality captioning.

NCRA’s Government Relations Department Manager, Matthew Barusch, is working with our NCRA Captioning Regulatory Policy Committee to handle this new development. On behalf of the entire Board of Directors, we have full confidence in their work to address this, but we still need your help. Sign our petition urging Sinclair to change course. If you are in an area with a local Sinclair television news station that has transitioned to IBM Watson, watch the news and closely critique the captions. Enlist the help of your friends and family in doing the same. If you see the captioning is inaccurate, register your formal complaint with the FCC. With your help and our entire community working together, we can make a difference.

Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, is NCRA’s 2018-2019 President. She can be reached at president@ncra.org.

 

Statement from the NCRA CEO: Sinclair Broadcast Group

By Marcia Ferranto

NCRA exists to represent, protect, and advocate for the stenographic professions of court reporting and captioning. Here at NCRA, everything we do, everything we fight for, and the very reason we fight are founded by the core belief that stenography is the most effective and efficient means of capturing the spoken word, the best way of providing speech-to-text services in any forum, and the only way to satisfy the needs and protect the integrity of the institutions and consumers who rely on it. This belief has been borne out by the facts time and time again: Stenographic court reporting and captioning is faster, more accurate, and more dependable than artificial intelligence-based alternatives and other alternatives solely based on technology, and, in addition, it is largely preferred by the consumers of these services. Stenographic court reporting is the backbone of the American court system, and stenographic captioning is an invaluable accessibility service to people who are deaf or who have hearing loss.

Recently, Sinclair Broadcast Group has made public their decision to abandon the use of stenographic captions in favor of the cost-cutting measure of implementing the automatic speech recognition (ASR) platform using IBM Watson. This decision is likely to impact hundreds of local news stations and affect millions of captioning consumers and providers. In a message to the public, IBM claims that Watson makes live programming “more accessible to local viewers, including the Deaf community, senior citizens, and anyone experiencing hearing loss.” We strongly disagree with the decision to abandon the human element of captioning in favor of automation, which invariably produces subpar captioning and will negatively affect accessibility to local news for millions of Americans.

NCRA’s Government Relations Department and Captioning Regulatory Policy Committee, our own member-formed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) watchdog, are working hard to address this issue, to register our concerns with the FCC, and to implore them to uphold important captioning quality standards in light of this new transition to ASR captioning.

But the FCC needs to hear from you, too!

  1. Complain online here about subpar captions.
  2. Sign our petition and tell Sinclair you want live captioners.
  3. If you have evidence of captioning failures, photos or videos of terrible captioning, we want to see it. You can send them to Matt Barusch, NCRA’s Government Relations Manager.

With your help, together we can ensure that live programming utilizes the best captioning that can be offered: Captioning by a live, trained, and certified captioner.

Marcia Ferranto is CEO and Executive Director of the National Court Reporters Association. 

Renew in September to be entered in a giveaway drawing

By Brenda Gill

Members who renew their NCRA memberships in September are offered an additional enticement: The chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Members who renew before September 30 will automatically be entered into the drawing, and the winner will be notified by the NCRA membership department.

Members benefit by renewing early.
It’s green; less mail to you.
It’s clutter-free; fewer reminder emails to your inbox.
It’s beneficial; your benefits are not interrupted.

Member benefits continue to include:

  • A listing* in both the print and online versions of the NCRA Sourcebook
  • A subscription to the JCR magazine and the JCR Weekly
  • Multiple certification programs with online skills tests designed to make you more money
  • Access to discounted group insurance programs through Mercer for personal liability and errors and omissions
  • Member pricing to can’t-miss networking and educational events at the NCRA Convention & Expo (Aug. 15-18, 2019) and Business Summit (Feb. 1-3, 2019), formerly known as the Firm Owners Executive Conference
  • First-class online educational opportunities

Renewing is easy and available online at NCRA.org/renew. Members can expect to receive their membership card via email within approximately two weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

Brenda Gill is NCRA’s Membership Manager. She can be reached at bgill@ncra.org.

* Registered, Participating, and Associate members are eligible for this benefit.

Still need CEUs? Check out the newest NCRA e-Seminars

On September 30, NCRA’s 2018 education cycle will come to an end. NCRA members with cycles ending in 2018 have a number of quick and easy ways to earn CEUs in the time remaining including NCRA e-Seminars. Here are the 12 newest NCRA e-Seminars.

The Most Important Medical Terms, Part I
In the course of their duties, court reporters encounter a torrent of words. Don’t get stumped by these medical terms. In Part I of this two-part series, Dr. Santo J. “Joe” Aurelio gets you started exploring the world of medical terminology.

The Most Important Medical Terms, Part II
What is an oophorectomy? How do you pronounce ischemia? Dr. Aurelio brings his expertise in language and words to the realm of medical terminology in Part II of this popular series.

Homonyms and Pseudohomonyms
Homonyms are quite difficult to use accurately every single time. Capturing and transcribing with a score of 100 percent of all of the approximately 50,000 words that many reporters take every day is a formidable task.

Old Ideas Are New Again
Outfluence, with its focus on others, is not a new idea. It is an old idea for a new generation, and its time is now. Popular presenter Al Betz discusses 10 ways that you can bring positivity, inspiration, and vision into your work and your life.

The Strange Case of the Boston Strangler
Dr. Aurelio, a reporter on the DeSalvo case, discusses many salient aspects regarding DeSalvo, attorney F. Lee Bailey, and other principals (including a world-renowned psychic) in this strange case.

Maximizing Your Business Value
This webinar focuses on creating short-term profits and business value as avenues to maximizing long-term profitability and enterprise value at exit.

Have Writer Will Travel
An informational and humor-filled instruction outlining the dynamics of work in the international realm presented by court reporter Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC.

How to Perform Under Pressure
Pressure at work and at home can be everyday occurrences. Learn how to harness pressure and rise above it to perform at your very best.

Redesigning Your Website without Crushing Your Google Rankings
At some point in time, every website will go through some form of a redesign. This seminar will show you how to avoid the most common problems when launching a redesigned website.

Tech Tips & Tricks
Veteran tech speaker Keith Lemons gives a presentation full of the latest tips and tricks for setting up realtime connections, troubleshooting equipment glitches, and packing your court reporting bag.

Mindful Communication in Today’s Workplace
Al Betz, a successful court reporter, author, and community leader, shares the essential principles of mindful communication, including how your body language and facial expressions can help or hinder your communication.

Be Your Clients’ Superhero with Expedite
Learn how the revolutionary Expedite app will mobilize legal support services, empower providers, and help us reclaim our profession.

 

Learn more ways to earn CEUs by September 30.

If you will not complete your CEUs by September 30, you may request a 4-month extension for your continuing education deadline from September 30 to January 31 of the following year. By September 30, complete the CEU Cycle Extension form and pay a $99 processing fee.

You can view your transcript or submit CEUs and PDCs online. If you have recently attended a seminar, submitted an individual request for credit, or applied for a cycle extension, the event may not yet be reflected on your transcript. Please allow 8-10 business days from the date of submission for credit to appear on your transcript. In cases where a third-party seminar sponsor reports attendance to NCRA, the sponsor may take up to 30 days after the event to submit credit.

If you have any questions, need assistance with identifying upcoming continuing education opportunities, or need assistance checking your CEU status, please contact our Member Services and Information Center at 800-272-6272 or continuinged@ncra.org.

NCRA Committee addresses use of automatic speech recognition captioning

A new NCRA committee, the Captioning Regulatory Policy Committee, has recently been formed. Its charge is to monitor the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) actions and other actions that affect the closed captioning industry and to respond accordingly.  The committee met on Sept. 4, 2018, to address the automatic speech recognition (ASR) issue.

ASR has already infiltrated some local TV news markets.  Some of you may have heard that an entire station group plans to transition to an ASR system in the near future. The committee members don’t know yet how the deaf advocacy groups or the FCC will respond. The deaf advocacy groups have been made aware of the coming switch to ASR, and NCRA is sure they will keep a close eye on it and respond accordingly. The FCC’s stance on ASR-generated closed captioning is that, like any captioning, it must meet FCC accuracy requirements.

In the Committee’s observations thus far, if the conditions in the newscast are perfect — reasonable speed, people not talking over each other, routine news subject matter/terminology, lack of background noise, no singing, etc. — ASR captions can be good; but if there is background noise, singing, chanting, a fast-paced program with people speaking over each other, difficult terminology, etc., the captions can be unusable. In addition, ASR systems display erratic punctuation. One must watch a variety of programs for more than just a few minutes to observe the varied results of ASR. They can be all over the board.  About the only plus for ASR is it is verbatim — when it hears and correctly interprets what is being said.

The emergence of ASR obviously makes us feel uneasy. The best actions you can take are as follows: if you see subpar captions, automated or otherwise, notify the station and complain to the FCC. NCRA offers a set of instructions; be sure to include the station, program, time, and specific examples.

Please rest assured that NCRA is closely monitoring the ASR issue.  Please keep in mind that our best defense is for you to continue to produce top-quality captions for our viewers and to provide clients with excellent customer service. Don’t forget: No ASR system comes close to providing consistently accurate captions at the level that a human captioner can.

The Captioning Regulatory Policy Committee invites questions about this Committee and its status. Questions can be directed to mbarusch@ncra.org.