Realtime Reporters

reporter real time

By Nancy J. Hopp, IL CSR, RDR, CRR, CMRS, FAPR, Alaris President

Not all reporters provide a realtime feed.  Realtime reporters have to be familiar with setting up the technology involved in sending the realtime feed.  They must also write their steno strokes as precisely as possible so that they all translate correctly right off the bat, without the luxury of editing.  (Reporters sometimes call this “writing naked,” because they don’t get a chance to go back and correct any stroking errors before the attorneys see them.)  The inclusion of just one extra key in a steno stroke can make a world of difference:


This is why realtimers are among the most precise steno writers.  In addition, realtime reporters spend extra time preparing for a given case, adding names and technical terms to their CAT system so that they will translate correctly from the outset.  For best results, you should provide the court reporter with these case-specific words ahead of time.  While you may know, for instance, that the name of a key player in the case is spelled “Kominsky,” without this name in the reporter’s CAT system dictionary, it may translate phonetically as “come inn ski,” hindering your ability to search the transcript accurately.

The pressure to enter unique terms in one’s CAT dictionary, write perfect steno and also be able to troubleshoot technical realtime connection issues makes realtime writing very stressful for reporters.  A reporter who has passed the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) realtime test, requiring a higher percentage of accuracy, is known as a Certified Realtime Reporter, or CRR.  Some state reporter associations also offer their own realtime testing and certification programs.  The NCRA bestows the Realtime Systems Administrator designation on those who attend an intensive realtime technology seminar, followed by successful troubleshooting of realtime connections. 

There are many strategic reasons why attorneys would want to use realtime in their cases, and the reporters who provide it possess a higher level of writing skill and technical knowledge, well worth the additional cost.