A rough-draft transcript offers a generally less-expensive alternative to realtime transcription. In a rough-draft scenario, the reporter still sets up his or her CAT system to translate the steno strokes in realtime, but the text feed is not broadcast to a given participant. Rather, the reporter will take a little time, after the proceeding has adjourned, to define in English any untranslated steno, identify speakers and resolve any phonetic conflicts, such as “[to/too/two].” While a rough draft does not offer the interactivity of realtime (e.g., searching, scrolling, marking, etc.), it does allow one to review the day’s testimony, to prepare for the next day’s proceedings or to more easily create a deposition summary, eliminating the need for excessive note-taking during the deposition.
Rough-draft transcripts look different from final transcripts because their purposes differ. Drafts commonly do not bear a title page, appearance page, index page, certificate page or any other formal structure of a final transcript. Because of this, there will be page and line discrepancies between the draft and the final transcript. Rough drafts also usually contain a disclaimer that they are unproofread and uncertified. As a result, drafts are not to be quoted from in court documents, such as motions. If game-changing testimony arises during a deposition, the reporter can produce an expedited final transcript for such citation purposes.
The purpose of roughs is to provide an unproofread account of the day’s proceedings for the possible uses stated above. Because the reporter has additional time to fine-tune any misstrokes or untranslated steno before submitting their work, a draft may in some cases be more accurate than an unedited realtime feed. The skill level required to produce a rough draft is also not quite as exacting as that needed to provide an accurate realtime feed, and so rough drafts will generally be less expensive than realtime transcripts.
When the value of your case does not merit the cost of realtime, rough-draft transcripts can be an economical enhancement to your handwritten notes.