History Of Court Reporting In Washington DC
Transcribing speech in real time is no easy task. It is not surprising that it has taken many years for methods of modern day transcription and reporting to evolve. Centuries of development have crafted a court reporting industry today that promises accurate and efficient results.
This development has been in the works since the early days of written language. Recording speech and transcribing dialogues is a profession that can be traced back to the Roman Public. In the first century, BC, Marcus Tullius Tiro developed methods of recording written transcripts of Cicero’s legal work working as his secretary. Such approached included omitting words that can later be added to a transcript by context or memory. Developments like this have set groundwork for modern day “shorthand.”
Tiro’s methods of shorthand have continued to be refined by writers and court reporters over history. The first use of shorthand writing in the English language can be seen in the 12th Century. Later, Robert Gregg developed a system of shorthand writing that was based on the use of cursive, which was first published in 1893.
The automation of court reporting did not surface until the invention of the stenotype machine by Miles Bartholomew in the 1870’s. This invention replaced transcription by hand written reporting. However, it was not until the 1940’s that the use of stenotype machines surpasses handwriting in popularity due to the first availability of the machine to the public. All of these advancements led to the evolution of modern court reporting.
Such court reporting techniques were employed in keeping congressional records during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. In 1965, the profession of court reporting flourished when President Lyndon Johnson mandated the recording by tape and live court reporters in all United States District Court proceedings.
The profession of a court reporter continues to thrive in modern day. Technological advances have helped make the process more efficient and accurate than ever. Today, court reporters can accurately record proceedings with advances shorthand techniques using stenograph machines used in conjunction with audio recordings, and even the use of video documentation.
Although the court reporting industry has been predicted to decline since the 1990s, the efficiency and accuracy of these time-tested methods is only aided further by technological advances, and is unlikely to be replaced anytime soon. As technology continues to advance, one can only predict how much more value an experienced court reporter will be able to bring to legal proceedings.