This post is a tribute to the fine professionals on my favorite court reporting forum, peers who agree with me sometimes, challenge me others, always make me laugh and often serve as an inspiration for my blog.
There are some universal truths about court reporters (other than we work really hard and nobody gets it):
1. We can’t report what we can’t hear, so speaking up for one sentence and dropping back down is nothing short of maddening for us because we’re forced to interrupt. . .again.
2. Everyone talking in unison on the record is not a symphony, it’s a cacophony.
3. If you talk too fast, we can’t understand you. . .and neither can the judge or the jury.
Recently, there was a thread on my favorite court reporter forum where reporters were talking about a universal problem in our industry: Attorneys who talk too fast. One reporter made a point that I hoped would resonate with attorneys, something a little more impactful than “it’s hard for a reporter to make a good transcript when an attorney is talking like an auctioneer,” and it is this: That you can be easily misunderstood when you’re talking faster than the speed of sound. . .BY EVERYONE, NOT JUST US!
For goodness sake, counsel, if a person trained in transcribing your every syllable can’t understand what you’re saying, then do you honestly believe a jury can follow your train of thought? Does the judge’s deer in the headlights look as your words blur by translate into “huh” for you? Human is human. If we’re asking you to slow down, it is for your benefit because anything worth saying is worth saying so everyone can understand you.