Hello Reporters:

Here's my question: I recently had a two-day videotaped deposition with a completely out-of-control witness. In my 18 years of reporting I've never heard anyone talk so fast, added to that he is an electrical engineer and all of the testimony was technical. I've even had two proof readers refuse to proof the job due to its difficulty and density.

My question is, although I admonished him repeatedly, his own attorney admonished him, we put a sign on the table that said "slow," I told him in front of counsel on a break, "I can't write as fast as you're talking.  You must slow down,"  I still feel like I want to put something, somewhere on the transcript like a disclaimer, for example, "Production of transcript is to the best of the Reporter's ability after numerous requests to adjust speed of speech."

I've never done this, and I'm wondering what everyone thinks.

Thanks for any and all input!


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Regarding the proof readers, I would split it between two proofers if you can't find one to proof the whole job.

On my certificate page I have some wording to the effect that it is to the best of my ability.  If you have the audio from the videographer, you should be able to fill in spots that were too fast for you to write.  With my court reporting software, I can slow down the audio.  On these type of depos they take much longer to produce.  

Are you saying that he is speaking so fast that there are not intelligible words?  

Hi Janiece, I have my audio turned down as slow as possible and he is still so fast many times I can't understand it. Mind you, I interrupted him many, many times throughout the depo.



All I can tell you is I've been there.  I had a witness for three days that did the same thing in an arbitration.  I was able to understand him but had to listen over and over sometimes and slow it down to the lowest possible setting.  You have my sympathy.

Thanks Janiece!

Karla, I've had my share of bad, fast jobs in my lifetime ... but I can tell from the tenor of your post that I've never experienced something like this.  But you know what? I recently made this post on another forum ... I won't link to it here ... and as well as on Facebook.  It's appropriate!  Here's what I said:

Did you know that the Bradley Manning trial is being "reported" (in quotes, because it's an unofficial transcript) by a stenographer who is being severely limited in his abilities to make a true, correct, and full transcript? 

Did you know that there is a disclaimer @ the front of every volume? 

Have you ever reported a particularly difficult matter where you, as the official reporter, were ignored and disrespected despite your requests, then demands for accommodation to enable you to do the job you were hired to do: Make a good record? 

I know I've always wanted to put a disclaimer into a transcript that noted the "get what you get" or "G.I.G.O." state of affairs! Here's a sentence from the Bradley Manning unofficial trial draft that would be appropriate in so many cases. I like it! "This transcript was made by a court reporter who was not allowed the ability to control the proceedings in order to produce an accurate verbatim transcript." 

To the average person reading the transcript, it would note a limitation in our ability beyond our control. But to another reporter, it screams: "I'm working with /A*SZ/HOELS today." 


Could we just put your last disclaimer on the record, MA?  Hehe

Hi Karla,

I think the answer is very simple:  Do the best you can and move on.  All of the attorneys were present and, best of all, it was videotaped.  Maybe after this witness has to read through his crap will he ultimately understand the consequences of his fast talking in this type of setting.


Agree with Denise.  The bad jobs, get them out as fast as possible, then forget them and move on.  I would keep your audio, though, as insurance or proof how bad it was if you ever need it.  If you don't have "to the best of my ability" in your cert, in  a case like this I would add it.

Thanks everyone!

And, Mary Ann, I really like the quote you provided.  Thank you!

I attended a seminar years ago with the enforcement officer of the Calif. Ct Rptrs Board, and she affirmed that you may tailor your rptr's cert any way you like to indicate any special circumstances that caused you to not put out the optimum product, such as noise, unreportable witnesses, etc.  Just phrase it diplomatically.

I just had to say, Karla, I feel for ya.  That's all.  I once had an Indian doctor.  I still shudder.


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