Videotaped depos and listening/adding every false start/stutter

Okay.   This has been a question I've wanted to ask for a long time:  Do you listen to every word of the audio and put in all the stutters and false starts in a videotaped depo, or have your scopist do it?  I'm not talking words you missed; I'm talking the stutters and actual false starts.


I tell you, I cringe when my scopist puts in all the false starts and stutters.  I know they're supposed to be in there when it's a videotaped depo, I guess, but I just think it looks so bad. 

She'll put in "the -- the -- the --" and I know maybe that's how it's supposed to be done - I'm not faulting her - but I take that stuff out.  No attorney that hires a court reporting agency wants to see that in their transcript as to what they said; just looks terrible. 

I do put in the false starts if the job is videotaped but not if it's not videotaped.  Example:


Q     When did  -- who brought this issue to your attention?


What do you do?  What's your practice?  I know the answers are going to be all across the board on this one I bet.

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You said answers all across the board.  That means me too.  NO.  I had a doctor depo a few weeks ago, a cardiologist who had been treating a 65 year old man, who worked at Target, and died during a petty theft when he was trying to keep the guy from going out the door.  The PD already told us she had no medical.  The transcript was 80 pages - heavy stuff.  Aside from being sure it was correct, all terms, I made sure it was clean and easy for the attorneys to read and understand (I put in paragraphs at certain points).  She came into our space yesterday and actually said thank you. 

My theory is attorneys want a transcript that is clean and easy to follow.  They use those depos for information.  They highlight them, make notes on them.  They don't want a transcript full of crap words.  You never want your transcript being passed around for laughs.  (Since I also worked as a legal assistant for years too, I did it).

I agree with you, Kelli.  I'm sure there will be those who strongly disagree.  I leave out a lot of the Porky Pig stutters.   I also will take out the false starts if it's not video.

Porky Pig stutters, that's funny.  Never thought of it like that.  Glad I'm not the only one.

I think it all needs to be in there and have been docked by an agency if it wasn't.  They had the videographers go through word for word and mark down everything missing in our transcripts.  Reason?  They sync it up and it has to match exactly or it throws off the scrolling of text alongside the video.  And who wants people saying, OMG, she missed this word and that word?  Just put it ALL in, be grateful for the extra lines/pages, and move on.  If people wanted pretty, they should speak pretty.

I'm with you, Christi, after getting burned by one agency who claims to need every utterance in there.  Didn't get docked but it was a huge PITA finding the spots and listening and filling in and so I will be more anal now about throwing in crap that I normally don't bother with.  I'm told that that is a huge crock, that they don't need every stutter to properly synch, but that doesn't matter if an agency wants it.    Somebody on another forum said this to me:  "So let me get this straight. You're doing extra work on every video dep and making your life miserable because an agency that called you once and not since insisted on it on the one job you took for them? 

Life's too short, Marge. Let it go. You're the professional in the room. Use your professional judgment a/f/a what goes in your record."

Yeah, right.   (That agency did call me again just last week to cover something.  But no matter.  If they want it, they get it and don't want to take a chance that someone else will want that, too.)

I've been told by a few video guys they do need every utterance; others have said not so.  I'll err on the side of caution.  LOL

And I truly FIRMLY believe that no matter how lame it may be to include every single "Porky Pig" utterance, we need to.  The simple fact is:  If people want to make arguments about how they don't need us reporters and ER can function better, they'll turn to so-called "incomplete" transcripts with missing words and whatnot.  You'd be surprised who sees our transcripts and who cares more than we'd think.  I'd rather be called out for something being "too" complete rather than having missing stuff, even if it's just a repeated word here and there.  Ya know?

Everything you say, Christi, and the way you say it, too, makes sense to me.  I appreciate your insight!

Oh, wow, I see this so differently! I see it as ER being basically stupid and not able to distinguish, whereas we, as educated reporters, can distinguish, between "noise" in the room, drek, etc., and the actual record.

Christi Massey, I agree with you 100 percent on this!  

How rude that someone said that to you. Let me guess which forum. 

I for one understand your position, as I had mentioned generally, but I have not had that experience and so don't approach the situation the same way. Regardless, if an agency I worked for did that, I would not want to work for them again and would take my services elsewhere. :)

Lisa, haha, you're funny.  I like that forum a lot.  And I'll stop right there!

I decline further work from agencies who take too long to pay and make me work for that $$ with tons and tons of emails & calls just to get that damn money (I'm talking about after 3 months have elapsed after I send the job).  In this case, we've agreed on rates and that job anyway was meaty (video & 3 copies), so I'm definitely interested in them calling me again so. . .

I just can't imagine an attorney calling up an agency and saying, "That reporter you sent me, she didn't put in all of my stammers and stutters. Don't send her back."  Really?  I think not.


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