Do we have any voice writers here on the Nation?

I have a lawyer friend who told me that, when she was in North Carolina, she had a reporter who talked into a mask. She, at first, thought it was an oxygen mask, as the reporter was "very large."  The deposition exchange got heated, and she needed a read-back.  The voice writer sat there and was rewinding/forwarding whatever it was for about five minutes and could not find the correct spot to read back.

Question:  How do y'all read back?  Or do you?  Do some voice writers bring their laptop with their voice software and at least do real time for themselves so they can quickly read back when asked? Do you provide real time for the attorneys?

My friend, who often asks for read-back, said she was so frustrated, she didn't even bother to ask for read-back again. Afterwards, she asked the videographer what that was all about (the voice writer), and he told her that's just how they do it in North Carolina, meaning they all use voice writers.  My friend wondered whether this is the case for trials, too, that voice writers do trials, and how read-back, if any, is done in trials.

We're both curious, is all.


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I love to hear stories like that.  Makes me think it makes our jobs a little more secure.  Sorry, I'm not a voice writer and that's who you wanted to hear from, Quyen, but I couldn't help myself putting my two cents in. 

I wonder if they have to be licensed to do that job.

They have an association NVRA.  Their RPR is 260. I just happened to come across it, along with the picture of the voice writer.  Granted, I let my RPR go along time ago, but I still believe steno is the only court reporting.  Where there is no requirement for certification -----

I have taken a voicewriting new grad with me on a deposition, so she could observe.  She did speak into the mask (and I didn't hear anything, as we often hear there are complaints of--I was surprised I couldn't hear anything) and her speech came up in English on her laptop, just like ours from our machines.  I would think the audio would be recorded on her hard drive and could be pulled up with a command, like it can with Alt-J in Eclipse, if she needed to check the audio before reading back from her screen (like many of us have done when in doubt--with headphones, of course).

If all the reporter had was a tape-recorder and not a realtime setup, then she is trailing current technology by years.  As to the accuracy of the voice realtime, it completely depends on the reporter's talent, the consistency of speech (matching sounds like we match keystrokes--simple programming, X equals) and the amount of time they have spent building their voice dictionary.  It is not an easy process to become a realtime voicewriter--takes a tremendous amount of time to create your dictionary and learn and train your voice to make the brief sounds and keep your voice at the level it needs to be to not be heard.  Realtime voicewriting definitely has its own brand of challenges.

If a voicewriter is a realtime voicewriter, I say more power to him or her; they are a professional.  It's the ones that just go through the motions so they can simply be audio transcriptionists after the fact (or send crap to scopists to be) that I have a bit of a problem with--and that goes for machine writers who do the same thing.

For years they've used voice writers in the Carolinas, but steno writers have now moved in and have been doing so for some years.  You would just have to know that when you go there as an attorney to find an agency who reports the steno way.  Most attorneys assume they are going to get a steno writer, but I know there is a voice writer in my area and when she shows up the attorneys usually aren't happy, or so I've been told.  If you had this happen to you once I would think attorneys would tell whoever is setting up the depo that they prefer to have a steno writer and to make sure that's what they get. 

Just my two cents worth.

There must be a market for voice writers in the Carolinas.  I wanted to move to Charlotte (way bigger than Tampa), but was told the market is tight.

Hi, Mary Jo.  I can't speak for both North and South Carolina, but in North Carolina, there is no distinction made between a voice writer and a steno writer.  An atty or networking reporting agency who calls and asks for "a reporter" will get one or the other unless they specify.  It's the norm, the way things are done.  My two cents would be there are plenty of steno writers who can't write, can't read back, and can't make a transcript that's worth spit.  I have no counter statement for the complaints attys sometimes make when they encounter a voice writer.  Those who are used to stenographers are often disturbed by a voice writer.  I would hope the market would decide which is better, a shitty steno writer who turns out a shitty product, or a talented voice writer.  Or ... what a concept ... both, and let the best reporters from each method shine.  Why not let the market demand cull the herd of slackers of all methods?  Just a thought.


Mary Ann, I agree.  I have also seen bad steno writers, their really bad transcripts - and worse, their 'I'm hot" attitudes.   I grew up with low self esteem, and in court reporting, it works to my advantage - because I try harder each time I try harder.

Hi, Mary Jo!  Nothing wrong with trying harder.  What bothers me is when those bad transcripts are accepted.  I guess what bothers me more is when I know that we -- you, me, others -- try so hard ... we put a lot of thought into punctuation and other things that make our transcripts exactly right ... make an effort to get names and things spelled right ... give up a lot of time we might otherwise be spending with friends and family because we are meeting deadlines and researching ... then bad transcripts come along.  And here we've put so much of ourselves into our work.  When you mention the "I'm hot" attitude, I hate that too, especially from slackers.  You should do a Google search for "define hubris" and read all the examples of hubris and what it means.  I think that is becoming a serious problem ... steno reporters thinking that they're the sh** simple because they are steno reporters.  So not true.  Have a great rest of this weekend, Mary.



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