If you are asked to read a question back, but the witness or other counsel interrupted several times, do you always have to read back those interruptions? The other day I decided to omit those interruptions in reading back the question because it seemed like it would defeat the purpose of reading it back because it would remain unclear. It made sense at the time, but later I wondered if I should have done that.

Here's the example. This is what was spoken:

Q. The money for the loan --
A. For the loan.
Q. -- to Kim Jones --
A. To Kim Jones.
Q. -- was community property between the two of you, Khammy Jones and yourself?

There was an objection and some discussion, and then the witness asked me to read the question back. If I'd read it like it was spoken, it seems like it would have been more confusing. So I said to the attorney, "For clarity, I will read it as one continuous question, omitting interruptions," and he said, "Sure." So that's what I did.

So, my more experienced court reporting friends, do you think that's okay, or should I have read it as I had it? And if it is okay to omit interruptions like that when reading back a question, do I need to say so on the record as I did?

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I would think that any time you don't read back exactly as the record will read later, it's a good idea to put in what you actually did read back.

If you clarified what you were doing in terms of reading the question without any interruptions, though, and no one objected, I don't think you did anything wrong there.
Wow! You are a true professional. You know it was all right, because you asked the attorney and he said okay. It surely wouldn't have made any sense otherwise. Plus, the witness asked you to read the question back, not the testimony. The question, in all its entirety was as you read it, leaving out all the junk. With the preface you gave, it was PERFECT. Couldn't have done it better myself. If it were me, and I did not give that preface, then I would have given the suffix saying, "Now the record will include all the interruptions, Counsel, and objections verbatim, I assure." (with a smile). Remember, you are an officer of the court and you run "your court" the way you want to, as long as it's professional and respectful of other officers of the court, i.e. the attorneys. I bet they never could tell you were a rookie. I'm proud of you....WAY TO GO! Oh, one other thing, you may want to transcribe your readback just as you read it; because anyone reading it also would have a hard time going back and skipping over things. You did great. The Blurb would read: (Whereupon, the record was read as follows:).
I would have read back the interruptions. But since the attorney said that's what they wanted, I don't think it's a problem.
I probably would have read back the interruptions because I was annoyed that they are were interrupting.

But I don't think you're wrong either way.

those are all great answers from the others here!!
I agree with all of them.

I would have done as Kyung said and just read all the
interruptions because I would have been so annoyed by
the time they wanted readback.
and I also agree with Michael, be sure to put in a blurb,
albeit it will be lengthy, stating exactly what you read back.

thanks for asking the question, I helps me gain more
insight into alternatives.
Thanks everyone for your answers. In addition to asking my question here, I asked the owner of the agency that assigned the job to me, and I got the following response:

"Sharla, I have always felt that when being asked to read the question back that it’s, 1) very confusing, and, 2) not reading the “question” back, if you insert all the extraneous comments they said in between getting the question out. I believe that our job is to assist as best we can in the discovery process and not try to make them look silly or rub their faces in the holy mess they created on the record. Every time I have ever read something back that had been interrupted and was able to straighten out the question and read it through as one flowing thought I always felt great as they turned to the witness and waited for a response to what was finally a coherently-asked question. Besides just transcribing what we hear, it makes us even more valuable in getting everyone comfortably through the deposition process. We really are there to help, so I think your instincts are great and you did exactly the right thing. And I think it’s great to look at it and just tell them that you’re going to read the question straight through to avoid breaking it up.

"As far as reading back introductory comments, technically they aren’t part of the “question,” taking their request literally, so I usually leave them out. Sometimes you start at the question sign and read, and you are reading the introductory comments before you realize it, but I think it’s probably better and more helpful to just read the “question.” In the transcript it’s best to just reprint exactly the words you read.

Thanks again, everyone. I'm so glad we have a place to ask our questions and share our perspectives. Hurray for CSRNation and hurray for CSRs!!


While I agree we are there to "help,"  I do not think we are there to "fix" their messy questions.  I am continually appalled that attorneys do not instruct witnesses how to "wait for the entire question" before giving an answer, and then the attorney expects the reporter to sort it out?  No way!

Just fire me now....

Hey, Sharla,
do you think I should try reading back like you did
in court? the attys always talk over each other and
the judge there, too!!!

I read back the "question" with all the interruptions so they know what

kind of a record they are making - if it doesn't make sense to them, well,

they should admonish the witness to "wait for the complete question before answering."

Attorneys don't think about the record until they receive a transcript, and I don't want to be blamed for their inability or lack of awareness when they are making a record.  CYA.

With all those interruptions it is very difficult to figure out what exactly the witness is answering "yes," "no," or "I don't know," to.  just my opinion.  p.s. I do not "clean up" the attorneys.


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