I read back exactly what was said. Sometimes it is very difficult to do especially with false starts. But I'm not an editor when I write, so I'll read back exactly what my notes say -- for better or worse.
Verbatim, including false starts and randomness. Apart from my own policy of not cleaning up attorneys or witnesses, someone in that room is bound to remember at least some of those false starts and randomness, and they're likely to wonder what else I'm doing to make that transcript sound better.
It all depends. Just recently I had a client who got confused my his own question (go figure.) He asked me to read back his question to him. Knowing how jumbled his question was, I just asked him if he wanted to read it instead. I knew he might be a bit embarassed if I actually read his question out loud. He leaned over and read his question and then looked at me and thanked me then continued on to ask a cleaner Q than before.
Generally if there is a false start or as you say randomness, only if what follows that is the actual question will I only read back the meat of it, the actual question. Everyone in the room knows there was a false start and the mumbo jumbo, if they want that read back then I read that. I follow the directive to me which is "read me back the question."
of course if the question contains the randomness then they get read back the whole thing.
Sort of along the same lines of this question, when you have a partial question, an objection, and then the end of the question, then asked for a readback of the "question," then I read back just the question.
Ah the readback. Also known as the attorney gobbledeygook stimulus package. Unfortunately, you have to read it back word for word because you're probably in 90 percent of the cases, reading back something that is poorly phrased, which resulted in the witnesses saying, can you run that by me again, or it drew an objection with that unuttered parenthetical (dumbassed question) also known as "Objection. Form." There is that gem of the 10 percent which are really crackingly good questions which are a pleasure to read back. But when it's a poorly phrased question, you get some of them who look at you as if it were your fault it fell out of their mouths. Such is the life of the court reporter. Im with Bubbie. For good or ill, read it back verbatim.