AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT
- Your Association
Each sound — a voice, a footstep, wind in dry
leaves a distinctive signature forever its own.
AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT
Good news from the Garden State
New Jersey recognizes AAERT-certified CETs
At the March 8, 2006 meeting of the New Jersey Transcriber Certification
Board I made a request that the Board address the issue of New Jersey
approved transcription agencies being allowed to use transcribers who
have been certified by AAERT. New Jersey currently has an in-state
transcription process whereby any individual wishing to transcribe for
the New Jersey court system must sit for a written and practical
Individuals currently certified to transcribe in New Jersey fall under
one of three different designations: (1) AD/T – a certified transcriber
who is also an agency director or owner, (2) OM/T – a certified
transcriber who has been designated as an office manager to oversee all
aspects of transcript production by an agency owner who is not certified
to transcribe, or (3) T – a certified transcriber who subcontracts
with an approved transcription agency.
Since most AAERT certified transcribers cannot travel to New Jersey to
sit for the test, I made the argument that the AAERT certification
test is much more difficult than the New Jersey test and meets or exceeds
all aspects of the New Jersey requirements. To compensate for the lack
of "New Jersey specific" information on the AAERT test, I recommended that
AAERT-certified transcribers be allowed to secure work only through
approved New Jersey transcription firms. It is then incumbent on the
New Jersey firm to ensure that the transcripts follow New Jersey
standards and formats.
On August 2, 2006, the Transcriber Certification Board approved my
recommendations and amended the Standards for Certification to include a
new designation, AAERT-T. AAERT-certified transcribers may now apply
for New Jersey certification but must do so through a New Jersey
certified transcription firm. Further, they may only work through one
New Jersey agency. Applicants will be subject to reference and
background checks similar to what New Jersey based transcribers must go
through when sitting for the New Jersey test.
For those interested in becoming certified in New Jersey, a listing of New
Jersey approved transcription firms may be found by going to the state's
Judiciary website at
www.judiciary.state.nj.us and then selecting the Appellate Division
from the left-hand column.
Jim Bowen, CER
J & J Court Transcribers
Hamilton, New Jersey
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Will Texas judges get the right to choose
the reporting methods
for their courts?
An inquiry on whether to revise anachronistic restrictions on
E-Reporting in Texas
courtrooms has come before the state Senate Jurisprudence Committee.
As the legislature was to be in recess, this matter was referred as an
"Interim Charge 3" for the Committee to investigate and report findings.
The results, due December 1, will give a strong indication whether Texas
judges will be free to choose among the various reporting methods.
The Charge specifically reads: "Study and make recommendations relating to
the use and cost benefits of electronic recording as an alternative method
of preserving records of official court proceedings."
AAERT provided the Committee with information and a position statement
supporting the idea that judges may well know what works best in their own
jurisdictions and circumstances. A number of AAERT members, both
inside Texas and elsewhere, also registered their views.
Thank you to all!
Judge John Delaney, who served on the Brazos, Texas, bench and is a
Senior District Judge, knows firsthand how
E-Reporting can benefit the
judicial process. He personally appeared before the Committee in late
August to testify, and submitted a cogent recap of the major studies and
pilot programs conducted for well over a decade now, which have demonstrated
the value of E-Reporting.
Indeed, a review in the Texas Bar Journal concluded that the
current outmoded system "operates as an impediment to those judges who may
wish to try electronic recording."
Judge Delaney's written remarks are instructive and well worth reading in
their entirety at
J. Delaney, 9 Sep 2006,
and we invite you to do so.
Some concern has been voiced whether judges might be pressured into selecting
less expensive methods, due to well known budgetary issues throughout all
state government. AAERT believes this will not prove to be the case,
and that Texas judges can be trusted to make these choices in the best
interests of all, as judges do every day in so many other jurisdictions
One Committee member was heard to remark that he might not support
judicial choice because a relative of his, a Stenographic court reporter,
might lose her job — a rather remarkable remark. It
is highly unlikely practicing Stenographic court reporters will
become unemployable, given the well documented shortages in that
segment of the industry.
When Interim Charge 3 is acted upon — (and, we assume,
E-Reporting takes its rightful
place in Texas as it should, as elsewhere, as a standard option in
preserving the record) — we will continue this article.
Meanwhile, a delicious irony:
The Committee considering whether it's a
good idea to electronically record critical official matters is
itself electronically recorded!
Judge Delaney's and other witness' presentations can be heard
Senate Jurisprudence Committee — select the August 22,
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Minnesota: Olmsted courtrooms go digital
"The seconds tick away on a large digital clock now sitting in the front of
an Olmsted County courtroom. To the casual observer, it is just a way
to keep track of the time. Those working there, however, know it's
part of the new digital court recording system . . . ," wrote
The Rochester Post-Bulletin [7 October 2006].
In mid-September, the county, just southeast of Minneapolis,
had completed this major upgrade. What do its users think about it,
now that it's fully operational? Post-Bulletin staff inquired,
and found out.
"The quality is phenomenal. The whole sound system is better," says
Margaret Morgan, CERT, electronic court reporter for Judge Jodi
Williamson. She is one of six reporters employed in the Olmsted County
system: three (now digital) E-Reporters, and three Stenograph
machine reporters. Margaret is a member of AAERT and serves on
its board of directors.
She said the shift to electronic recording is controversial in some areas
of the country: "A lot of people think it is replacing a court
reporter position, but we still have a live reporter in the courtroom."
She could have added, "And that live reporter is ME!"
One of the three stenographic reporters, Yvonne Holthaus, has been
with the county for more than twenty-five years. Today she reports
using her Stenograph machine about half the time — otherwise, she is
using the new digital recording equipment.
Either way, "Our role is to capture the record," Morgan said.
"There are many benefits to both types of court reporters." Both have
the goal of getting, and keeping, an accurate and complete record
of court proceedings.
The Post-Bulletin concluded:
"Morgan is enthusiastic about the
digital court recording system for a variety of reasons. One is the
quality of the sound. Another is the instant retrievability of
information because everything is time-stamped. She no longer has to
search through a tape if a replay of a particular portion of a hearing is
requested by an attorney, for instance. She just has to 'point and
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Leadership in a changing world
Despite the fact that everything changes, this concept is neither new
nor novel: AAERT is one of the leadership teams directing the court
reporting profession. In a few brief decades court reporting
(capturing and converting the spoken word) has evolved across all
methods — electronic, voice, and stenography. Electronic court
reporting, once dependent upon analog cassette recorders, typewriters, carbon
paper, and the U.S. Postal Service, now uses digital recording systems
(site-specific or centralized), and transcribers are downloading audio off
the Internet and even producing daily copy for required proceedings.
Voice-writers, once recognized by their large cone-shaped masks repeating
the court record into an analog cassette recorder, now utilize speech
recognition software and computer-aided transcription software to speak into
a much smaller mask and convert the reporter's spoken word to text.
The technical components make real-time transcript production possible.
Pen-writing has evolved to machine shorthand, and with the use of
computer-aided transcription software, real-time transcript production is
There are differences in technologies and agendas across the gamut of court
reporting, but one thing the national and state associations of all methods
do agree upon is that certification is essential in order to perform our
professional leadership duty of being the Guardians of the Record.
I believe the immediate challenges for the court reporting profession are:
court reporter certification is not required in all states and some courts
are producing audio recordings but outsourcing the transcription to
uncertified court reporters or transcribers. We are not doing our job
as Guardians of the Record if we allow these practices to continue
without speaking out.
How should AAERT start providing solutions?
- Members should all become certified.
- Member companies and managers should require all court reporters
- Each of us should educate our state's Administrative Office of
the Courts (AOC) or State Legislature regarding the importance of court
reporter certification, whatever the method.
- AAERT needs to help create educational opportunities for
non-certified E-Reporters and E-Transcribers to become certified.
The best part is that AAERT is already doing all
of these things! When you're ready to start, give me a call and
I'll point you to someone who is already doing it!
Over the last three years we have seen a doubling in the number of members
sitting for the certification tests. Two
circuits in Florida now require E-Reporters (there called "digital court
reporters") to obtain AAERT certification (contact Steve
Simon, CERT, Certification Committee chair, for more information).
Many members communicate regularly with their State AOC.
Sherry Simmons, CER, is once again heading up the Raffle Fundraiser
for our Education Fund (be sure to contact Sherry and participate).
Having just returned from the Indiana Shorthand Reporters Association (ISRA),
Gail Malm Armstrong, CERT (Indiana), and I are excited to report a group
of professional reporters who are intent on requiring certification of all
reporters, whatever the method, in the State of Indiana. Of the
approximately 900 official reporters in Indiana, 600 are electronic. ISRA
has requested AAERT to provide certification testing for E-Reporters twice a year to
coincide with NCRA testing dates. AAERT will provide the testing
and will pursue methods of providing educational seminars to the E-Reporters
in Indiana to prepare them for the test.
I'll end where I began: we are providing leadership in a changing
world. Some of our current methods and practices will give way to
new ones, but we still have standards, practices and decorum — we are
a rather traditional lot, to say the least. We represent the best practices
of E-Reporting in the United States. Recently, I had a voice-writer
from Australia express dissatisfaction with our website's representation of
E-Reporting being the only method to preserve the original spoken words;
preserve foreign language speakers' original language and interpreter's
translation; reveal speakers' intonations, emotions, accents, speed and
manner of delivery; and accommodate simultaneous speech. He was proud
of his technical ability to play his back-up recorded "room audio" and,
therefore, has all of these abilities. I explained to him that he was
not representing U.S. practices, and if the associations for the other
methods decide to include audio recordings as
part of their official records, then we could change our professional
On behalf of the AAERT Board
(Janet, Kimberly, Luis, Margaret, Sherry, and William),
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The Nature of Words
I particularly enjoy the opportunity to write this column because it
allows me to take time to follow threads of wonder that frequently weave
themselves through my thoughts.
Recently I commented on a friend's perspicacity, and she asked for a
quick definition. I said discernment. Looking in Webster's
Unabridged, I find that perspicacity and the word immediately
below it, perspicuity, both refer
to looking or seeing through, from the Latin
per+spicere (or specere). Perspicuity is the
quality of being clear or lucid.
Other more common words related to looking are despicable,
something looked down upon; respectable, something which at least
looks good; prospective, forward looking; and spectacles,
things which either improve vision or are really something to see.
Wandering, as is my wont, back to discernment, I find it comes from
the Latin dis+cernere, to separate. To discern
is to discriminate or to distinguish. Distinguish,
from the Latin dis+stingere, to mark out or mark
by pricking, is closely related to instinct, from in+stingere,
a prompting or pricking of the senses.
And now I've worked us around to that familiar quote from Macbeth,
Act IV, Scene I: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this
way comes." (In ancient Rome a pricking sensation of the thumbs was an
omen of evil.)
Laurel H. Stoddard, CET
On The Record Reporting & Transcription, Inc.
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— a puzzle
Taking cues from the clues you'll find by clicking
here, unscramble the words in this puzzle.
Solutions are right on line, so you'll know
instantly (yet privately) how well you decipher them — all
involved in the legal arena.
Take the Quick-Quiz now.
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Transcripts Made Easy
The Kenson Company (Oregon)
ne of the great things about WordPerfect, whether for DOS or Windows,
is the extent to which it can be automated. It's just so easy to take the
work out of repetitive tasks. This not only saves hours of valuable time,
it also reduces typing and formatting errors. Have you ever started a
transcript by calling up a previous deposition and changing the information,
only to notice after delivery that some of the previous information
remained? The method of automation I'm going to describe will take care of
WordPerfect provides several automation methods, so you can take your
choice — macros, QuickWords, QuickCorrect — and make your life
For repetitive words, such as difficult names or medical terms, I usually
choose QuickCorrect as an easy-to-use "shorthand." For everything else, I
always use a macro, and that's what this article is really about. I'll
show you how to save lots of transcript typing time using the easy,
flexible macro feature in the world's most powerful word processor,
Macros, like documents, come in many shapes and sizes. To illustrate their
use, let's start with the most common repetitive typing task and move from
there to progressively more complex time-savers, keeping in mind that the
things which require more setup time also save you more time and effort in
the long run.
Q and A
. Can you think of anything you type more often as a court reporter?
There's a regular rhythm to it — Hard return, Q, hard left indent.
Or, hard return, Q, tab. Or, hard return, tab, Q, space-space. Over and
over, sometimes with a Q, sometimes with an A. Regardless of exactly how
you type your Q / A format, if you had a nickel for every time you type it,
you could retire in style! Next time you find yourself ready to type that
familiar rhythm, first click on Tools > Macro > Record
(or press Ctrl+F10
the filename "Question," then type your hard return, Q, hard left indent
(or whatever your own specific format may be). Then click on the little
that has appeared just above your screen, on the left, to stop
Now for the really helpful trick: You'll want to "attach" your
question macro to a shortcut key: just click on Tools > Settings > Customize >
Keyboards > Edit
. In the left-hand box you'll see a long list of keystroke
combinations. I use Q+Alt, but you can highlight any combination you
choose. Then click on the Macros
tab on the right, and click on Assign
Macro to Key
. Your macro file list appears. Highlight your Question macro
and click on Select
. When it asks if you want to save with the complete
filename, click on No
. Then click on OK
Try it out: type Alt+Q. As a popular office supply store says,
That was easy!
And you can repeat it to
create an Answer macro, which can be attached to A+Alt.
Okay, so far so good. You've passed Macros 101. Let's move up one notch.
Let's say you're typing many depositions for an attorney named
— an interesting name, but not much fun to
type. So click on Tools > Macro > Record
(or press Ctrl+F10
), type a macro
filename (I use Atty1), then type
"MR. DYFIVKATOVSZKI: "
(or however you
type your colloquy) and click on the little black square
Then attach your Atty1 macro to a keystroke combination as described above.
(I use 1+Alt.) Try it out. Wasn't that easy?
But what if Mr. Dyfivkatovszki isn't involved in your next transcript?
Well, of course you can create a completely new macro and attach it to a
different key. Or, you might choose simply to edit Atty1; if so, click on
Tools > Macro > Edit
, highlight Atty1
, and click on Edit
. The macro appears
on your screen. Change the attorney's name as desired. When you're done,
click on the Save and Compile
button just above the screen. When that
button grays out, close the macro document. Now press Alt+1, and the new
attorney name will appear. "That was easy!
" And you have just passed
The best part of WordPerfect automation is yet to come. If you'll automate
the form you use when you begin a transcript, you'll wish you had done it
years ago. Trust me, it's really much easier than the number of words
below would seem to indicate.
First, open the form you use to begin a transcript. If it's an old complete
transcript, delete everything from the point where you normally begin
typing, then save the file with a new name, such as "Depform."
Go through the form and delete all "variable" information
marking with an asterisk
each place where a deletion occurred.
An example of "variable" information would be the case number, the names of
plaintiff and defendant, and in some cases even the county or township.
When you've finished cleaning out the old variables, move your cursor to the
top of the form.
Click on Tools > Merge > Form Document > Create Form Document > Use File in
Active Window > No Association > OK
. Close the Merge dialog box
A Merge toolbar
has now appeared just above your screen.
Delete the first asterisk. On the Merge toolbar, click on Insert Merge
. Enter a brief prompt that will remind you of the variable
information to be typed when you use the form. Click on OK
Continue moving through the form, placing the Keyboard
code at the point of each asterisk and typing a brief prompt. Don't
worry if the formatting looks crowded, it will straighten out when you
perform the merge. Just persevere to the end of the form. Here
is an example of what the top portion of the cover page might look like
(with double-spacing removed to save space below):
Save your completed form. You'll notice that WordPerfect now gives it
last word about codes: I strongly recommend that you turn on
Reveal Codes (Alt+F3) and check your Depform.frm for any unnecessary codes
that may have crept in, such as an unneeded [Left Tab], [Dorm HRt], or any
other codes that serve no purpose. Remove any long strings of [HRt] codes
that may have been used to induce WordPerfect to begin a new page, and
replace them with [HPg] (Ctrl+Enter). Also, remove strings of spaces and
replace them with [Left Tab], [Hard Center on Margin] (Shift+F7), or
[Hard Flush Right] (Alt+F7). Save your completed form again, and clear
Now test your new merge form. Click on Tools > Merge > Form Document > File on
. Highlight Depform.frm
. Click on Select
. Click on Merge
. A prompt
appears. Type the information, and click on the Continue
above the screen. Continue through the merge until the Merge toolbar
, which will occur when you press the Continue
last time. Then save the document, and you're ready to start typing your
transcript! See? "That was easy!"
* * *
Editor's Correction: Vol. 11, No. 3
referred to a proposal to make Microsoft Word an exclusive
program accepted by the Supreme Court — however, that anticipated rule
change has NOT, in fact, been implemented, and the comment is withdrawn.
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Courts graced with far-seeing staff who were savvy and "audio literate"
in the '80s (or even '90s), when Sony BM-246s (or Laniers or . . .)
were actually cutting-edge, now find themselves needing to install more
efficient digital systems.
Alas, a parting of ways with comfortable gear which has served well over
time may seem hard, but is necessary, lest obsolescence creep in and you
lose the edge — so, what to do now?
FTR suggests ReporterDeck 2. It is built in partnership with
Marantz Professional, a manufacturer of sterling reputation which
has thoughtfully maintained the familiarity of tape recorder-style controls
while incorporating sophisticated digital features such as:
- either 2- or 4-channel recording
- playback from the unit's hard drive, archived CD,
or network folder (with separate PC)
- concurrent recording / playback
- archiving to CD or network
- time-stamped notes keyed to audio via TheRecord Annotator
- can be connected to other audio devices.
The package includes:
- ReporterDeck 2
- TheRecord Annotator
- TheRecord Replicator
- TheRecord Player
- FTR headset
- 5-pack of TheRecord Collection CDs.
A transition from analog to digital does NOT have to be a stressed-out,
traumatic, staff-exhausting experience! In short order, those who
spoke fondly of their "tape decks" will begin speaking likewise of their
NB to court administrators: you may want to
view the well-presented PDF Users Manual by registering for the
free, no-obligation download here.
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SILENT AUCTION AND RAFFLE TO BENEFIT EDUCATION FUND
AAERT's Miami Beach Conference will include a Silent
and 50 / 50 Raffle
to help support our
Education Fund. If you attended the 12th
Conference in Arlington, Virginia, you will remember how much fun that was!
For those unable to attend then, here's how things work:
: Donated items are placed on a
table. We buy tickets, like ones we bought at a carnival to ride the
rides. During the conference,
whatever item(s) you would love to win, you place half of your ticket(s) in
the container provided for that item. The winner of each is
announced at the Banquet as the winning ticket is picked.
The 50 / 50
works in a similar manner as the auction, in
that we buy tickets. We place half of the ticket in the designated
container, and we keep the other half. At the banquet, the winning ticket is drawn. The winner
receives half the money that was gathered from ticket sales.
The other half goes directly into the Education Fund.
I am asking for your help this year to make this auction bigger and better
than the previous one. We need items donated, such as gift cards / certificates
to retail establishments and restaurants that can be found throughout the
United States, handmade items, items that can travel well, since we'll be
coming from all over to attend this Conference. It would be fun to have
items relating to the state or country you hail from — a certain food or
food product, T-shirts, books. Use your imagination!
I will need to know what items are being donated no later than May 1st.
Please e-mail me with any questions you may
have, and to let me know what item(s) you are donating. I always
welcome HELP with open arms!
The Conference agenda, presentation topics, and speakers will appear on
line in due course.
Think now about meeting with us next
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Certified Electronic Court Reporter
Certified Electronic Court Transcriber
Nomination period concludes March 9, 2007.
Award recipients will be notified prior to April 1, 2007, and each
A one-year general AAERT membership,
Hotel accommodation and registration during our 14th Annual Conference
in Miami Beach, June 24 - 26, 2007,
Award presentation at Conference Banquet,
and special recognition in The Court Reporter and on our website.
An award recipient must attend in person to accept the presentation.
A nominee must be a member in good standing,
hold a current AAERT certification in the field of nomination,
and cannot be a current member of AAERT's Board of Directors.
How to nominate: Write to submit the following information:
- Name, address, phone, and e-mail address for both yourself and the nominee;
- Indicate whether the nominee is an electronic reporter or transcriber;
- Nominee's certification number, years of experience in the industry, and primary work location;
- A statement why the nominee deserves the award, highlighting professional achievements.
Send nomination to:
23812 Rock Circle
Bothell, Washington 98021-8573
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A warm welcome to our new members
since the July 2006 issue of The Court Reporter
AAERT members can go to our on-line Directories by clicking
Margaret Frances Archibeque
Gloria J. Banks
Whitesboro, New Jersey
West Palm Beach, Florida
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jeanette Marie Bates
Plantation Key, Florida
Amy Rochelle Blumberg
Aliso Viejo, California
Amie M. Carney
Rochester, New York
Las Vegas, Nevada
Nancy B. Draper
Matthew Ray Ginther
West Palm Beach, Florida
Carlotta A. Hall
Claudia M. Hutchison
Little Mountain, South Carolina
Debra Ann Kallgren
Lora Michelle Lewis
Bonita Marie Lumsden
Anna-Luise E. McGaughy
Kathy R. Mitton
Pamela Nancy Morales
Frances M. Murphy
Jessica L. Natale
Poughkeepsie, New York
Judy C. Newman
Tanya M. O'Dea
Croydon, New South Wales, Australia
Little Britain, Ontario, Canada
Mark D. Potter
San Marcos, California
Aleva L. Schneider-Pollard
Montgomery Village, Maryland
Michelle Lynn Semel
Mary I. Steinborn
Lees Summit, Missouri
Carol H. Vendzules
Monroeville, New Jersey
Beverly T. Walker
Ron P. Wilson
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Return to Table of Contents
Your invitation to more fully
AAERT is a voluntary association, and our fellow members' ideas, submissions,
and suggestions are welcome.
In addition, the Association undertakes special projects from time to time,
and also has standing committees which provide services for us all.
These include Certification, Publications,
Membership, and Government Relations,
By logging on to the
members area of our website,
you can observe some of the other functions whose success depends upon our
participation: the Association's database
or the content and presentation of the web page
itself are just two examples.
In June of 2007, three
positions on our seven-member Board of Directors will
be open for election at our annual business meeting. Any general or corporate
member can serve on the Board. Far from being an onerous chore, working
closely and cooperatively with others in the industry is a wonderful way to
help form Association policies and shape the services we provide.
All those now serving invite you to join in these efforts to ensure
E-Reporting's place in the future.
Contact the Editor
The Court Reporter is published by
The American Association of Electronic Reporters & Transcribers, Inc.
All rights reserved, whether electronically or in print. © 2006.
Gillian Lawrence, CERT, President
AAERT / 23812 Rock Circle / Bothell, WA 98021-8573.
AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT