California Official Court Reporters Association

Realtime Tips : User Handout I

Information on Real-Time Translation of Oral Court Proceedings

The official court reporter is using a computerized system which will provide an instant translation of the oral proceedings. This is called real-time.

What will happen? When a case is called, the court reporter will write what is said. As the words are spoken, they will appear on the computer monitor so you can read them.

This is not magic. The legibility of the translation depends on two things. One, the reporter’s ability to cleanly write the steno symbols. Two, the reporter’s opportunity to pre-program names and unusual vocabulary particular to a case.

Speakers can assist the reporter in achieving the cleanest real-time translation in the following manner:

  • Don’t speak when anyone else is speaking
  • Speak clearly, as you would when using a foreign language interpreter
  • Don’t speak too fast – people generally can speak faster than they can read real-time
  • Provide the reporter with a list of names and case-specific terminology as soon as possible before going on the record

If something illegible pops onto the screen, the judge and/or court reporter should be alerted and adjustments will be made. It’s helpful to give information about the case to the court reporter in advance to reduce illegible translations.