What is a certified transcript?
When a court reporter prepares a written transcript of a hearing or an oral deposition, the transcript is certified by the court reporter. A transcript certification is a written statement or certification, typically appended to the back of the transcript, wherein the court reporter attests that the transcript represents a true and accurate transcription of the oral statements made at the hearing or deposition.
What is the purpose of certification?
Among other things, the purpose of court reporting is to accurately and completely capture the words spoken at a hearing or deposition and then reduce those words to a transcript. A Certification of a transcript is a method by which the court reporter, often called a stenographer, states that they have honored the obligation to capture the words spoken and to reduce those words to a transcript. A transcript certification also contains other statements required by the laws of various States.
In terms of accuracy, a sample certification might read as follows:
“IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED; that this testimony was reported by me in the stenotype reporting method; was prepared and transcribed by me or under my personal direction and supervision; and is a true, correct, and complete transcription to the best of my ability and understanding.”
In terms of other matters required by law, a couple of sample certification statements might read like these:
“IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED that I have no actual knowledge of a prohibited employment or contractual relationship, director or indirect, between myself and/or my court reporting firm and any party to this litigation matter, or with any counsel for the parties herein.
IT IS FURTHER CERTIFIED that I am not of counsel, not related by family or otherwise to counsel or to the parties herein, nor am I otherwise interested in the outcome of this matter.”
Under the laws of most states, to be eligible to offer court reporting services in any given case or proceeding, the court reporters must be disinterested in the matter. That means having no contractual or monetary interest in the matter (other than receiving payment for court reporting and transcription services) nor a personal or family relationship with any of the parties or their lawyers. Thus, the purpose of the partial Certification written above is to certify the court reporter’s disinterestedness.
Another common component of a court reporter’s certification is a statement that the transcript has been prepared according to standards promulgated by the state and by Court Reporting Licensing Boards.
What does a transcript certify?
To summarize, then, a court reporting transcript certification will generally certify the following:
- That the transcription is true, accurate, and complete;
- The hearing was reported through stenographic, short-hand, or other methods;
- That the transcription was transcribed by the court reporter or under their supervision;
- That the transcript complies with state and private court reporting standards;
- That the court reporter has no interest in the matter, financially, contractually, or by family relationship;
- Other matters depending on state and local court reporting Rules.
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