LAWYERCOURTSTTMLThe use of Speech-to-Text in the courtroom
John Jacob

John Jacob

4 min read

Speech-to-Text revolutionizing the justice system

Speech technology is constantly advancing and is increasingly being used in modern courtrooms to improve judicial processes and their workflows. In 2018, the Suzhou Intermediate People's Court, an early adopter in the field, adopted speech detection technology to speed up proceedings and make them more efficient. The evolving justice system is a traditional system that has welcomed voice recognition technology in order to become more efficient. High-quality and accurate transcripts enable streamlined workflows and make it easier to analyze large amounts of raw data. By using transcription technology, attorneys and courtrooms can develop strategies for upcoming cases based on previous cases.

The Traditional way of transcribing the court’s legal proceedings

Human transcription was once common practice, where stenographers only recorded what was instructed to them and not all of the events in court. These manual transcriptions are stored as official documents or public records for future reference.

Lawyers often use stenographers to assist them during interactions with clients and witnesses in courtrooms. They may also help proofread documents for errors and correct them before they are submitted as official records. Stenographers need to be proficient in legal jargon and must have undergone some training.

Difficulties faced by Stenographers in court

Keeping up with spoken dialogue, as well as overlapping speech and noisy interruptions, are key areas where stenographers face difficulty. Adding the mental overhead of switching contexts to the already time-sensitive task of transcribing speech can take a toll on transcriptionists.

For Example: A stenographer listens to 3 to 4 cases a day and types at an average pace of 80 to 120 characters per minute. Although it seems quick, it is not quick enough. The judge or lawyers may need to be interrupted from time to time for better comprehension. With a little additional help, the number of cases that stenographers listen to can go up to 7 or 8 per day. A few difficulties faced by stenographers are:

  • Actively Listening A Stenographer must be constantly active when listening to legal discussions between a lawyer and the judge, and keep note of every important point discussed while maintaining a fast pace at typing.
  • Stenographer’s consistent pace A Stenographer sometimes types from 120 to 225 words per minute or more. It is very difficult for any human to maintain consistency.
  • Good Understanding of the spoken language and legal jargon Most Stenographers are required to have a good understanding of grammar, spelling and punctuation of the chosen spoken language, also legal jargon
  • Good written communication skills A Stenographer is required to have excellent communication skills with a good command over the language. This can be sometimes a problem for a few people.
  • Capture Crucial Essential Information It is vital for a stenographer to pay very good attention to detail at the points discussed, capture crucial information essential while transcribing live on the spot for future proceedings that make official documents.
  • Proofreading Manually cross checking written transcription and performing proofreading is a tedious process.
  • Must be Calm and Patient A Stenographer must be calm and patient at all times, as the work requires thorough concentration which, when not practiced, can sometimes lead to stress and anxiety for certain people.

Advantages of using Speech-to-text in court

  • Auto-Transcribe Court’s Legal Proceedings
    Using speech to text, we can automatically transcribe legal proceedings, hearings and witness testimony which can be easily shared and accessed. All recordings, and their transcripts, can be saved as digital court records for future use.
  • Saves Valuable Time
    Get instant transcriptions. Transcribing audio speech files into manually can take hours to complete. By using automatic transcriptions, lawyers can save a lot of valuable time instead of waiting for transcriptions to be ready.
  • Save Costs
    Hiring full-time working court staff is an expensive affair. Small to medium scale firms with low budgets cannot possibly afford to hire more than a couple reporting staff. There is also the cost of training staff in the relevant domain, whereas modern ML transcription engines can consume relevant data and generate accurate transcripts after processing some domain data. However, with speech-to-text, even with tight budgets, lawyers can take advantage of speech technology, whenever required.
  • Easily Review Docs
    Lawyers can access the transcript and review them at anytime they prefer.
  • Note-Taking
    Lawyers may take quick notes without having to worry about noting down every word that is being said.
  • Quick and Steady
    The biggest benefit of STT is the pace and accessibility at which the transcriptions are generated. Truth be told, humans cannot always keep up with their own speech and be accurate at the same time.
  • Accessible by mobile
    With the progress of technology, recordings can now be accessed via mobile as well. Lawyers can access critical conversations a click away, anywhere and at anytime.
  • Store and Access recordings anytime at anyplace
    With transcriptions, you can keep record of and access valuable information that can help change the course of any case, wherever and whenever you prefer.
  • Find Searchable text and Unlock valuable insights
    Quickly find searchable text in transcription, and access valuable insights.

3 Step process to using ExemplaryAI:

  1. Store recordings in a cloud or our dashboard (Instantly accessible to Judges, Lawyers and court staff with industry leading safety security measures)
  2. Automatically Transcribe recordings (Transcribes with >95% accuracy along with time stamps)
  3. Edit transcripts and extract insights using ExemplaryAI's powerful editor

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Conclusion

Watching a courtroom recording and reviewing the entire legal transcript at the same time is not an easy task.

With our approach to analyzing courtroom proceedings, you can use our cutting-edge ML techniques and leverage large language models to seamlessly extract knowledge and generate insight based on needs.

Check out our other blogs for more interesting content.

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