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Archive for December, 2018

Technology Is Catching Up To Humans For Accurate Transcribing

Posted on: December 31st, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Technology is catching up to the sophistication of the human ear when it comes to accurate transcribing.

Artificial intelligence-driven transcription and voice-to-text solutions have improved 80 percent in accuracy over the past decade, IT News Africa reported. Although human-driven transcription solutions are still a little further ahead, technology is not far behind.

Microsoft reported that its transcription abilities had a reduced error rate of 12 percent from 2016 to 2017, which meant its automated transcriptions were 94.9 percent accurate.

Voice recognition software turns talk into text, but it occasionally runs into issues. The biggest advantage a human transcriber has over artificial intelligence is that a human knows what to keep and what to factor out.

Humans are better at disregarding background noise. Humans also are better at understanding different cultural contexts and identifying different accents than machines.

IT News Africa cited a 2018 study that found Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant had difficulty “understanding” accents even when the speakers spoke fluent English. Accuracy dropped by 2.6 percent when speakers had a Chinese accent and by as much as 4.2 percent for Spanish accents.

AI-driven services also have difficulty understanding interlocked speech and colloquial and slang terms, while humans  are able to achieve accuracy rates of between 99 percent and 100 percent.

“We cannot doubt the fact that the advancements AI has made in the transcription sphere in recent years is phenomenal,” said Peter Trebek, the CEO of GoTranscript. “However, with error rates over 5 percent, there are still some considerable improvements to be made.”

Programmers need to work closely with language experts to clear up the problems.

CourtScribes uses professional-level recording systems to bring the most sophisticated digital technology into the courtroom to produce the highest-quality transcripts.

Electronic recording equipment is overseen by an experienced reporter who simultaneously takes notes that are time-linked to the corresponding recording, so people involved with the case can instantly find the point in the record where they want to re-listen.

Library Of Congress Needs Your Help Transcribing Lincoln’s Letters

Posted on: December 24th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Looking for something to do in your free time that will include service to your country? Love history as much as court reporting?

Then the Library of Congress has a volunteer job for you.

The Library of Congress is looking for volunteers to volunteers to transcribe writings left behind by some of the greatest names in history, including Abraham Lincoln, American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, Civil War veterans, Civil Rights campaigner Rosa Parks, leaders of the woman’s suffrage movement, American poets, important figures in the history of psychiatry, and other important historical figures, Mental Floss reported.

The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress contain more than 40,550 documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln when he was a lawyer, representative from Illinois, and 16th president of the United State, about half of which are available online. Of those 20,000, about half have already been transcribed, the Library said.

The Library’s goal is to have volunteers transcribe all of the remaining materials as well so that they are easy for people to search online using key words.

The goal of the Letters to Lincoln Challenge 2018 is to transcribe all 28,000 pages by December 31, but more opportunities will be available beyond the end of the year.

Documents include not only letters written by Lincoln but also by correspondents including friends and associates, well-known political figures and reformers, and individuals and organizations.

Because the documents are hand written, they are difficult for computers to read and decode. Some are faded and written in difficult to read cursive, Mental Floss said.

To learn how to help with the project, log on to, the library’s crowdsourcing site, and create an account on the registration page. Documents that are transcribed are then reviewed by another registered volunteer.

Carla Hayden, a librarian at the Library of Congress, said the project is a good way to serve the public good while learning about history at the same time.

“The pages awaiting transcription at represent some of the diversity of the Library’s treasure, and the metadata that will result from these transcriptions mean these digitized documents will have even greater use to classrooms, researchers, or anyone who is curious about these historical figures,” Hayden said.

For more detailed instructions on how to help, visit the library’s guide here.

Real-Life Stenographer Gets Court Reporter Role In Showtime Series

Posted on: December 17th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

A Pennsylvania court stenographer’s job led to her landing a part in a television drama, The Mercury, a newspaper published in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Emilie Posnan, who has been a Montgomery County Court stenographer for 13 years, got a role on a Showtime drama, “Escape At Dannemora,” about a 2015 prison break in upstate New York.

The series premiered Nov. 18 and will continue through Dec. 30, Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

The limited-event series is based on the escape from Clinton Correctional Facility by inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat that spawned the largest manhunt in the history of New York State. The escapees were helped by prison employee, Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell, “who reportedly carried on affairs with both men while supervising them in the tailor shop,” according to Showtime.

The series stars Benicio Del Toro, Paul Dano, Patricia Arquette and Bonnie. Ben Stiller is the director and executive producer.

The creators of the series wanted a  real-life stenographer to appear in the series to properly portray the typing rhythm and the locked-in attention that are the trademarks of the craft.

During the first scene of the series, Hunt’s character says she won’t begin until the stenographer, portrayed by Posnan, arrives.

Posnan held a screening party at her home for the series premiere.

She learned about the role from an actress friend who had read a casting notice from a talent agency. She submitted a photo and was one of seven stenographers who were called to Brooklyn for an audition.

On her drive home from the audition, she learned she had gotten the part.

The following week, she went to Queens, N.Y. for two days of filming. She was told to actually record what the characters said during the scene to make her role appear authentic.

Posnan, her husband, some relatives and friends traveled to Lincoln Center in New York for the November premiere of the series.

The Showtime series has been nominated for several Golden Globes.

Court Reporting Student Sues Department of Education

Posted on: December 10th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

A former student at a for-profit court reporting school that had locations in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington is suing the U.S. Department of Education for not forgiving her student loans.

The school, called the Court Reporting Institute, went out of business.

The school allegedly told students that its three-year program in legal transcription would get them a high-paying job, the Seattle Times reported.

State investigators shut down the school in 2006, saying it used deceptive business practices.

The former student who filed the lawsuit, Christine Gold, said she incurred nearly $36,000 in debt while attending the school.

Borrowers misled by a school are eligible for federal student-loan forgiveness, per the Times.

The nonprofit National Student Legal Defense Network filed the suit in the District of Columbia last week, naming the Department of Education and its secretary, Betsy DeVos, as defendants.

The Department of Education had no comment for the Times because the litigation is pending.

DeVos’ critics say her department has been slow to process claims and is too easy on for-profit colleges.

According to the lawsuit, Gold was the sole earner in her household when she started attending the Court Reporting Institute in 2001. She says she was told by an admissions officer that she would make $65,000 a year after she graduated from a three-year program.

Complaints against the school showed that it repeatedly misrepresented educational practices, instructor qualifications, graduation rates, program length, employment prospects and the amount of financial aid available, and that it did not make mandated changes.

Gold said she never seemed to be making progress toward graduation despite the classes she finished and after nearly three-and-a-half years, she withdrew in 2005 with $35,750 in federal loans.

Because she was unable to pay the money back without a better job and because of interest accrued, she now owes around $62,000.

Famous Author Got His Start As A Court Stenographer

Posted on: December 3rd, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Court transcription keeps judges and lawyers well informed of what’s going on in a trial and gives them a resource to turn to when they need clarification of details.

The court reporting technology that Court Scribes uses today is state-of-the-art, but the skill of recording court proceedings is an old one that has been practiced for more than a century.

As a matter of fact, even one of the 19th Century’s most famous authors got his start in writing as a court stenographer, the San Diego Reader said.

None other than Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist and Great Expectations, among other classic books, worked as a law clerk, and his tasks included delivering documents and running errands.

He soon became bored with the low-level duties and decided he wanted to be a court stenographer. Court stenographers recorded the proceedings of a trial in a shorthand system called Gurney, which could take three years to learn.  But Dickens mastered “that savage stenographic mystery” in three months, per the Reader.

After he met that challenge, he became skilled in stenography but wanted to take his career a step further. Soon he began covering Parliament for his uncle’s newspaper, reporting on debates between politicians.

His experience in the courtroom and in Parliament exposed him to many different kinds of people whose personalities and accents he later captured in his novels. He also learned to work quickly and was able to produce 15 novels in his lifetime, including the unfinished book The Mystery of Edwin Drood. 

Dickens died of a stroke on June 9, 1870. He is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, and his books are still widely read today. This time of year, many theaters stage productions of his story A Christmas Carol, featuring well-known characters Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Crachit and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. He is recognized by 21st century critics and scholars as a literary genius.