How a U.S. Judicial District Eliminated Strain on Limited Court Resources

US Courthouse
“I really like the time savings that FirstDraft will have with our backlog of transcripts! FirstDraft reduces the amount of typing our transcriptionists spend prior to and likely during proofreading, which has helped cut down the transcription process and made it more manageable. We are proud to work with you all and we are so excited to use this product.”

U.S. Judicial District Court Administrator




Key Benefits

  • Decreased time needed to transcribe a document by 50%
  • Improved user satisfaction and turnaround time
  • Enhanced speaker diarization and editing of key terms compared to traditional transcription
  • Experienced, high-quality support and training for fast implementation
  • Simplified adoption with the ability to import current hotkeys and existing court-specific terms

Background

This U.S. Judicial District Court is comprised of four courts that hear cases filed within the Court and the Clerk of the District Court Office concerning Adoption, Care and Treatment, Child Support, Civil Cases, Criminal, Domestic Relations, Fish & Game Citations, Juvenile, Limited Civil, Marriage Licenses, Payments for Court Costs, Fines and Fees, Probate, Small Claims and Traffic Tickets.

The District has employed a small team of court reporters and transcriptionists to record and document court proceedings, but, in recent years, has faced challenges due to staff retirement and the decrease in the number of certified personnel available state and nationwide. The court has adapted to the shortage by seeking integrated, automated software solutions to enhance their transcription process.

Currently, court transcripts are created from audio recordings produced and securely stored by VIQ’s CapturePro™ digital recording solution. A court reporter or clerk can use CapturePro to start/stop recordings and include the appropriate metadata, including case name and speakers, to easily capture, identify, store and send hearings for transcription. CapturePro allows the District to record high-quality audio, annotate important sections of the record and to manage the evidentiary content for all proceedings. When needed, the content captured within CapturePro is used to create the final verbatim transcript.

The Challenge

In late 2021, the Court Administrator found, like many other courts nationwide, that recruiting and retaining new court reporters and transcriptionists was difficult, if not impossible. At the same time, the demand for court transcripts continued to increase – resulting in a “multi-month” backlog of requests for transcripts of court proceedings. The remaining transcriptionists tried their best to keep pace with the demand but felt that meeting the deadline requirements negatively impacted the transcript quality. With their only court reporter retiring in late 2022, the Court Administrator and Judge decided that it was time to investigate how technology could help fill the gap.

The Solution

In early 2022, VIQ proposed and implemented an integrated capture and transcription solution that has helped the district eliminate the backlog of transcript requests for court documents and improve productivity even with a reduced staff.

The solution incorporates an innovative, more efficient transcription workflow that utilizes:

  • CapturePro – audio capture described above with updates to include a direct CapturePro to NetScribe connection
  • NetScribe™ – VIQ’s all-in-one transcription management platform that is powered by aiAssist, our patented speech-to-text workflow technology

VIQ’s professional services team worked with District personnel to:

  • Develop document templates in NetScribe that closely match those currently produced in Word
  • Create Word-based macros that automate the final editing required to produce a “court-ready” document
  • Train District personnel on the best practices, tips, tricks, and tools that have enabled them to use NetScribe and speech-to-text to become more efficient and effective in producing error-free court records.

VIQ’s robust digital court recording software combined with a powerful transcription management platform bolstered by artificial intelligence has enabled the District Court to eliminate their transcription backlog – and remain current with new requests – despite diminishing staff levels.


"It was the best training I have ever received for new software. Our Implementations manager is readily and happily available, which has always been a problem for us in the past. Because of VIQ’s help, we have progressed further than I thought we would by now. Courtroom transcription isn’t like any other type of transcribing, but I think NetScribe can fit courtroom transcribing as best as possible and every district in the state will want it.”

U.S. Judicial District Court Transcriptionist



The Results

Since the implementation of NetScribe, powered by aiAssist™, the court transcriptionists are completing transcripts twice as fast as they were previously.

According to one transcriptionist, “the ability for the speech engine to distinguish between voices and identify them in the transcript is a real game changer. Misidentification of speakers within a transcript can be worse than having no transcript at all.”

With aiAssist and speaker diarization, this is no longer as much of a concern. Along with the robust features in NetScribe, such as parallel processing and formatting templates, the ability to import previous hotkeys and court-specific terms from saved dictionaries saves time and increases the adoption of the new platform.

With expert implementation and support from VIQ, the Judicial District was able to use technology to augment their workflow and successfully convert their transcriptionists to editors. Moving forward, the team believes that this solution provides an effective way for newcomers to learn court transcription, which may help to solve the demand for transcription and court reporter resources. The draft document generated by aiAssist is made available in NetScribe for editing, which is much simpler than typing word-for-word.

With their success so far, the Judicial District is becoming a leader in the transition to a technology-driven workflow used to optimize the end-to-end recording and transcription process. This is gaining the interest of other districts looking to redesign how hearings are captured and documented to solve similar court challenges. The digital transformation in courts will create a more accessible system that improves transparency to facilitate the legal process.


“I have had the opportunity to work with several staff at VIQ and they have always been professional, friendly and knowledgeable about their product. They are quick to respond and very sensitive to the court process to make sure they are meeting our needs. I would definitely recommend VIQ to other courts.”

U.S. Judicial District Court Administrator

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