Benefits of ASR in the Legal Space

Ongoing technological advancements supporting voice applications are amazingly powerful. Some would say “The sky’s the limit,” but the human brain cannot be completely cloned, even with the latest technology.  

ASR, an initialism for Automated Speech Recognition, is a merger of computer science and linguistics, built to convert spoken word into text.  The term ASR is sometimes used interchangeably with speech recognition, speech-to-text, voice recognition, and computer speech recognition.  

Advancing versions of ASR now incorporate Natural Language Processing (NLP), which captures real-time conversations and processes using machine intelligence.  However, the accuracy of the text generated by ASR is dependent on a number of factors, including software and equipment used, minimal background noise, speaker clarity, interruptions, mumbling, and cross-talk. If those and other factors are adequately controlled by a trained digital reporter, the quality of the ASR text can be extremely beneficial to the digital reporter, legal transcriptionists, lawyers, and court staff. 

A few of the benefits include:

Digital Reporters:  Digital reporters must prioritize their responsibilities when typing on the record; those priorities may shift when using ASR during a proceeding. With ASR, reporters can spend more energy on critical annotations. If an audio channel is assigned to a single speaker, some digital reporting software options will create automatic speaker diarizations based on the audio channel the voice came from. The ASR also assists the digital reporter in quickly finding readback requests.

Legal Transcriptionists:  The use of ASR is projected to improve efficiencies for the legal transcription process, leading to increased production, shorter turnaround, and decreased repetitive motion injuries.  For a skilled transcriptionist, an error-free transcript REQUIRES that they listen to the audio while simultaneously reading the draft, critically assessing contextual clues, and editing the ASR draft appropriately.  This requires focused effort and is no easy task!

Lawyers and Court Staff:  Some highly skilled digital reporters can stream the ASR text to lawyers and court staff. These participants are then able to read the text as it’s being said during the proceeding.


merritt gilbert digital court reporting instructor for blueledge

Merritt Gilbert is the Manager of Digital Learning Operations for BlueLedge

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