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TRAIN: Favorite tips and tricks

TRAIN: Favorite tips and tricks


The JCR asked TRAIN committee members and participants to share a realtime tip that they heard from someone unexpectedly. Several of the committee members said that it is often the tips or tricks they hear from other reporters as they are having conversations that can turn into the greatest asset – and that the tricks can range from a better way to write something to an easier way to remember how to set up your realtime kit.


Quick-and-easy troubleshooting

Here are just a few of the things other court reporters have learned.

  1. Make sure your realtime is working before you hook up your judge’s computer.
  2. If you see gibberish on your judge’s computer, that means you are communicating.  The problem lies on the baud rate you have chosen, and you need to change it.
  3. Naming your realtime files beginning with the year-month-day keeps them organized nicely in folders for each year, so that you can find those files quickly several years later.

Mary Oralia Berry, RMR, CRR

San Antonio, Texas


Tucking letters

The best realtime tip I have learned from another reporter is tucking letters. I read about it on Facebook. I started with the final G (ing) and then moved on to final R (er), and it has grown from there. I have started tucking as many letters as possible without generating conflicts. This has been one of my favorite tips lately!

Tammy Clark August, RDR, CRR, CCP, CBC

Florence, Ala.


Briefs galore

Here are a few of my favorite brief forms. I have collected them from a few friends who are great at coming up with these things.


psychotropic medication STROEPGS     
psychotropic medicine STROEPD     
psychotropic meds   STROEPDZ     
freely, voluntarily, and intelligently FROIL 
freely and voluntarily FROL 
signature bond SNAUB  
signature bonds SNAUBS    


Another tip I recently picked up involves the asterisk. When you create a new brief form, always throw in the asterisk in the outline. That way you will not have to waste time wondering if the brief has an asterisk or if it doesn’t.

Mary B. Burzynski, RPR

Medford, Wis.


Use profile settings

One I use regularly is using the profile settings in my software. I can save my translate setting for return clients or repeating jobs to remember my com ports, selected dictionaries, my output settings, my layout, and so on. This makes setting up a realtime job quick and easy because instead of combing through every setting to make sure it’s right (and risk missing a step), I can click one button and all my settings are set! Sometimes when you’re in a pinch, avoiding a few extra clicks of the mouse is a huge time-saver.

Merilee Johnson, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP

Realtime Systems Administrator

Eden Prairie, Minn.

Define briefs on the fly

I learned from a very gifted captioner several years ago how to shorten dates, i.e., N-N for 199 and then add appropriate ending number – which I have then translated into the 2000s with an initial TW- and made up my own applicable endings.

I also learned to one-stroke speakers with a -Z ending, rather than the traditional two-stroke ID of the first syllable of the last name. Example:  MR. SMITH:  is written SMIZ, and so on.  Reducing strokes down to one as often as possible for high-frequency phrases or words is a lifesaver and results in cleaner writing … for me anyway.

This is my favorite trick of all: Learn how to define briefs, etc. from your writer, as you are writing on the job – impresses the attorneys when they can see, in realtime, a term transcend from an untranslate and/or mistranslate to the perfect spelling!  And, of course, decreases your edit time exponentially.

Mary Mitchell, RDR, CRR, CCP

Minneapolis, Minn.

Finally, the most important tip to remember is this: Sometimes the best tip can come from an off-handed comment or a chance encounter that brings a new perspective to your job.

Thanks to NCRA’s TRAIN Task Force for collecting the tips and tricks from TRAIN participants and task force members.

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