A written, word-for-word record of what was said in a meeting, hearing, depositon, trial, etc. For a transcript to valid as evidence under the law of most US states, it has to have been created by a licensed and certified “court reporter.” Although strictly speaking the Federal Rules do not require a court reporter, to not use one would be very unusual and might jeopardise the introduction of the deposition at trial. Court reporters use a stenographic typewriting system with a limited number of keys on which they can type using a special typing technique that uses a very small number of keys at speeds typically approaching 200 words per minute; typically reporters also make an audio recording to help them check their work.

Arranging for the presence of court reporters at depositions and/or arbitrations outside the United States can prove an expensive and difficult task. Commonly, lawyers may also use applications like LiveNote® or TextMap® so that they can read the hearing or deposition transcript as it is being created. It should be noted that this software may have compatibility problems with computer system such as Apple and the software in use should be confirmed before any deposition. It is also useful to supply a court reporter with a list of key names, the names of counsel and unusual words or technical terms prior to the deposition to assist their transcription.

After a deposition the transcript will usually be supplied to the witness for review, so that witness can correct any errors in the transcript using an “errata sheet.”