Historical Significance of Transcriptions

 Transcription is the process of recording speech into written form.  Machinery may be used to perform this.  A court reporter has the sole occupation of producing this written form of speech in the form of court transcriptions, depositions or other official documents.  In the past, court transcriptions were done with tape recorders and by hand.  Today realtime transcription is used, in which Computer Aided Transcription technology brings the words to life on a computer screen after the speaker has vocalized.  In fact, the court reporter may highlight and take notes directly on the computer screen. 

The amazing part of this process is that transcriptions are really a part of history and take a role in famous court trials.  An example of this is the recent release of transcripts from former president Richard Nixon’s testimony.  This information was released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.  These transcripts illustrate Nixon’s anger and pessimism toward politics after his presidential career.  Nixon showed contempt toward President Kennedy and his associates. 

Nixon may have been pardoned by Gerald Ford for any crimes but he was still at risk for perjury charges when facing the grand jury.  He scraped out of this by claiming to not recall many of his or his office’s actions.  The former president did not give up any new information regarding the Watergate scandal, but merely showed his crushed personality.

A major question that still wasn’t answered is: why is there an 18 minute gap in a tape recording from the Oval Office?  Instead, Nixon negatively described his former colleagues, saying G. Gordon Liddy is “a very bright young man in one way, very stupid in others.”

The ruling over releasing these transcripts was made last July by Judge Royce C. Lamberth, explaining that the historical significance of these transcripts overrides the usual secrecy of grand jury reports.  Court transcriptions definitely play a strong role in the history of this country.


Shane, Scott, and Adam Nagourney. “Newly Released Transcripts Show a Bitter and Cynical Nixon in ’75.” New York Times. 10 Nov. 2011. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/us/newly-released-transcripts-show-a-combative-richard-nixon.html?_r=1>.


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