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Alberta Revolutionized Transcript Format and Compensation

February 23, 2011

By Paulita E. Kundid, FAPR, RPR, CLVS, FPR
NCRA’s Technology Evaluation Committee

Have you ever considered charging for transcripts by the character instead of the page?   Well, that is exactly what the courts in Alberta, Canada are doing and have been doing since 2009.  Wade Garner, Alberta’s court reporter, explained how Alberta implemented a Universal Transcript Format and Compensation Plan.   This revolutionary new software program, called UTFx©, came up with a new way to measure the work and how reporters are compensated.    They discovered what many working reporters know… the text is the work not the page it sits on.  UTFx was developed by J.G. Moore & Associates Ltd. a court reporting company incorporated in 1977, and is now marketed by Precise Transcript Management Ltd.

Alberta courts use both steno court reporters for felony trials and digital transcribers for audio transcription of civil trials.  Experienced reporters/transcribers realized solid wall to wall transcripts were not making them any more money.  Reporters steered away from the difficult work because it didn’t pay.  The courts wanted to create a fair and equitable approach to compensating for transcripts as well as implement a universal format.  So the courts adopted the “visible character count method” and paid reporters/ transcribers accordingly.  Once you begin to pay the reporter/transcriber on the volume of text, the page format becomes immaterial for their compensation.  Reporters no longer care whether the page has 25 lines or 45 lines because it is the text they are being paid for.