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Court Reporter and Interpreter Services

The office of Court Reporter and Interpreter Services comprises five service centers, each of which provides myriad services to the public, legal community, and internal customers within the court system.

The five service centers are: 1) Court Reporting Services; 2) Interpreter Services; 3) Record Reproduction Center; 4) the CRS system and 5) the Digital Recording Program.

Office of Court Reporter and Interpreter Services
First Judicial District of Pennsylvania
100 South Broad Street
2nd Floor, Land Title Building
Philadelphia, PA 19110
Tel: 215 683-8000
Fax: 215 683-8005

The Record Reproduction Center provides varied services to the Court Reporter Administration as well as all other divisions of the FJD court system. As it relates to Court Reporter Administration, the Center's primary function is to ensure the efficient reproduction of all transcripts produced by court reporters and digital recording transcribers. The Record Reproduction Center also prints notes of testimony for court-appointed counsel and other private parties who do not have access to the CRS system.

As a Court of Record, proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court criminal division hearings must be transcribed. The Court's 120 Official Court Reporters are assigned to courtrooms to record testimony, arguments or other spoken presentations heard by all judges throughout the First Judicial District.

Investing in their personal computerized stenotype machines, the Official Court Reporters utilize Computer-Aided Transcription (CAT), the standard of accuracy for a record on appeal, to create transcripts. The verbatim testimony of the court proceeding is recorded by the official reporter in court.

A number of Official Court Reporters have been additionally certified in producing "real time" transcription, which is the immediate transcription of the verbatim testimony being taken in the courtroom. The simultaneous transcription can be viewed during a trial on courtroom computer monitors or the judge's or court reporter's laptop computer. RealTime is used to assist deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals in the courtroom by immediately providing testimony on a computer screen.

All transcripts produced by the court reporters are electronically archived on the Court Reporter E-Archiving System. The CRS database stores all transcripts electronically has provides access through a password provided to judges, judicial staff, District Attorneys and Defenders. This has eliminated time-consuming copying, and "lost" transcripts, and the attendant paper costs. Notes of Testimony can also be printed or emailed for Appellate Court transmission. Transcripts are sent via email to court-appointed attorneys as well.

The FJD Project Team developing the First Judicial District's E-Archiving Court Reporter System worked hard to succeed in creating a reliable archive that is easily accessed, safe, and responsive, in terms of transcript delivery AND management reporting and analysis. The major advantages to an electronically-stored archiving system for transcripts is reliability, easy access, less paper, less need for printing equipment, better accountability and monitoring.

The Court Reporting System (CRS) provides electronic archival and retrieval services for transcripts produced by court reporters. ASCII disks that contain completed transcripts are brought to the Record Reproduction Center, date stamped by the staff, and given to the CRS Technicians. The CRS Technicians place the notes of testimony on the CRS system, which is a central transcript storage server. This server is accessible by judges, assistant district attorneys and public defenders who can easily retrieve and print completed transcripts from their own offices. They or their staff may also save copies to utilize for drafting opinions.

The Court Reporter and Interpreter Division instituted the Digital Recording Program in 2003 in response to a general shortage of highly-qualified stenographic court reporters. As of March of 2008, the Digital Recording Program employed three administrative staff members, (Supervisor, Transcript Coordinator & Digital Technology Specialist) as well as a staff of 11 full-time and 13 part-time Digital Recording Technicians (DRTs). The DRTs monitor the recording of court proceedings through the use of FTR Gold Recording software. Additionally, Digital Recording Technicians create detailed log notes that are utilized by the digital recording transcriptionists to ensure accurate transcription of audio files.

Please complete a separate Transcript Order Form and fax the attached form to order a transcript produced by digital recording.

The Record Reproduction Center provides varied services to the Court Reporter Administration as well as all other divisions of the FJD court system. As it relates to Court Reporter Administration, the Center's primary function is to ensure the efficient reproduction of all transcripts produced by court reporters and digital recording transcribers. The Record Reproduction Center also prints notes of testimony for court-appointed counsel and other private parties who do not have access to the CRS system.

Equal access to justice for all those who come before the Court in Philadelphia is provided by two departments within The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania. Interpreters are provided to those needing language assistance at NO COST to the litigant.

The Court maintains an office for Spanish staff interpreters that provide interpreting services to all court locations.

Please use the following phone numbers when in need of Spanish interpreters in the various courthouse locations:
Common Pleas Criminal Division: (215) 683-7093
Municipal Court Criminal Division: (215) 683-7272
Family Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Divisions: (215) 686-3513

Court Reporter and Interpreter Services Administration contracts with independent interpreting agencies to provide Court Interpreters for all languages other than Spanish, and for sign language interpreters. To Contact Court Reporter and Interpreter Services to arrange for an interpreter other than Spanish, please call 215-683-8000.

The following information may help you, or assist you in helping a non-English speaking person, or deaf person to navigate our court system:

If you are a Court Officer, Customer Service Representative, Probation Officer, Advocate, Attorney, or someone representing and/or assisting a person in need of an interpreter, please contact Interpreter Services at the time the matter is being listed in order to give us time to arrange in advance to have an interpreter present.

The Court Interpreter Request Forms are to be used when making a request for an interpreter by any Court employee, or representative from City Agencies, the District Attorney's Office, the Defender Association, any Advocacy group, or court-appointed attorneys. Please fax the form in advance of your listing to 215-683-8005

If the matter is continued or re-listed, or the party that needs the interpreter will not be present at the previously planned time, please contact this office as soon as possible to cancel the interpreter. The First Judicial District of Pennsylvania is obligated to pay for the interpreter if advance cancellation notice is not given to the agency.

Sign language interpreters for the deaf or hearing-impaired that are hired by the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania often arrive as a team. This occurs because until the deaf interpreter meets the user, we are not sure whether or not the person uses sign language or a home-based sign language. Two interpreters are needed if the deaf person is not an American Sign Language user.

Please try to ascertain from the person who needs a language interpreter, or anyone with that individual, what country they are from, or region, and what dialect they speak. This information saves wasted time later at the hearing, and often can alleviate having to continue the matter a second or sometimes third time to determine exactly which dialect they speak.

Our Interpreters have requested and appreciate as much information about a matter ahead of time as can be given. What type of case is this? Is it a trial? Custody dispute? Sentencing or Juvenile hearing? What is the expected duration of the hearing? Is it a week-long trial? 5-minute hearing? An all-day protracted matter? If the person received interpreting services previously, what date was that service provided? All of this information assists our office and the agencies to assign and schedule the appropriate interpreter to each matter.

Court Interpreters have an ethical duty to interpret for the client within the courtroom setting including all of what the judge, the attorneys and witnesses say and questions asked. However, they should not be asked, and we specifically require them not to explain the law, or any legal issue to a client. This is the duty of the Judge and the attorneys; not the interpreter. The Interpreter is hired by the Court as an impartial party to provide language interpretation for the client; not to be their advocate or advisor.

Should you require more information pertaining to court interpreters in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, please feel free to contact Danielle O'Connor, Deputy Court Administrator, Danielle.OConnor@courts.phila.govor Elizabeth McCarrick, Interpreter Coordinator, elizabeth.mccarrick@courts.phila.gov and we will be happy to assist you.

Mail or fax a completed Transcript Order Form requesting the notes of testimony to the Official Court Reporter, 215-683-8005. Include on the form the exact date of the hearing, the name of the presiding judge, the name of the case and/or defendant's name, and your phone number. We cannot assist you without the above information.

The Official Court Reporter will respond by phone or fax, giving you the information on any deposit that may be required, and will also give you an estimated date of completion. The reporter or a Copy Center employee will call when the transcript has been submitted for archiving and/or printing. You may pick up the transcript at our Copy Center when ready.

Click here to download the Transcript Order Form

If you are a defendant requesting a Transcript, do not use the link to the Transcript Order Form until you read and follow the instructions below. We will be happy to assist you, providing you follow the procedures attached.

Please be advised, however, that if you already have an attorney, if you are presently represented by private counsel, or have a public defender as your attorney now, you must contact them BEFORE ordering a transcript through our office. Otherwise, you will have to pay for the transcript.

Please complete a separate Transcript Order Form and fax the attached form to order a transcript produced by digital recording.

For general Court information, contact (215) 686-7000.

Contact

Business Hours

  • Monday-Friday: 8am to 5pm