Q: How much does a legal deposition transcript cost per page?
A: It depends.
When calculating the cost of a transcript, there are a large number of factors that go into pricing. One component of the fee is a rate per page of transcription.
Asking your reporter what they charge per page should be a simple question with a simple answer. However, the page rate will not tell you the full story.
It is possible for two reporters to take down the same deposition but have a different number of pages in the resulting transcript. If both reporters charge the same page rate, you will pay more for the reporter who uses less characters per line, which results in more pages for the same transcript.
You may think, “No big deal, how much difference can a few characters per line make?”
Well, you might be surprised.
Knowing this, one of our reporters decided to do an analysis to see what the differences in price could be due to differing numbers of characters per line.
At O’Brien and Bails, our legal transcripts are formatted to hold 65 characters on the longest line. We feel this number of characters is the standard in Michigan according to the calculations we have done using the State of Michigan Manual for Court Reporters and Recorders which we must adhere to.
Our reporter took one of her transcripts and used the 65 characters per line to format the transcript. This resulted in a transcript that was 112 pages in length.
Next she took the same transcript and formatted it using 60 characters per line. This resulted in a transcript that was 120 pages in length.
She then took the same transcript and formatted it using 57 characters per line. This resulted in a transcript that was 124 pages in length.
And finally, yet again our reporter formatted the transcript using 55 characters per line. This resulted in a transcript that was 127 pages in length.
Now here is where it gets interesting. If the rate for one page of transcript is $3.25, then the transcript that had 65 characters per line would cost $364. The very same testimony in the very same deposition, however, would cost $390 when transcribed by a court reporter using only 60 characters per line. Formatted again using 57 characters per line, the deposition would cost $403. And formatted one more time using 55 characters per line, the transcript would cost $412.75.
|Characters Per Line||Number of Pages||Cost of Transcript|
Imagine if the transcript were 500 pages or 1,000 pages. These dollars really begin to add up. You would pay a higher price for the exact same deposition.
So to get a true comparison of court reporter page rates, you can call your court reporter and ask how many characters per line, starting from the Q and A, they use in transcripts. If the answer is 55, you will be paying more for your transcript than a reporter whose answer is 65.
Are you wondering whether you paid too much for your last transcript? It is easy to discern the number of characters per line your reporter is using. Simply count the number of characters per line using the longest line you find on your transcript, including the spaces between words, starting at the Q or A. If you come up with less than 65, you could be paying more for your transcript.
If you would like help calculating whether you paid too much for your last transcript, contact us. We will be happy to assist you.
To learn more about court reporting pricing and costs, download our guide, “How Much Should I Expect to Pay for Court Reporting Services.”