It will invariably happen that someone will ask you to read something back during a deposition. It could be a question, an answer, a series of questions and answers, or colloquy. There will be days when reading back is a breeze, but there will also be days when you will feel less confident in your ability to do so. Needless to say, you will still have to face the music, so to speak, and at a time when all eyes are upon you. Will you be able to deliver?
Of course there are many reasons you may be having a difficult day: speed, technical material, foreign accent, overlapping speakers, contentious participants. No matter the reason, it is still your responsibility to bear down and push through. If you pay attention to the testimony, and do not sit mindlessly writing, you will have an understanding of the issues at hand; so if you are asked to read back, at least you will have the benefit of context to help you.
If possible and if it is not too distracting, look at your screen as you write and make a mental note of what words your misstrokes or untranslates should be. Then if you are suddenly asked to read back, you will not have to stumble through trying to decipher them. Also, at a recess check the last few questions and answers as well. It is common when the proceedings resume to be asked to read the last question and answer back to help the attendees refocus.
When you do read back, be sure to do so at an even pace, and enunciate every word. Speak loudly and clearly for all to hear. Mark whatever section you read back because you will need to reference that in the final transcript.
If the worst case scenario happens and you are just not able to read back, you have to say you are unable to do so. Counsel or the witness will probably repeat what they said or just move on. Hopefully this will be an isolated incident. If you find reading back an ongoing challenge, you will need to continue to diligently practice to build your speed and write more cleanly. Reading back your practice material is a great exercise and will help you hone your readback skills.
Providing consistent and accurate readback is a valuable and unique service court reporters provide. Readback is a good barometer of your skill level, and it is one of the benchmarks upon which attorneys will judge your competence. You will not want to disappoint.