Verbatim Reporting Service
Following the spoken word is the written word. The Verbatim Reporting Service produces, in all six official languages, in extenso records of the meetings of the Assembly, the Security Council and other bodies. As official records, they are meant to answer the following questions: “Who spoke at the meeting?” “What exactly was said?” and “What was finally decided?” A verbatim record serves as the edited transcript of the proceedings, and each language version contains the statements delivered in that language plus translations of speeches given in the other languages. The scope of the work of the Service is indicated by the number of meetings for which it is required to produce records: in 2009, the number was 392; in 2010, it was 411.
Whereas in the past it was a necessary for verbatim reporters to be present at all meetings for which they produced records, they are now able to work from digital sound recordings of meetings transmitted electronically to their work-stations. This also allows off-site work.
Combining the skills of transcription, translation and editing, verbatim reporters ensure the substantive accuracy of all statements given at a meeting, while maintaining a uniformly high standard of style. They correct grammatical errors, clarify the order of presentations without changing the meaning, verify quotations and insert necessary references, and check facts and details against the documentation of the body concerned and all available data bases. In accordance with prescribed models for parliamentary procedures, they employ standardized formulas when dealing with procedural matters and the conduct of voting. Just like the interpreters, the verbatim reporters must be thoroughly up to date on all matters discussed in meetings of intergovernmental bodies, which often requires extensive research in those different areas. Their work represents the permanent, historic record – in written form – of all oral statements that were made at the meeting.