Court Reporter

Court Reporter

What is a Court Reporter?

Court reporters are responsible for drafting verbatim transcripts of meetings, speeches, conversations, and legal proceedings as well as other spoken events.

Attention to detail, excellent typing skills, and great hearing are necessary skills for a successful court reporter. Court reporters are responsible for making complete and highly accurate transcripts, and are also sometimes called upon to help judges and lawyers find information within the official record. Court reporters have also been known to provide closed-captioning and real-time translation services for people with hearing disabilities.

Court Reporting Technologies

Court reporters use several different technologies and techniques to do their job. Stenographic documentation is the most common method employed by most reporters. The reporters (stenotypists) use a stenotype machine to document every word made during the proceedings. The machine’s unique technology allows them to push combinations of keys simultaneously to create bunches of letters to represent sounds and words. Through computer-aided-transcription, or CAT, these units are translated electronically into text. This text can be translated in real-time into text on a screen during court proceedings that require it.

Electronic reporting uses audio equipment to record the spoken word. For this type of reporting, the court reporter listens along and identifies different speakers by taking notes, as well as monitors clarity and recording quality.

Voice writing is another technology used by court reporters. The reporter holds a hand-held mask to his or her face, and speaks into a recording device within the mask. The mask keeps the reporter’s voice from being heard during proceedings and allows the reporter to repeat everything said by witnesses, judges, and lawyers while also detailing non-verbal gestures and emotive reactions that a transcript wouldn’t traditionally note.

Education and Training

If you’re interested in a job as a court reporter, you’ll need to do some state-specific research, as licensure requirements for training required varies. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has certified more than 60 programs for postsecondary and technical schools and colleges. If you're interested, remember that speed and accuracy is key. NCRA certified programs require students to capture at least 225 words per minute. The Federal Government also has a 225 word per minute requirement for employment.

Check out the National Court Reporters Association for additional information.

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