A court reporter is a person that records events as they transpire. Specifically, you would be responsible for creating transcripts of conversations in courtrooms, boardrooms, meeting rooms, and other events where an official record is required. In addition to recording who said what verbatim, you would record relevant actions (e.g. attorney picking up evidence) and you would be responsible for making sure the names of the people and locations were accurate. Accuracy is required in this job because the transcripts created generally become a matter of public record and used for other things such as evidence in another court case.
Court reporters are an integral part of the legal system. If you have ever thought about getting into this field, here is more information about the court reporter profession.
Court Reporter Job Description
As noted before, court reporters record information but they do so much more. They also help lawyers, judges, and other legal professionals search for information and organize it so that it is easy to use. They are frequently tapped for suggestions on courtroom procedure. They are also called upon to transcribe information for closed captioning and real-time translation.
Different Ways of Transcribing Information
The most common way court reporters transcribe conversations and other data is by using a stenotype machine. This machine is made with specialized keys that allow stenographers to type at high speeds (minimum 225 words per minutes) so they can keep up with human speech. For real-time captioning (e.g. television shows) the machines are connected to a computer that displays the output onscreen.
A burgeoning field is electronic reporting. In this type of court reporting, specialized audio equipment is used to capture the proceedings. The court reporter monitors the machines and may also take notes on things that can’t be picked up by the machine (like movement). Afterwards, the person transcribes the recording into text and submits it for the official record.
Another type of court reporting is voice writing. The court reporter verbally records the proceedings. He or she uses a special microphone that is hidden behind a mask that serves to prevent other people from hearing what he or she is saying. The voice writer repeats what is said by the people in the courtroom or meeting area. Later, the results are reproduced as a written record that becomes the official transcript on file.
The Job of a Court Reporter
The court reporter’s job does not end with the recording of the meeting or legal proceeding. Indeed, their work is just beginning. After getting the information, the court reporter must then edit and proofread the transcript to eliminate any mistakes and make sure all of the information (like attorney names) contained within is correct. They also have to make sure the data is organized well and get it submitted as the official record as soon as possible.
Where Do Court Reporters Work?
Although seen primarily in courtrooms, court reporters work in a variety of places including out of their homes. While the vast majority of court reporters work for the local, state, or federal government, many of them work for a business and some work on a freelance basis. They perform many different job functions including as webcasters, transcribing live events like press conferences, and do closed-captioning or CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation) for the deaf or hard of hearing.
The job is demanding and often unpredictable. To succeed, you must maintain a high level of awareness and attentiveness to your surroundings. You must be accurate in your reporting, be a great listener, and have a good grasp of the English language and grammar.
The demand for court reporters is expected to grow by 25% in the next few years. Employers prefer to hire people that have completed a formal educational program and obtained at least one or two credentials. Some states require court reporters to be licensed.
A basic court reporting program at a community college typically takes about a year to complete. However, it may take longer depending on whether you specialize in a particular area and the school you attend. If you play your cards right, you can end up with a personally and financially fulfilling career as a court reporter.
Want to become a Court Reporter?
Did you know that some court reporters make up to $77,770 a year?
One of the most important jobs in the courtroom belongs to the court reporter. They are an integral part of the judicial system because they produce permanent records of court proceedings. In short, a court reporter records verbatim the conversations that take place in a courtroom....