If you’ve ever watched a trial on the news or tuned in to one of the popular television courtroom dramas, you’ve probably seen a court reporter sitting at their keyboard focused on the dialogue taking place. It’s not a standard keyboard, or what we refer to as a QWERTY keyboard. Rather, it’s a stenotype designed specifically for reporters and captioners to deliver an accurate written history of proceedings faster than on a QWERTY. Guess what? We’re not always in a legal setting. Here are a few little-known facts about court reporters:
We work outside the courtroom.
You can find us working remotely as captioners for television, lectures, political events, and live business meetings, webinars, and seminars. Closed captioning is a growing field for us here in Las Vegas as it serves the deaf and hard of hearing, connecting them to the world.
If you’re seeking a new career, court reporting may be of interest especially if you’re seeking a flexible, freelance lifestyle. While we work many hours as reporters, we can choose to take a break from cases while we take care of ourselves. It’s a great opportunity for a mom who wants to stay at home or a student who can’t incur the costs of a four-year degree but wants a lucrative career.
We use shorthand.
You might think shorthand is a thing of the past but for us, it’s essential to our work. Using shorthand, we’re able to capture what’s being said in the moment. We then expand to a longer version for delivery in a transcript to our client. It’s often faster for us.
The exception is for the more advanced real-time transcriptionists who have the speed and accuracy to type almost as fast as the speaker. Pretty amazing skills!
We store records.
As court reporters, we create the transcript of courtroom proceedings during a trial, and then are given the responsibility of storing those records for the next fifteen years. Some states mandate that court reporters be notary publics, who are therefore able to assist witnesses in taking oaths.
These court reporters are also able to certify the completeness and accuracy of their own transcripts.
Being a court reporter can be interesting and it’s definitely important! Are you interested in learning more about becoming a reporter? Do you need a reporter for an upcoming case? We’d love to talk to you!