- Play a critical role in legal proceedings
- Must be highly attentive
- Must have the ability to separate from emotional situations
- Must have very high degree of accuracy
Court reporters play a critical role in legal proceedings and at meetings where the spoken word must be recorded as said by each person. They are responsible for ensuring a complete and accurate legal record. In addition to the legal record, many court reporters assist judges and trial attorneys by organizing and searching for information in official records. Increasingly, court reporters are providing closed-captioning and real-time translating services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
Legal appeals can depend on the court reporter's transcript, so accuracy is crucial. Many court reporters organize official records. Stenotyping and voice writing are the two main methods of court reporting.
A stenotype machine allows the court reporter, or stenotypist, to press more than one key at a time. Doing so records symbols that represent sounds, words, or phrases. These symbols are saved on computer disks or CD-ROMs. They are then translated and displayed as text.
Voice-writing involves a court reporter speaking into a stenomask - a hand-held mask containing a microphone. The reporter repeats the testimony into the recorder. The mask has a silencer so the reporter won't be heard. Voice writers record everything that is said by persons in the courtroom. Gestures and emotional reactions are also recorded.
A court reporter must have an excellent ability to attend to information in distracting circumstances. They must be able to distance their emotions from their work to accurately reflect the information provided in the courtroom and not become personally involved. Often the reporter must work in situations that are very emotional and even listen to very disturbing testimony and so it is critical to be able to stay focused in these situations.
In Washington, DC, a U.S. House of Representatives Official Reporter records congressional proceedings, floor debates, meetings and press conferences. Because of the nature of the subjects discussed, a very high degree of confidential is required and a national clearance must be granted to the individual.
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Requires a degree in:
- Criminal Justice
- Court Room Reporting
- Using transcription equipment quickly and accurately
- Understanding a variety of words, phrases, and accents
- Concentrating for long periods
- Working under pressure