Methods of Court Reporting
Court reporting is a very promising profession-- and that's not just propaganda. Aside from the usual
courtroom environment, the U.S. Congress or private firms, Federal legislation has now mandated that
television programs and Spanish-language programming be captioned for the deaf and the hearing impaired.
Furthermore, they can even request for real time translation in their classes, according to the Americans with
Disabilities Act. Add this to the growing popularity of webcasting and online collaborations and it's easy to
imagine how the demand for court reporters have burgeoned in the past few years and in the years to come.
But before you can be a court reporter, you need to be acquainted with and specialize on the various methods
of court reporting. These include stenographic reporting, electronic reporting, voice-writing and real-time
Stenographic Reporting. The most common method of court reporting makes use of the stenotype machine.
This is a specialized kind of typewriter used for shorthand. Instead of an alphanumeric keyboard, multiple keys
are pressed simultaneously to stand for words, syllables and entire phrases. Modern-day steno machines have
microprocessors, English dictionaries, LCD screens and memories that can store the transcripts. The process of
computer-aided transcription (CAT) translates and displays on the screen the message that was recorded by
the court reporter.
Electronic Reporting. Electronic reporting relies on the use of analog or digital recorders to record proceedings.
The court reporter is still responsible for keeping watch over the proceedings, identifying the speakers and
taking notes to guide him or her in the accurate transcription of the entire event. He or she then makes a
written transcript of the recorded session.
Voice Writing. In this method, the court reporter makes use of a voice silencer. This is a hand-held recorder
containing a mask and a telephone where the court reporter verbally repeats everything said by those involved
in the whole proceeding. He or she also includes the gestures and reactions in the recording. Again, written
transcripts are made after each session.
Real-time Captioning. The need to provide captioning services for the hard of hearing and the totally deaf
as mandated by the law as well as for those who are still learning English have given rise to Communication
Access Real-time Translation (CART). They caption classes, television programs and even provide transcripts
in conventions, doctor's visits and other occasions where communication is needed. A court reporter's role
is crucial especially in emergency situations where the accuracy of information provided can save lives. Some
court reporters who provide CART can work from the comfort of their own homes since communications
technology have come to a point where real-time access can still be provided through the phone or Internet.
No matter what method of court reporting is utilized, it is the job of the court reporter to ensure accuracy of
the transcription. The recording should be checked for errors in grammar and punctuation to ensure that the
written copy is discernible to all the parties concerned.
If you believe that you have what it takes to be a Court Reporter, then the first step is the Court Reporter Exam Study Guide that walks you through the entire Border Patrol hiring process.
For more information, go to our page for the Court Reporter Exam Study Guide