A court reporter or court stenographer is someone who translates speech into written word, and uses a machine, shorthand, or some other voice writing equipment to create a written document by those in a court room. Utilizing court reporting services allows for a completely understood testimony, verbatim, for the judge to review and file, of any court proceedings, including court hearings and depositions. Court reporters can also provide captioning for T.V. and at public events.
What education does someone need to become a court reporter?
Schooling to become a court reporter typically takes 2-4 years, and that’s just to learn the basic skills of court recording or stenography. There are other programs, such as steno mask and digitally recording, which are much shorter, around six months for a certificate. Many of the programs teach you English grammar and phonetics, legal proceedings and terminology skills, and help you prepare transcripts, which improve speed and accuracy for the court room.
After obtaining your license, you have a short stint of on-the-job training, and are then required to continue training courses to ensure you keep your license, as well as staying up-to-date on changes within the field.
What qualities should I possess to be a court reporter?
There are certain qualities you should meet, just as with any other profession, which determines your readiness in becoming a court reporter. They include:
• Listening skills–you need to be able to block out everyone else but the one speaking, so as they have your undivided attention at all times.
• Writing skills–you should have proper knowledge of grammar, vocabulary and punctuation skills.
• Detail oriented–since your recordings will be legal documents, they need to be error-free but as detailed as possible, to avoid confusion and the like.
• Concentration skills–court reporters often have to concentrate and listen for long periods of time, without yielding to distraction, so they can focus on the dialogue continually.
What kind of work environment should I expect?
Most court reporters work for local and state government agencies, including in legislatures and court systems. They also work freelance for pretrial depositions and businesses, as well as other events. They can work remotely or from home, and are typically working full-time, unless they have their own business, and then their work hours are flexible depending on their schedule.
Court reporters also make a pretty good living, and best of all, obtaining a court reporting services certificate or degree ensures long-lasting employment, since it is projected the field will increase 14% in the next decade; this is average for most careers, and since many new legislation will take effect, these services will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.
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