What Is Court Reporting?

Finding the right career isn’t easy — especially today, when so many careers are changing, disappearing, and being pioneered. Stability is hard to find, and reliably marketable skills tough to identify and develop. But finding a durable skill set and a stable, rewarding career is still possible. If you have an interest in a law and are dedicated enough to learn the difficult skills associated with the profession, you may want to consider becoming a court reporter. Court reporters are necessary in courtrooms and other legal spaces and situations. But what, exactly, is court reporting?

What court reporters do

Court reporters, also called stenographers, are responsible for recording what goes on in a courtroom. That means just about everything that is said in court. As anyone who has ever been a part of a jury or watched a legal proceeding from the gallery can tell you, that can be quite a bit.

The court reporter sits in the court and records all of this manually with a keyboard and some serious typing and shorthand skills. With the record being created even as the courtroom proceedings are taking place, the presiding judge is able to ask the court reporter to read back things from the record. Jurors can rely on the transcripts when deliberating, too.

Court reporting: a vital role

The fact that judges and juries can make use of the records created by court reporters is extremely important. This makes the role of the court reporter vital. The court reporter is tasked with accurately reporting what was said in court, so any errors on the court reporter’s part can be a serious problem for justice and fairness in the courts. That’s a lot of responsibility, and it has to fall to a human court reporter, for many reasons. Transcribing things that are said by humans is a task best left to humans. For all of our technological advances and artificial intelligence, computers are still not very good at transcribing from audio feeds. Accents, speedy talkers, human errors of pronunciation, and other factors make computers ill-suited for this task. And court reporters will sometimes have to make judgment calls about “crosstalk,” which refers to moments when multiple people are speaking at once, and court reporters will sometimes insert a note about such moments rather than transcribing all the simultaneous outbursts.

Becoming a court reporter

Of course, not just any human being can become a court reporter. Court reporting requires a specific skill set, and you’ll have to cultivate it.

Transcribing everything that is said in court in the full words that we’re using in this article would be impossible. To keep up with the rapid-fire pace of legal discourse, court reporters use a type of shorthand. Court reporters also use a special machine, called a stenotype, to rapidly input their specialized language. A qualified stenographer can keep up with the words spoken in court.

Court reporters also have to have excellent attention spans and a knack for attention to detail. Some people might not find courtrooms to be the most interesting places in the world, but a court reporter must always be paying attention, recording everything said in real time.

To become a court reporter, you’ll have to seek out training in these specialized skills. You’ll find court reporter educational programs that can guide you through the process. After an internship, you can begin working, though further tests and certifications may be required in some areas and will help you advance your career.

If you pass the test, you’ll find that court reporters can have lots of employment opportunities and rewarding, stable careers, say the experts at Brickell Key Court Reporting, a company that hires Miami court reporters. If you have an interest in law, quick hands, and a talent for attention to detail, then you may want to consider a career as a court reporter.