Court reporters, or stenographers, are tasked with creating verbatim transcripts of legal proceedings, conversations meetings, speeches and other events where written documentation of spoken words is necessary for legal proof, records purposes or simply for correspondence. They re-create these with the aid of stenograph machines or voice writing equipment. In some cases, court reporters also do closed-captioning and real-time translating services for those with auditory deficiencies and disabilities.
Court reporters play an important role not only in judicial proceedings, but also in activities that need written transcripts. Their work encompasses documentation preparation and safekeeping and researching official record as needed by the court. They also suggest courtroom administration and procedure.
Court reporters and stenographers generally complete a two- to four-year training program offered by an accredited vocational or online technical school or college. Coursework will vary from to school but will likely include the foundational courses such as machine shorthand, English, vocabulary, introduction to law and legal terminology, computer-aided transcription, and keyboarding/typing.
Aspiring court reporters should have extensive knowledge in the legal field and possess strong grammar and punctuation skills. Proficiency with computers and video equipment are also required. Court reporters should have the ability to actively listen and accurately record proceedings. They are also regarded as officers of the court, hence, manifestations of adherence to strict code of ethics should be observed by future employers.
Court reporting jobs are considered to be a prestigious work because of the myriad of court cases, subject matter, and work environments that one can be exposed to on an everyday basis. There is an increasing need for transcription services outside of the judicial system hence employment of court reporters is expected to increase as fast as the average employment rate for all jobs through 2016.