Court reporting has many uses that people don’t know about. Most people have seen court reporters on TV and in movies, but they don’t know much about the career. Court reporting is a demanding job that can be exciting, carries a high level of responsibility, and leads to a diverse work experience. Here are three things that you probably didn’t know about being a court reporter.
Court reporting is difficult work. It requires that a reporter be on high alert, listening to and then transcribing every single word that is said. A court reporter must have excellent hearing and the ability to quickly turn what they hear into typed words. Since what they have written is considered an “official” record, they must get every single thing right. Sometimes, a member of a court proceeding or a meeting will ask the court reporter to read back what was said at some point during the meeting. What they have written must be absolutely right.
Closed captioning is the printed words that you read at the bottom of a TV screen during something like a live news report. It is usually created for the deaf and hard of hearing, but you will also see it turned on for TVs located in noisy bars, restaurants, and fitness clubs.
Who types all of those words? Court reporters trained to caption! Court reporters are perfect for creating closed captioning because they are used to listening carefully and typing quickly. They can type 225 or more words per minute. The record known speed for court reporter typing is 375 words per minute! You might have wondered how the process worked and who was doing the typing, and now you know.
Court reporters use a type of written English called machine shorthand. This is a way of combining consonants and vowels to shorten a word. Court reporters use a computerized machine called a stenograph machine. This is similar to a typewriter, except as many keys can be depressed at the same time as needed it is made specifically for typing shorthand. It allows court reporters to capture everything that is said in a courtroom or other legal meeting very, very quickly.
Court reporting isn’t a job for everyone, but it is highly satisfying to those who like a challenge and diverse work environments. If you are very detail-oriented, enjoy working at a fast pace, and like the idea of assisting the public with legal matters, court reporting might be a great career choice for you.