Court reporter


Court reporter
Historical 1965 ad of Stenotype Career

A court reporter, stenotype reporter, voice writing reporter,[1] or transcriber is a person whose occupation is to transcribe spoken or recorded speech into written form, using machine shorthand or voice writing equipment to produce official transcripts of court hearings, depositions and other official proceedings. The only difference between voice writing court reporters and stenographic court reporters is the method of making the record. The voice writer repeats verbatim what attorneys, witnesses, and others are saying in a proceeding. The training on a stenograph machine requires the person to pass typing speed tests of up to 225 words a minute on their machine in the United States, as set forth by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) in the United States. Only a small percentage of court reporting students per year are actually able to do this. The drop-out rate of stenographic court reporters is very high, due to the difficulty. The training with voice writing equipment required the person to pass dictation speed tests of up to 250 words a minute in the United States, as set forth by the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). Digitally recorded proceedings provide the ability to verify the written record as verbatim after playing back the recording. Digital recording systems used in courts are not just like any recording. Multi-channel, digital audio allows for isolated playback of channels during transcription. The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) certifies reporters and transcribers. AAERT certified reporters monitor the recording continuously during a proceeding, and create an extensive set of log notes which are individually time-stamped. The time-stamps correspond with the location on the digital recording for instantaneous playback, either upon request during a proceeding or at a later time. The log notes provide any authorized person the opportunity to quickly search and identify any segment of the proceeding they wish to review. Some courts train clerks or other court personnel to operate the digital recording equipment. Courtroom monitors are responsible for listening to the recording through headphones while the proceeding occurs to ensure recording quality. The digital recording method is widely used in federal courts and administrative agencies throughout the United States. Digital court reporting utilizes sophisticated recording technology with multi-channel capabilities. It is not to be confused or compared with an individual using a standalone tape or digital recorder.

Contents

In the United States

The court reporter in some states is required to be a notary public who is authorized to administer oaths to witnesses, and who certifies that his or her transcript of the proceedings is a verbatim account of what was said.

Skills and training

It typically takes anywhere from two to four years to learn the basic skills to become a stenotype court reporter. Training to learn the basic skills to become a voice writer reporter typically takes six to nine months. To become realtime proficient in voice writing takes a year to a year and a half. Candidates usually attend specialized certificate courses at private business schools, or sometimes associate's or bachelor's degree programs at accredited colleges or universities. Distance learning and online training courses are also available for both methods. After additional on-the-job training and experience, many court reporters then move on to real-time reporting.

Licensed court reporters are required to attend continuing education courses to maintain their licensure. Some states require court reporters to be notaries public in addition to being a Certified Court Reporter (CCR). There are three national court reporting associations in the United States, The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), and the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) and the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). The minimum speed needed to become certified by the NCRA is 225 words per minute. The NVRA requires a minimum speed of 250 words per minute to qualify for certification. AAERT requires 98 percent accuracy on transcripts, and both reporters and transcribers must pass both a written and practical examination. Depending on the court reporting method of choice, one tends to join either the NCRA, NVRA or AAERT. The NCRA offers the title Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) to those who pass a four-part examination and participate in continuing education programs. The NVRA offers the title Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) to those who pass a four-part examination, including both a skills and written exam, and participate in continuing education programs. A reporter may obtain additional certifications that demonstrate higher levels of competency such as Certified Real-time Reporter (CRR) or Real-time Verbatim Reporter (RVR). Both of these associations offer equivalent examinations to test reporters for speed and competency on their method of reporting. The Canadian Court Reporter John M. Weir (CVR) could do 350 words per minute during legal hearings. The AAERT is the electronic court reporting and transcribing industry's professional association in the United States, founded in 1994. The AAERT offers electronic reporters and transcribers three certifications: certified electronic reporter (CER), certified electronic transcriber (CET), and certified electronic reporter and transcriber (CERT).

The International Alliance of Professional Reporters and Transcribers (IAPRT.org) is a member-based not-for-profit consortium engaged in the ongoing development of all methods of court reporting and transcription, and guiding public and private court reporting professionals worldwide toward the common goal of producing a verbatim and verifiable record. IAPRT offers on-line training and certification for members who participate in continuing education programs.

Required skills of a court reporter are excellent command of the language being spoken, attention to detail, and the ability to focus for long periods at a time. The most highly skilled court reporters can provide transcription in real time and have significant earning potential.[citation needed]

Work

In a courtroom environment, court reporters utilizing any of the three methods may make suggestions regarding proper procedure, do research for items in the official record, and assist in other ways. Importantly, realtime reporting has proven beneficial for the judiciary, and many judges insist that their reporter be realtime capable. Digital recordings allow judges to instantly playback or review any portion of the recording.

Many court reporters work as freelance reporters or independent contractors outside the courtroom in depositions and other situations that require an official legal transcript, such as arbitration hearings or other formal proceedings. Court reporters also often provide realtime transcription for public events, religious services, webcasts, and educational services. Regardless of the method, stenographic, stenomask or digital, a transcript can be produced on an hourly, daily, expedited or standard turnaround.

Court reporters are also employed by television producers and stations in order to provide realtime closed captioning of live programs for the hearing-impaired.

Emerging internet technologies, such as Deposition Source, have added to the earnings potential of court reporters. With this type of technology, court reporters earn residual income from their work product when it is sold as a witness research tool to attorneys and other legal professionals.

There are differing accounts of the earnings for court reporters. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics had earnings of between $30,680 and $60,760 for the middle 50% of court reporters. Due to large backlogs and resultant high overtime pay, salaries can, however, be much higher.

The term "court reporter" can also be used to refer to a journalist who specialises in covering court cases.

See also

References

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • court reporter — n: a stenographer who records and transcribes a verbatim report of all proceedings in a court of law Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. court reporter …   Law dictionary

  • court reporter — n. a person whose job is to produce a verbatim record of the oral remarks and statements, esp. testimony, presented at a court trial, deposition, etc …   English World dictionary

  • court reporter — noun : a stenographer who records and transcribes a verbatim report of all proceedings in a law court * * * a stenographer employed to record and transcribe an official verbatim record of the legal proceedings of a court. [1890 95, Amer.] * * *… …   Useful english dictionary

  • court reporter — court re porter n someone whose job is to record everything that is said during a court case …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • court reporter — court′ report′er n. law a stenographer employed to record the proceedings of a court • Etymology: 1890–95, amer …   From formal English to slang

  • court reporter — A person who transcribes by shorthand, stenographically takes down, or electronically records testimony during court proceedings, or at trial related proceedings such as depositions. If an appeal is to be taken wherein an official record is… …   Black's law dictionary

  • court reporter — A person who transcribes by shorthand, stenographically takes down, or electronically records testimony during court proceedings, or at trial related proceedings such as depositions. If an appeal is to be taken wherein an official record is… …   Black's law dictionary

  • court reporter — /ˈkɔt rəpɔtə/ (say kawt ruhpawtuh) noun 1. Also, court recorder. a person whose job is to record the proceedings of a court or court related hearing, using handwritten shorthand, a stenotype machine or sound equipment. 2. a news reporter… …   Australian English dictionary

  • court reporter — noun A person whose occupation is to transcribe spoken or recorded speech into written form, typically using a stenotype or stenomask to produce official transcripts of court hearings, depositions and other official proceedings. Syn: stenotype… …   Wiktionary

  • court reporter — one who records what is said and occurred during a trial; news reporter who writes about legal and court cases …   English contemporary dictionary


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