A court reporter is an official of the court, who creates written transcripts to record spoken communications within a court proceeding. The transcripts created by the court reporter are very important, as they serve as the records for all aspects of the trial. They have the potential to be searched and researched by other attorneys after the trial verdicts are entered. Most court reporters use a stenotype machine that creates a sort of typed shorthand and allows the reporter to keep up with the rapid pace of verbal speech in court. Some courts allow for recorded communication, and the reporter then creates written transcripts based on these recordings
Most courts and jurisdictions still prefer stenotype operators for their court reporters. This is a highly sophisticated machine that typically requires at least two years of formal instruction and many hours of practice. The court reporter listens and types at the same time, normally lingering only a few seconds behind the pace of the actual speech. Because the reporter is creating the official record of the trial, a judge or attorney may request the reporter to read back any items entered into the transcript as the trial proceeds.
To work as a court reporter, a person will need to attend technical school or vocational training geared specifically to this career. Prospective courtroom reporters should expect to spend many, many hours learning to use a stenotype, as well as learning shorthand and transcription skills. Most court reporters work in a courtroom environment during daytime hours of the week.
Court Reporter Tasks
Attend all sessions of the court.
Preserve shorthand notes for future reference per statutory guidelines.
File exhibits or necessary documents with the clerk of the court.
Read portions of shorthand notes to resolve disputes of testimony, argument, or matters of law upon request of the trial court.
Take full shorthand notes of oral testimony, objections, and closing arguments.