What do Court Reporters Do?

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Author: Shane Molliwan

Court reporters are people who are trained to take official records of proceedings in courts, at public hearings, and at government meetings. These reporters take word for word accounts of what occurs within the meetings and trials and they have to have a high level of accuracy, skill, and plenty of abilities to perform their tasks under lots of pressure. In order to become court reporters, candidates have to meet a number of requirements. Those requirements are based on the type of reporting they are going to do and the state in which they plan to work. Training classes often offer the basic skills and the candidate might also look for certification through some kind of regional professional organization in order to further their eligibility for work.

Many people recognize that court reporters are the people who sit close to the bench so that they can hear every word while they type away on their tiny computers. There are a variety of technologies that court reporters can use in order to create a transcript of any proceeding. Some simply use stenograph machines, which record symbols that stand for various words or even sounds. Some transcribe the speed in real time on a word for word basis. Court reporters also sometimes record proceedings and then transcribe the conversations later. Technology has allowed for court reporters to also have voice recognition possibilities at their disposal.

When court reporters finish transcriptions, the document is often used as the official record of the proceeding. Transcripts will then be filed and, at times, they might need to be inspected to see how a certain proceeding went. People use the transcripts for a number of reasons including research, in order to overthrow a decision in a certain case, or just simply as records.

Most countries see court transcriptions as legal documents. Sometimes, the court reporters that type them up have to be sworn as officers of the court so that they can pledge the document they have created is correct and complete. Court reporters will often take transcripts of depositions in preparation for trials as well as trials themselves, corporate board meetings, and other tasks that relate to the inside or outside of the courtroom. Good court reporters are often in high demand and they get reasonably good pay as well.

The demand for court reporters continues to rise and the number of qualified individuals is usually smaller than the positions available. Some court reporters work for specific companies or courts while others work on a more freelance basis and travel to their jobs when they are hired. The job itself can put stress on the body after long periods of sitting, but overall, the position is not dangerous.

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