Secrets Revealed: How Court Reporters Type So Fast

December 26, 2019 8:19 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you’ve ever watched courtroom proceedings, either in person or on television, you might have wondered just how court reporters can type as fast as the people talking. Like a tennis match, an examination involves two major players, but the stakes are often far higher. How does anyone keep up with the speed and technicality of the proceedings without sacrificing accuracy? Are they superhuman?

The answer is both simpler and more complex than you’d think: court reporters are trained on highly specialized machines that cut down on typing out full words in favor of sounds. If that all sounds Greek to you, read on for a closer look at the particulars of court reporting in Phoenix, AZ.

The training

Court reporters are trained at specialized schools. These typically cover stenography as well as courtroom procedure and terminology, technical dictation and voice recording technology. It takes about two years to complete the certification, but if the reporter wants to specialize in a certain area, it may take longer than that.

Generally, court reporters need to be able to transcribe at a rate of 200 words per minute, with a 90 percent accuracy rate. If you’ve ever taken a typing test online, you can imagine how difficult that must be—but court reporting in Phoenix, AZ is different from typing on a keyboard.

The machine(s)

A stenography machine does not have the standard QWERTY keyboard that laypeople are used to. Instead, it has just 22 keys, which represent different sounds in the language—and spelling is not an issue. The left side represents initial phonetic sounds at the beginning of words, while the right side has the sounds that come at the end of words. Finally, there is another row of keys that the thumbs rest upon. By using these phonetic sound combinations, the court reporter can transcribe what’s being said using far fewer keystrokes than they would have to on a QWERTY keyboard. (It also helps that they don’t need to worry about spelling or grammar—just phonetically recreating the sounds they hear.)

With advances in technology, some court reporters and court reporting services are aided by real-time audio and video transcription assistance. Using this kind of technology may require the court reporter to undergo additional training.

Many court reporters say that the biggest challenge of their jobs is learning to dismiss their lifetime of learning how words are spelled in order to parse out each phonetic sound. If that sounds hard, it is—and it’s why attorneys, judges, clerks and courtroom staff are so grateful for court reporters’ services.

Court reporting in Phoenix, AZ

Since 1972, Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC has been the premier source of professional, skilled court reporting in Phoenix, AZ. From court reporting and virtual depositions to video conferencing and videography, we provide clear and accurate transcripts by highly skilled court reporters. Our goal is to make your job easier by doing ours right. Call us today to discuss scheduling and rates or learn more about our company.

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