How Do Court Reporters Transcribe?

February 6, 2020 11:04 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Watching a court reporter transcribe a courtroom proceeding is fascinating. How do they keep up with people talking so fast? Why does their keyboard look so strange? Are they really taking down everything that happens, even when multiple people are talking at once? Wouldn’t it be faster just to take digital recordings?

Court reporting services are a key part of legal proceedings in Phoenix, AZ. Here’s a brief overview of how these professionals do their jobs.

What are court reporters used for?

In the practice of law, having clear and accurate transcripts of proceedings is an important part of any case. From the start of the filings to the end of a trial, getting the facts on record is imperative. Attorneys not only use these transcripts to ascertain what happened and keep track of rulings, but to decide whether a witness is trustworthy and even make a case for an appeal.

This practice has existed for centuries and use to be accomplished by hand, using shorthand symbols. Today, court reporters use specialized equipment to keep up with the fast pace of courtroom proceedings.

How are court reporters trained?

To become a court reporter, you need to be specially trained at an accredited court reporting school. This degree usually takes two to three years to complete, and includes classes not only on keyboarding and transcription, but legal procedures, ethics, vocabulary, dictation and more. Students must be able to transcribe at a minimum of 225 words per minute to graduate—for comparison, the average person types on a regular keyboard at about 40 to 75 words per minute. That’s quite a difference!

Some court reporters go on to achieve additional certifications in specialized areas of court reporting, which make them more desirable for certain types of cases.

A court reporter must learn to use a stenography machine, which is comprised of 22 unmarked keys. Each key corresponds to a phonetic sound or letter, and pressing different combinations of keys makes it possible to type words, sounds and phrases much more quickly than on a standard keyboard. The reporter is able to then read the record back, either on steno paper or (more commonly nowadays) a digital readout.

While many people suggest that digital recordings could take the place of court reporters, the fact is that voice-to-text transcription simply cannot match the skill and accuracy of a court reporter at this point in time. Today, many court reporting firms use digital technology to enhance their reporting.

Court reporting services in Phoenix, AZ

Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC has provided top-notch court reporting services to Phoenix, AZ since 1972. Our goal is to provide you with clear, concise and accurate reports so you always have a clear record of your case. We employ only the best court reporters and hold them to the highest standards of accuracy. From detailed court reporting to video conferencing, we can help your firm with all your reporting needs. Call us today to schedule your court reporting services or learn more about what we can do for you.

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