Transcriber vs. Court Reporter: What’s the Difference?

November 19, 2020 1:13 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Court reporters and transcriptionists are both responsible for transcribing spoken word to text. Court reporters, however, are specifically trained to transcribe live court proceedings, while transcriptionists often take dictation. Even the machinery is different—court reporters have their own special keyboards that enable them to type sounds and keep up with proceedings in real time.

Here are the major differences between transcription vs. court reporting in Phoenix, AZ:

  • How and where the transcription takes place: As noted above, while both transcribers and court reporters transcribe spoken word to written text, there are major differences in how they do their jobs. Transcribers often work from audio files, which can be paused at will. Court reporters, on the other hand, have to keep up with live proceedings. They might be able to ask a witness to repeat an answer or clarify a mumbled phrase, but for the most part, they have to be able to keep up with proceedings as they happen.
  • Training and experience: Court reporters are required to complete a licensing program with the National Court Reporters Association. This typically takes about two to four years to finish, and includes classes on transcription, equipment, courtroom procedure, common legal terms and more. Some states require their court reporters to pass a licensing exam. Transcribers, on the other hand, train for about one to two years. Since they’re not transcribing live proceedings, the requirements aren’t as stringent. Some transcribers make the professional leap from legal secretary to transcriber.
  • Employer: Court reporters and transcribers can either be self-employed or part of a court reporting firm. Court reporters almost always work in the courtroom, while transcribers can work from home or at a law firm. Court reporters might also be hired by the government or a specific court; they’re very common in corporations, too.
  • Job future: Job opportunities for court reporters are somewhat better than they are for transcribers. Court reporting has traditionally been an incredibly in-demand profession, making it a safe bet for anyone willing to undergo training. There is some speculation about whether developing technology will make court reporters obsolete, but in general, there doesn’t seem to be any substitute for a good court reporter. Legal transcriptionists, on the other hand, are slightly less in demand. However, both professions are an important part of the legal process and should continue to grow in the future.

When you’re deciding whether to hire court reporting services or a legal transcriptionist in Phoenix, AZ, your choice should primarily depend on what you need them to do. If you need someone to transcribe live proceedings, a court reporter is your best option. If you simply need someone to transcribe dictated audio or pre-recorded meetings, a legal transcriber may be the better choice.

Whatever kind of court reporting or video conferencing assistance you need, Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC can help. We pride ourselves on our skilled, accurate court reporting services. Call us today to learn more about our services—we’d love to discuss how we can meet your needs.

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