Court Reporting – What’s it Really all About?

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Why is court reporting such an underrated profession? I think one of the main reasons is that the general public is both uninformed and misled. Here are just a few mistaken beliefs of the court reporting world.

Court reporters only work in courtrooms.

This is one of the most common misconceptions about court reporting. Although some court reporters do work in courtrooms on a daily basis, a greater number work in different settings every day, including hearings, depositions, trials, arbitrations, and other legal proceedings. Court reporters also provide realtime captioning for live television programs and communication access for the deaf and hard-of-hearing in classrooms and other public settings. So, we’ve got courtrooms, conference rooms, law firms, classrooms, auditoriums and stadiums, homes, or behind the scenes at a live event. Wherever there is a need to convert speech to text, there is a court reporter!

Technology will soon replace court reporting.

Many have long assumed that court reporting is a short-lived career. Not the case! In fact, the NCRA just completed its annual Court Reporting and Captioning Week to raise awareness of the court reporting field and its growing number of opportunities. Let’s get real — you don’t speak to Siri or Cortana the same way you would speak to another human being. Likewise, witnesses do not speak in a perfectly enunciated monotonal manner. There are just too many variables to be considered when trusting a machine to accurately translate speech. For example, a court reporter can understand accents and disregard irrelevant noises during a trial. This is critically important because accuracy is essential in this field — which brings me to the next misconception.

There’s only one requirement to become a court reporter — type fast!

Court reporting requires several skill sets, both instinctive and learned. In many states, court reporters must pass a certification exam and participate in continuing education. . The  entry-level certification of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) is the  Registered Professional Reporter, which requires 95% accuracy at 225 words per minute. Court reporters must have a strong grasp of the English language, grammar, punctuation and spelling.  They must also be organized, impartial, responsible, and reliable. Clearly, this profession entails more than just typing fast!

Court reporting is repetitive and boring.

As a court reporter, you interact with many types of people on a daily basis, including lawyers, paralegals, and expert witnesses.  It is a constant learning experience. As an independent contractor, court reporters work wherever and whenever they choose. Some travel the world!

If you’re interested in a career in court reporting, visit NCRA’s Take Note information page.

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