Court reporters sit silently in proceedings, mediation, and meetings listening to every word being said while simultaneously typing away at a pace reaching upwards of 225 wpm. They do this job effortlessly, however, court reporters weren’t born that way.
Just like any skill, it takes practice. Whether you may be a professional athlete trying to lift more during your workouts, or a musician looking to better yourself on a certain instrument, it all comes down to how much you practice. Court reporters are just like everyone else, they need to practice in order to improve their typing speed. School may teach them how to use the machine, but it is up to them to become better at what they do.
As with any job, the more you learn the better you will become. For court reporters, they could face a new term that they haven’t had to write down before or haven’t been taught to spell out using phonetics.
For example, in the following article a court reporter gives an example of a time where she did not know a word:
“I personally mark mine and try to question the witness before they leave the stand… I’ve called before if they left and we’ve switched witnesses. I’ve called the PD before and asked what a certain word was. It happened to be a drug dog’s name and how to spell it”
As they encounter new words, they build a dictionary on their machines.
Once the court reporter is done documenting the entire proceeding, the easiest part of their job is complete. Behind the scenes, court reporters head home and begin producing transcripts of the proceeding. This involves reviewing, editing, and researching their work, to have the most accurate record completed and ready for the client by the deadline they are given.
Many court reporters are working on the days most of us tend to try and enjoy ourselves (weeknights, weekends, and holidays), as it is a very demanding job, as what they document is needed by certain individuals (lawyers, judges, etc.) in a timely manner.
Not only is it demanding because of the type of professionals utilizing their services, but it also takes a toll on the court reporter mentally and physically. Mentally they must have 100 per cent of their attention on the actions within the court room, every little thing needs to be documented. They must not give in to their cravings for food, water, washroom breaks, and must not display any emotion that could potentially cause them to lose their focus. For example, if they see someone crying over an emotional moment in court, they must fight their emotions, continue typing, and pay attention to everything. Physically, being stuck in the same position for hours typing on a keyboard can take a toll. Sitting and typing can cause neck and back problems, along with the potential for arthritis.
If you are able to become good at your job as a court reporter, you will be capable of making a great living.
Court reporters are in high demand, enjoy a secure career with great opportunities for advancement and income growth, and take part in a dynamic, rewarding industry. If any of the above speaks to you and your ambition, we would encourage you to consider a career in court reporting, and perhaps a position with OTR.
At On The Record Court Reporting we have court reporters who are dedicated and extremely good at what they do. In addition to our court reporting service, we offer transcription services, as well as boardroom rentals at competitive rates. We offer a very friendly, safe, and quiet environment to conduct your business. Whether it is a meeting or mediation, we are here to help make it as stress free as possible. If you are in need of a boardroom or court reporter, please visit our website to book one today. We also have optional catering available upon request.
For more information regarding court reporting services, please browse our website.