Keeping the Record Straight

Are you looking for a career change?  Have you ever considered becoming a court reporter?  Candidates right out of high school with a strong vocabulary and a good ear for accents and dialects make the best students.  It is also helpful if you’re a piano player, good at thinking on your feet, a little nosey and self-motivated.

Reporters are amazing creatures!  They have the ability to sit in a deposition and capture the words being spoken around them.  Many of them describe what happens as an out-of-body experience wherein their mind drifts to something personal while their fingers fly across that strange little keyboard.

The most common question is whether or not voice recognition will ever replace the reporter.  The exact answer is unknown, but there are several important factors to consider before this can ever happen.

  • Court reporters are often asked to read back during a trial or deposition.  The attorney or judge may want to know exactly what was said or the last question asked and the witness’ response.  They may use the reporter’s read back to remember where they left off or to impeach the witness.  A reporter can provide that information in a moment’s notice whereas the audio would have to be rewound, found and replayed, which could take several minutes or possibly never happen until the transcript is created.
  • Court reporters are able to provide instantaneous rough drafts of transcripts.  They’re able to offer certified transcripts daily upon request.  Since they were the one present and responsible for protecting the record, they understood firsthand what was being said and ensure the record is accurate.
  • Oftentimes, attorneys will have off-the-record discussions.  Reporters are trained to leave those discussions out of the record and to turn off their equipment to avoid picking up inadvertent confidential conversations.
  • Court reporters pay attention to what is being said and automatically drown out background noise.  They know to ask for clarification when the witness is speaking too low, mumbling or is otherwise difficult to discern due to a heavy accent.
  • Many times personal names and pronouns are used in the proceedings.  Reporters know to ask the witness for clarification on any questions they may have before leaving the deposition.

Reporters are neutral.  Their job is to protect the record without interest in the outcome.  They are present to ask for clarification when needed, mark exhibits into evidence and report every word that was spoken on the record.  It is important that the person who is going to be producing the record is present to ensure all of these things are done each and every time.  Presently, a computer can’t do those things!

The number of job openings seriously out numbers the number of job seekers.  Orange Legal has the answers to all the other questions you may have about getting started in a court reporting career.  Please contact us today to learn more.

Written by: Christa Walton, CEO of Orange Legal

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