A court reporter organizes transcripts of court hearings and creates official records of cases. The transcription must be accurate and word-for-word from depositions, trials, legal proceedings, and administrative hearings. If needed, they might provide translation for deaf and hard of hearing people through video closed-captioning. Most work for local or state governments, in courts, and may also be found in broadcast captioning.
How to Become a Court Reporter
Most states would require court reporters who would want to work in legal settings to be certified or licensed by a professional association. Lots of technical institutes or community colleges have postsecondary certificate programs available. Court reporting programs include courses in english grammar, phonetics, legal procedures and legal terminology.
Some schools offer training in different transcription machines like steno masks and steno type. Experience with the deaf or hard-of-hearing persons would be valuable, such as, in the expertise of communication access real-time translation and real-time captioning.
Job Description of a Court Reporter
Court reporters mainly gain employment with local or state governments in courts or legislatures. However, if the choice of a court reporter was to become a freelance reporter they would do pre-trail depositions or other work. A court reporter may work remotely from their home or office as in the case of communication access real-time translation (CART) or a broadcast captioner.
Due to a court reporter needing to remain focused for long periods of time, often with auditory distractions, concentration skills are needed. Other skills critical to their success on a job would be writing and listening, such as, vocabulary, grammar and even punctuation while being attentive to every word spoken. These transcriptions are used in court cases and so must be very accurate.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Court Reporters.
National Center for O*NET Development. 23-2091.00. O*NET OnLine.