Becoming a professional court reporter is not complicated, it’s straight forward. Once you have excellent grammar, typing, and listening skills, you or anyone can train for a long-term professional career as an official court reporter or a freelance court reporter without having a four-year college degree. Nationwide, there is a shortage of trained court reporters.
The need for court reporters is on high demand because their services help to eliminate long writing by judges [which causes delays] and speed up court proceedings.
Sometimes questions are raised about the differences between the methods of court reporting, so let’s take a closer look.
A stenographer is a court reporter that is tasked with taking down proceedings using a stenotype, or shorthand machine with a special keyboard of 22 letters instead of the usual 26.
Training to be a stenographer consists of learning the shorthand language and being able to translate it while at the same time using the shorthand machine to type the shorthand language at speeds of up to and above 225 words per minute.
This requires proficiency in English grammar, punctuation, and speed building. Training to be a stenographer typically takes averagely 33 months, after which you will be tested to receive certification to work as a stenographer court reporter.
The training is highly intensive, with a dropout rate of over 90% of students worldwide. You have to be ready to go all the way.
This is another method of capturing speech and converting to writing. Voice writing was originally used by the military by speaking into a steno-mask with high-powered microphones. Voice writers repeat courtroom proceedings verbatim using Dragon and a Computer Aided Transcription system such as Eclipse Vox to produce real time text instantaneously as they’re dictating.
The steno-mask is designed to filter all other sounds in order to capture only the voice writer’s speech but to also make the voice writer virtually unheard by the rest of the court as the proceedings commence at speeds up to 225 words per minute.
Voice writers utilizing this real-time technology are also in high demand.
Stenographers and Voice writers are both responsible for verbatim, or word-for-word transcription of court and deposition proceedings. The only difference in the two types of court reporters is the actual method used. Both types of reporters produce the exact same end product, the text or written transcript of proceedings.
Both voice writers and stenographers can interrupt to ask for clarification, read-back testimony at the request of the lawyer or judge, and differentiate between two or more speakers at a time.
All court reporters require the same basic academic background regardless of method. This includes legal and medical language, business law, and English. The skills path is where the methods diverge.
In under 12 months or much lesser, a paralegal or legal secretary can become certified because they’ve already taken nearly the same set of core academics required by court reporting. With stenography, however, to complete the basic training, it takes an average of 33 months.
The Legalpedia Centre for Technology Training will provide all the training you need to become a real time stenographer and court reporter, including transcript production training. We even provide stenographer retraining for existing stenographers who want to sharpen their skills.
The employment opportunities for stenographers are great because of the nationwide shortage of trained court reporters, and real-time reporters will always be in the highest demand.
For more information, contact the Legalpedia Centre for Technology Training at (+234)86758325 or send us a mail: [email protected]