If you are wondering what the central purpose of a court reporter is, then you are wondering what this person does. Despite what you might think, a court reporter does not take notes of what happens inside the courtroom and reports it to the public. No, a court reporter’s job is more extensive than that.
The job requires transcribing and by transcribing, we mean a word-for-word record of the exchanges between lawyers, witnesses, and defendants. Being a transcriber means that a court reporter needs to type fast. How fast? We are talking about speeds of at least 225 per minute. The average person can only type 75 words per minute. The current world record holder for court typing is 375 words per minute.
Thankfully, though, court reporters do not use a QWERTY keyboard on a typewriter or computer. They use the good old stenograph to make records. Unlike the QWERTY keyboard, a stenograph only has 22 keys. Because of their extensive use of this machine, court reporters are also known as stenographers.
Do you want to become a court reporter? The first thing you need to do is to check what the requirements of your state are. There are many states that do not require any certification to be considered for the job, however, most states either require third-party certification, third-party certification plus state licensing (reciprocity), or state licensing.
You should do research on whether or not your state has no requirements or not, and if it does, do research on what the requirements are. The requirements for the job, though, are not as important as the qualifications. Because they are required to have a super fast typing speed, applicants train for the job for many years before they apply for the job.
Most court reporters are portrayed in the movies as women. However, the truth is that there is an equal number of female and male court stenographers. Is the job boring? Well, that depends on the case being heard. Some cases, because of the highly contestable facts surrounding them, are more exciting than others.
But it is not the stenographer’s job to get exciting. It is his or her job to record word-for-word all conversations that happen in court, whether they are spoken by a judge, lawyer, witness, defendant, or members of the jury while in session.