Definition of court reporter
court reporter (plural court reporters)
- A person whose occupation is to transcribe spoken or recorded speech into written form, typically using a stenotype or stenomask to produce official transcripts of court hearings, depositions and other official proceedings.
A court reporter, stenotype reporter, voice writing reporter, or transcriber is a person whose occupation is to transcribe spoken or recorded speech into written form, using machine shorthand or voice writing equipment to produce official transcripts of court hearings, depositions and other official proceedings. The only difference between voice writing court reporters and stenographic court reporters is the method of making the record. The voice writer repeats verbatim what attorneys, witnesses, and others are saying in a proceeding. The training on a stenograph machine requires the person to pass typing speed tests of up to 225 words a minute on their machine in the United States, as set forth by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) in the United States. Only a small percentage of court reporting students per year are actually able to do this. The drop-out rate of stenographic court reporters is very high, due to the difficulty. The training with voice writing equipment required the person to pass dictation speed tests of up to 250 words a minute in the United States, as set forth by the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA).
Digitally recorded proceedings provide the ability to verify the written record as verbatim after playing back the recording. Digital recording systems used in courts are not just like any recording. Multi-channel, digital audio allows for isolated playback of channels during transcription. The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) certifies reporters and transcribers. AAERT certified reporters monitor the recording continuously during a proceeding, and create an extensive set of log notes which are individually time-stamped. The time-stamps correspond with the location on the digital recording for instantaneous playback, either upon request during a proceeding or at a later time. The log notes provide any authorized person the opportunity to quickly search and identify any segment of the proceeding they wish to review. Some courts train clerks or other court personnel to operate the digital recording equipment. Courtroom monitors are responsible for listening to the recording through headphones while the proceeding occurs to ensure recording quality. The digital recording method is widely used in federal courts and administrative agencies throughout the United States. Digital court reporting utilizes sophisticated recording technology with multi-channel capabilities. It is not to be confused or compared with an individual using a standalone tape or digital recorder.
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