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Essential Court Reporter Skills

Whether you are considering a career as a court reporter or looking for a reliable reporter to provide court reporting services, understanding the skills of the trade is important. Reporters not only need to have outstanding stenography and communication skills, they do need to be specialists in precision, detail-oriented, and grammar and punctuation. Furthermore, court reporters must understand legal terminology, follow the courtroom and legal protocol, and always act professionally. I strongly suggest you to visit Kaplan Leaman & Wolfe Court Reporters of West Palm Beach to learn more about this.

Stenography Competencies

Court reporters transcribe the spoken word into text using a steno tool. These computers have a keyboard with 22 keys, which is used to enter syllables and sounds. The keyboard keys of the steno machine reflect syllables and sounds, unlike the computer keyboard where each letter key represents an alphabet letter. These keys are used in conjunction with each other with key combinations that produce a written sign reflecting the pronounced tone. A stenographer, once trained in stenography and with a lot of practice, is able to transcribe text at rates far faster than even the fastest typists.

The tape must be converted from the shorthand of the steno system into readable text following the development of a steno tape of the proceedings. The reporter either reads the tape for later transcription through a dictation system, or translates the tape and types it. Fortunately, new innovations are increasingly removing this boring activity, such as real time reporting.

Skills in Real Time

Technology has advanced to the point where court reporting in “real time” is a reality. The reporter’s steno system is connected to a monitor and real-time monitoring software for real-time court coverage. Other legal participants can connect to the real-time feed, and view the transcribed text as soon as the real-time reporter transcribes it. A reporter in real time must be an experienced stenographer, who is also comfortable with technology. The transcription not only has to be properly set up among all participants, but the real-time reporter may also need to package the transcripts for distribution.

Communication competences

Whether a reporter specializes in traditional stenography or reporting in real time, outstanding communication skills are a must. A court reporter must be an attentive listener, in order to transcribe the spoken word into text. In addition to hearing the words being spoken, the court reporter often needs to learn how to correctly punctuate the resulting sentences, so that the sentences accurately represent the intent of the speaker. A misplaced comma, for example, may alter the context of a sentence. It’s the responsibility of the court reporter to ensure the context is transparent and accurate.

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