Frequently Asked Questions About Court Reporters

Despite being an essential part of every legal team, many people still don’t fully understand exactly what court reporting is. Learn more in the top four frequently asked questions below.

How do steno-machine keyboards work?

Steno machines or stenographs are small laptop-like devices that court reporters use to take down what is said as it is being said in the deposition or courtroom. They have a keyboard vaguely reminiscent of a cross between a laptop and an old-fashioned typewriter. To maximize typing speed and important inflections, these machines are built to type in phonetic sounds instead of letters. In order to do this, court reporters must press multiple keys at once to ensure that the proper sound and pronunciation are noted for later use.



How many words can court reporters write per minute?

To be qualified as a legal, certified court reporter, you must have a typing speed of up to 200 words per minute with an overall accuracy rate of 97.5%.

How do you become a certified court reporter?

Before becoming a legally certified court reporter, you must receive a certification of completion from a state-recognized court reporting school. Only then will you be eligible for the state exam. After sitting for the state examination for court reporters and passing will you earn your Certified Shorthand Reporter License.  All court reporters must be licensed by the state that they work in, however, many court reporting companies and independent court reporters have gone out of their way to further their education and receive additional certification from the National Court Reporting Association (NCRA).


Will court reporters be replaced by recording devices?

The general prognosis is that court reporters won’t be replaced by technology anytime soon. Recording devices have been around since the late 1800s, but they have yet to overtake humans when it comes to recording what is said, how it is said, why that is significant, distinguishing between accents and formatting the proceedings in both a digital and text format. Also, because the recording devices used today need just as much manual operation as a stenograph does, adding a second recorder to the mix becomes a rather redundant thing to have.

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