What Is a Court Reporter?

Are you wondering, “What is a court reporter and what do they do?” When you need an accurate transcript of your legal proceeding, you want to find a professional who can handle the job. Both court reporters and stenographers are equipped for this task. 

However, you may want to look at a digital court reporter for a more thorough way to keep track and get an accurate transcription of your deposition or other legal proceeding.

Let’s take a look at the subtle differences between these professionals.

What Is a Court Reporter? 

When you need an official written transcript of a legal proceeding, you want the services of a court reporter. These professionals document hearings, depositions, legislature meetings, and trials.

A court reporter provides an accurate record of the events – what was said by whom and the evidence entered. With that, judges, attorneys, plaintiffs, defendants, and the jury can reference these records as needed.

Not all trained court reporters work in the courtroom. Some may caption recorded videos for playback later, like from a deposition.

A court reporter has many responsibilities and duties, such as:

  • Attending proceedings, hearings, and depositions to document the events
  • Use specialized equipment to write up the transcript
  • Provide the courts and legal counsels with copies of the transcripts

Many court reporters have a college education. In a few states, a professional license may be required.

These professionals often take classes at a technical school or community college. However, a court reporter can skip any schooling and get a professional license.

In this situation, a person must pass a written exam to receive their certification from the state.

Various professional associates will certify their court reporters. 

In addition to the licensing, a great court reporter needs a particular set of soft skills.

A few of these skills include:

  • Writing skills: A court reporter must have above-average writing skills. Along with that, they must have extensive knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.
  • Listening skills: An individual must understand what is spoken in any environment to transcribe a proceeding.
  • Concentration: This profession requires an individual to maintain focus for extended periods.
  • Reading comprehension: A court reporter must understand written documents and legal terms.
  • Attention to detail: With transcription, accuracy is vital. If there is missing information, it can be detrimental to all parties involved in the proceeding.
  • Some court reporters can also serve as notaries

Now that you know what a court reporter is, let’s learn the difference between that job and a stenographer.

Related: Stenographic and Digital Court Reporters vs Digital Recordings – What’s the difference?

Is a Court Reporter the Same as a Stenographer?

A stenographer has the same job description as a digital court reporter. They must transcribe any spoken words into text. These professionals also work in business meetings, public events, and courtrooms. 

A stenographer uses a unique device, known as the stenotype machine, to quickly transcript the words during legal proceedings.

In fact, some people even refer to a stenographer as a court reporter. While the terms are interchangeable, there are several differences between these two professionals.

Yes, both must give a verbatim proceeding transcript and write them into a legal document.

Those documents become a legal record, so accuracy is vital for both roles. Once the transcript is finished, it is entered into the public record. In many cases, the transcribing occurs in real time. But there are times when the court reporter or stenographer transcribes from a recorded video.

Now that the questions “what is a court reporter?” and “what is a stenographer?” are answered, you must be thinking about the difference between the two.

The only difference is that an digital court reporter uses digital technology to capture all the proceedings’ audio. They will use all that information later to create an accurate written record of the processing.

Both the professionals have the same training and skill set to complete the job. But an digital court reporter uses digital technology to assist with the duties.

A digital court reporter will not use a stenotype machine to document the proceeding for the most part. They don’t even use shorthand to make notes.

Instead, they take highly detailed notes during a meeting. Plus, these professionals keep a log of the speakers and monitor the recorded audio quality. Those are the fundamental job duties of a digital court reporter.

The court reporter works with advanced equipment. They must have a professional knowledge of digital recording equipment. In addition to that, they must maintain and operate all of the digital equipment in the proceeding.

They are proficient in using technology. Like a stenographer, a digital court reporter has an expert level of grammar and language and in-depth knowledge of legal terminology.

A court reporter has the right skill set to manage these legal proceedings. They provide clients with an accurate transcript of the meeting.

Many legal professionals and other business owners want to hire an experienced digital court reporter. Anyone can push a button on the tape recorder, but only a trained professional can give you a verbatim transcript of the proceeding.

Why Choose One Over the Other?

Now that you know the difference, which one do you want to transcribe for your subsequent legal proceeding? If you do not have any particular requirements, either will work. 

However, consider hiring a court reporter if you want an audio or video recording of the hearing, arbitration, trial, or deposition. When a digital court reporter uses the right technology, you have an accurate transcription of your proceeding.

Related: Guide to Hiring a Remote Court Reporter or Stenographer

What Are the Benefits of Using a Digital Court Reporter?

When a digital court reporter uses electronic media to record your proceedings, you can enjoy plenty of benefits. For example, you will have a more accurate transcription of the proceeding. 

A digital recording of the meeting or deposition eliminates human error. Even the best court reporters may not hear all of the words spoken by the parties. With the digital recording, the court reporter captures all of those nuances of the proceeding. 

The equipment can even record on different audio channels, and a court reporter can make different annotations on the separate tracks. These annotations provide a far superior product than that from a stenographer. You have a legal transcript that is accurate but still maintains a human touch.

Digital recordings of legal proceedings help the reporter hear the tone and see the facial expression of the participants. You often don’t get that attention to detail when someone is typing a transcription at the proceeding.

Finally, you have a streamlined workflow from a digital court reporter. These recordings allow you to have a private transcription with convenient access from any computer. 

With that ease of accessibility, you can communicate with other interested parties about the legal proceedings.

In many cases, digital court reporters will hyperlink the video recording with the timestamp in the transcript. This can help when someone needs to learn about the issues or catch up on the prior status.

Attorneys and other professionals understand that a court reporter is valuable in legal proceedings. Using current technology, legal professionals can get both a digital recording and transcription of the proceeding.

Why You Need a Digital Court Reporter 

While you might think pushing a button is all you need, that is not court reporting. You could lose out on the accuracy and quality of your transcription. Digital court reporters are trained and understand how to provide you with a verbatim transcription of your legal proceeding.

Today, some online platforms offer court reporter services for depositions, meetings, and other legal needs. These platforms connect you with an individual who serves as a court reporter and notary.

With them on board, you have a trained individual who can handle exhibits, provide audio playback, read written transcriptions, notarize documents, and swear in witnesses for testimonies. These professionals are valuable to any legal proceedings. 

Many of the platforms utilize technology that can reduce litigation costs for clients and boost attorneys’ efficiency. 

Find the Right Solution for Your Legal Proceedings

Now that the question, “what is a court reporter?” has been answered, you can find the right person for the job. There is a new way to transcribe your meetings while still focusing on tradition. We provide a court reporter and a remote legal proceeding platform. You receive a certified transcript video, a rough draft, synched video, exhibits, all in an accessible platform. 

Remote Legal mirrors the in-person deposition experience that extends further than a typical video conferencing meeting. If you want to learn more about the digital court reporting offered by Remote Legal, schedule a demo today.

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