COURT REPORTERS CAN DO MORE THAN TAKE DEPOSITIONS

Did you know that not every graduate of a court reporting school works in a legal setting as a court reporter?

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Photo by Pamela Powers

Contrary to its name, a degree in court reporting offers a broad selection of career choices.  Well-trained court reporters can be highly sought after.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for CSRs will grow by 18 percent between 2008 and 2018, reflecting the demand for real-time broadcast captioning and translating. This growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations in that time period.

As technology continues to expand, so will the varied career options, allowing those trained in the discipline of court reporting to take their skills out of the courtroom and in to other industries such as television, web broadcasting and the captioning of live, in-person events and presentations. steno-machine

An individual trained in the discipline of court reporting can expect an annual salary range between $30,000 to $100,000 plus, flexible work schedule, the ability to work remotely and/or become their own boss without a four-year college degree.

PATH TO COURT REPORTING:

You must receive two to four years of technical training and be a graduate of a state-approved court reporting school.  If you plan to work in California, you must have a Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) license administered through the Court Reporters Board of California.

You must also pass a qualifying examination which is comprised of a two-person live voice dictation for five minutes at 200-words-per-minute with an accuracy rate of 97.5% and a written exam in spelling (English), grammar, punctuation and terminology.

CAREER OPTIONS BEYOND THE COURT ROOM

Some court reporters, also known as certified shorthand reporters (CSRs), do function in the capacity of “official reporter” in a courtroom or during litigation-related sessions such as a deposition.  Every word that is spoken during a judicial proceeding is captured verbatim by the official reporter in the form of a transcript (they turn speech into text), and they serve a very important role as the keeper of the courtroom record.

Photo by Norma Miller

Photo by Norma Miller

But there are many more career opportunities for court reporters. Thanks to technology, millions of people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing are able to effectively communicate by utilizing the aids and services provided by court reporters.  This ever-expanding access to mass media is expected to increase and those with court reporting skills will continue to see career opportunities increase, beyond a legal setting.

Here are two of the most common in-demand services that court reporters can specialize in.

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Photo by Peter Foley

CART – Communication Access Real-time Translation:  By using a computer that translates as it goes in a process called Computer-Aided Transcription (CAT), the CART provider is able to send instantaneous transcripts directly to readers’ computer screens.  CART eliminates the need for the deaf or hard of hearing to solely rely on lip reading or sign language and allows these individuals to participate in classroom lectures, business presentations, conventions, theater performances and concerts.

BROADCAST CAPTIONERS:

Photo by Jennifer M. Bonfilio

Broadcast captioners, also called stenocaptioners, use court reporting skills to caption live televised programs and events, via a process called closed captioning, for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.  Software that displays speech to text in real-time on the screen is used.  Some broadcast captioners may translate dialogue in real time during broadcasts of televised news programs and sporting events; others may caption during the post-production of a program.  Many of these broadcast captioners are front and center at sporting and entertainment events such as the U.S. Open, World Series, Super Bowl and Academy Awards!

As you can see, the possibilities are plentiful.

Interested in exploring further?  The Court Reporters Board of California has career information and helpful resources available at www.courtreportersboard.ca.gov.

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