Court reporters, also known as stenographers, play an important role in the proceedings that go on inside a courtroom. Their primary responsibility is to create a verbatim written record of everything that is said during a trial or deposition.
Judges and juries often refer to the written document that is created by the court reporter to verify testimony that was given by a witness or to check the facts of the case. This can be extremely important in helping them render a fair verdict for the person who is on trial.
Trying to rely on memory alone rarely works. No matter how closely you listen, it is almost impossible to remember exactly what someone said. Being able to go back and check the written record can help clear up any confusion, ensuring that the judge or all of the members of the jury have access to an accurate record of exactly what a particular witness said.Court reporters
also work outside of the courtroom. For instance, they may work for a lawyer's office taking pre-trial witness statements, depositions, or other key information from clients.
In other cases, they may work outside of the legal field altogether. For instance, stenographers are often employed by television companies to transcribe broadcasts for people who are hearing-impaired. Likewise, they may provide live transcripts of important information such as emergency weather alerts, sporting events, or political speeches.
In essence, anytime an accurate, written record needs to be taken in real time, a stenographer
can help. Unlike a transcriptionist who goes back and listens to a recording, transcribing what they hear, court reporters or stenographers work in real time. Translating spoken word into text instantly is a skill that can take years to master.
Often, people wonder how court reporters can type so fast. As it turns out, they use a special machine known as a stenograph. This machine has unique keys on it that allow the stenographers to use a form of shorthand to quickly type whatever is being said.
Court reporters provide an essential function, both in the courtroom and in other settings. Their ability to quickly and accurately transcribe spoken words into written text can give judges and juries a document that they can refer to during deliberation. Likewise, it can also provide a way for people who are hearing-impaired to watch live broadcasts on television.