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Court Reporter Job Description

What Does a Court Reporter Do?

Court reporters accurately record the spoken testimony of those involved in courtroom proceedings, including lawyers, witnesses and judges.

Court reporters have different ways of accomplishing this. One method is to use a stenotype machine, a small, manually operated machine similar to a miniature typewriter. Rather than typing words, a stenotype machine types sound combinations and phrases, quickly reproducing verbal speech. The printout can be read aloud to confirm spoken testimony, or can be transcribed later into a typed report.

Another way court reporters record testimony is by using an electronic voice recorder. This is a mask-like device containing a microphone, which the court reporter speaks into. The mask muffles the reporter’s voice so as not to disturb courtroom proceedings, but the microphone translates the spoken words into a text printout that can be read later.

During court reporting training, students usually decide which method to specialize in, becoming experts in that method.

Many court reporters also work outside of the courtroom, as they are hired by attorneys, companies, associations and other organizations to accurately document pretrial testimony and depositions, as well as stockholder meetings and other business gatherings.

Court Reporters Outside the Courtroom

Besides recording courtroom testimony, court reporters are also hired to provide live captioning services for TV, serving the needs of the deaf and hard-of-hearing. This can include live broadcast captioning or language translation services. You can see detailed career descriptions for many of these careers on the court reporter careers page.

Click to see court reporter salary figures, or see where court reporters work.