In the state of West Virginia, and in most other states throughout the United States, court reporters work, quite surprisingly to many people, in a wide range of different capacities and positions. Most people think that all court reporters do the same type of work and that they all work in the court system, but this is actually not the case at all.
With so much choice, though, it is important for you, as a prospective court reporter, to have a clear idea of what you want to do in the field and what the requirements for such a position are, long before you start planning out your career or even your education.
The type of court reporter that most people think of when they think of court reporters are stenographic court reporters. This line of work used to be the most common in the field, but it is gradually losing out in popularity to other, more modern and technologically reliant methods.
However, there are still a lot of people who decide that stenographic court reporting is the best fit for them, and there are still many schools in the state that teach the ins and outs of stenographic court reporting.
Stenographic court reporters focus most of their in class time on learning about and, more importantly, about how to work the stenographic, a machine used in stenographic court reporting. This machine looks very similar to a typewriter and has a keyboard but this keyboard isn’t anything like the ones we are accustomed to today.
Instead of containing just letters in the QWERTY arrangement, it contains symbols, phrases, and common prefixes and word endings to make transcribing courtroom happenings as quick and efficient as possible. Obviously, it takes some time and skill to learn how to work one of these machines correctly and quickly!
There are also electronic court reporters, who many people feel have one of the easiest jobs at all. These professionals do not actually have to write or type anything while listening in on a courtroom session. Instead, they merely use special audio equipment to discreetly record everything that is being said.
However, they also tend to take handwritten or typed notes as well, to help them remember action that went on in the courtroom and to avoid confusion or incorrect transcripts. It usually falls to these reporters to go home or to the office at the end of the night, to listen to the recording for accuracy, and to create an actual transcript from the recording.
Voice court reporters work in a similar way to electronic court reporters. Instead of using an audio recording device, however, they use something that is known as a voice silencer. This is essentially a microphone that has a hood over it and that goes over the wearer’s head!
They do not have to write down or record anything that goes on in the court room, except for their own voice! Speaking quietly but clearly into the voice silencer (this takes proper training in order to be able to do correctly), they repeat everything that is said and done in the courtroom. As is the case with electronic court reporters, they must go home at the end of the day and turn their audio recordings into reliable, typed transcripts.
Also like electronic court reporters, they sometimes take notes to ensure the accuracy of their recordings and thus their transcripts.
Obviously, there are many different and exciting jobs that you can choose to go into as a court reporter; these represent just a few of your many options. Just be sure to find the one that is right for you, to learn about what its various requirements are, and then to go out and take the steps necessary to meet those requirements.
If you can do this, then you can have virtually any career that you want in the field. Keep in mind too that if you ever grow bored, it is always easy to pick up a new certification or take a training course and to change your career around. Once you get your foot in the door of the court reporting field, other doors will just keep opening up.