Curiosities Answered About Shorthand Court Reporters

If you ever have to go to court for any reason, you will spot someone off to a corner on their own, typing away on their own little typewriter of sorts. This person will likely not say anything during court and is usually someone who blends in with the whole environment. This individual is a shorthand reporter, and they have an extremely important role in the courtroom. The shorthand court reporter is recording everything that happens in the courtroom into a text document that will be kept on file once court has concluded. Here are a few general questions onlookers tend to have about these professionals and the answers you should know. 

How fast can a shorthand reporter type?

According to Wikipedia, a registered court reporter must be able to type an astounding 180, 200, and 225 WPM (words per minute). This is definitely a fast rate, and it can be almost awe-inspiring just to watch a shorthand reporter's fingers move while they record everything that's taking place in the courtroom. While these people must assuredly have some super fast typing skills, they must also be extremely accurate in their transcription just to become registered. 

What is the thing called a shorthand reporter uses?

The small little typewriter-like machine a shorthand reporter uses to transcribe during court is sometimes called a shorthand machine, but the formal name for this machine is a stenotype or a stenotype machine. These machines are not like your typical keyboard; they actually only have a limited number of keys and letters. However, the same words and phonetic sounds can be accomplished by hitting specific letters or letter groupings on the keyboard. Most shorthand reporters use abbreviations that are nationally recognized to transcribe what is taking place in court as quickly as possible. Therefore, if you were to look at a shorthand transcription, you yourself may have a hard time reading the report. 

Why are shorthand reporters so important in law?

There is a need for things to be formally documented during court so there can be no later disputes about what was said, sentencing, or court guidelines. Before more modern means of reporting were used, shorthand reporters were an absolute necessity. However, some court systems have gradually moved away from stenography and toward digital court reporting through either video or audio. Most court systems do still employ a shorthand reporter even if they are also using a digital recording device to document legal courtroom interactions. 

For more information, contact a service like L & L Reporting Service, Inc.