Court reporting as a career has been around for hundreds of years. And although the methods have changed over time, the basic job description of a court reporter has not, which is to make a written record of the spoken word. That’s a basic definition of what a court reporter does, but the actual job of making a written record is far from simple and requires much skill and practice. Many people think court reporters are just glorified typists. I assure you that is far from the truth. Active listening, effective writing skills, reading comprehension, time management, social perceptiveness, critical thinking, dependability, attention to detail, integrity, stress tolerance, adaptability/flexibility, initiative, social orientation, independence, and self-control are just a handful of the skills one needs to become a successful reporter. A reporter must be fully attentive to many voices, often being spoken at the same time, in order to capture complicated, oftentimes fast-moving, and tricky terms and vocabulary.
It has been said that computers will soon replace court reporters. With the advance of voice recognition software, that may seem true. However, no technology can replace the human ear and brain. With a language as complex as English, this especially holds true. Reporters must often make sense of double meanings, figurative language, different accents, guttural sounds used in typical conversation, and must do all of this while tuning out environmental challenges like background noise as one example.
Court reporters work long hours in order to meet deadlines and to produce their transcripts quickly and efficiently. Court reporters are often required to sit for long periods of time without breaks or lunch because they are at the mercy of the attorneys or judge in charge of the proceedings. That being said, court reporting is not a job for the faint of heart or the person looking for an easy career. After having said that, if a person wants a challenging and lucrative career, court reporting is a viable option, an option that will be around for years to come.