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Criminal Justice Articles

Where Do Court Reporters Work?

Court reporters generally work inside a courtroom setting or in a field associated with legal cases and the law. The court reporter records all aspects experienced inside the courtroom, from outbursts on both sides to simple conversations held between the lawyer and judge. They also record events that take place inside the courtroom, legal proceedings, and meetings. It's an important job since the transcripts are used in a variety of ways after the case is settled. It's the responsibility of the courtroom reporter to ensure that all transcripts are complete and accurate.

Court reporters work outside the courtroom on occasion, but still in the legal arena. Prior to a trial, or when there's not a trial scheduled, the reporter helps the lawyer with administrative and secretarial type jobs. They may file petitions; organize the cases and events in the upcoming trial along with setting up the courtroom. Once the trial begins and after it ends, they help the judge fill out the official record of the case and file the record away for future use.

A large number of court reporters are now trained in sign language. As the judicial branch cuts down on expenses, they need reporters capable of doing multiple jobs. Those with sign language experience are able to communicate with deaf people in the courtroom. They also work to provide closed-captioning. These individuals occasionally move outside the courtroom to provide services for the deaf in other locations.

The most common type of court reporting is stenographic and involves the reporter sitting inside the courtroom. They type in all the words spoken inside the room by using different keys and buttons on the machine. The machine connects to a computer or another type of electronic device, and translates the keys typed into the actual words. The reporter usually uses abbreviations or different keys to indicate a longer word or phrase, with the computer offering the real words.

Electronic reporting is also done inside and outside the courtroom. The reporter records all the dialogue and spoken word while on the site and checks the recording devices to ensure they're working accurately. At the end of the day, they transcribe the recordings into computer files and documents. This is typically done in a library or the judge's chambers, where they have silence and some privacy.

Court reporters also do something known as voice writing. With this process, they have a voice silencer on their face, which hides their voice from being overheard. They report directly into the microphone on this device, repeating all the words spoken by those in the courtroom, and they can even identify actions and gestures taken by those parties. Later, they transfer the data recorded onto a separate file, similar to electronic recording.

Court reporters also work in other areas that require immediate and actual recording of events. This includes meetings held by corporations, training seminars, and government meetings. Many reporters work for local and federal governments to accurately record their meetings and events. There are also some who use their closed-captioning skills by working for television stations to record the data as they receive it.

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