How Court Reporting Works

Specific equipment and equally specific skills are involved in Court reporting when using that equipment to transcribe the spoken word into a written record. The steno computer with its 22 keys is also mystifying to the casual observer. Are there not 26 letters in the script, after all? Not only is the technology used with court coverage unique, but court reporters are able to transcribe words at rates into text that embarrass the best typists. Not only that, modern court reporting equipment today allows transcriptions to be made real time. Reporting to court has evolved and remains as interesting as it is useful.Interested readers can find more information about them at Kaplan Leaman & Wolfe Court Reporters of West Palm Beach

All of that starts with the machine. Court reporters are using a machine called a steno machine as a way to transcribe words into a kind of shorthand. You will notice there are far fewer keys on the steno machine than a typical computer keyboard. Rather than typing words based on each word’s letters, court reporting ‘writes’ words based on the syllables of the words. The buttons on a steno machine are laid out with the keys on the left representing the initial sound of a syllable, the keys in the middle representing a syllable ‘s middle sound, and the keys on the right representing a syllable ‘s ending sound.

Since a syllable ‘s middle sound is typically a vowel sound and the beginning and ending sounds are typically consonants, the vowels and consonants are grouped and positioned accordingly in such a way that the left hand enters the starting consonant while the right hand enters the ending consonant. Since syllables can start with the letter “S” as well as end with the letter “S,” a steno machine has two “S” keys. The same holds true for the keys “T,” “P,” and “R.” Many letters of the alphabet are unrepresented, with only 22 keys and many letters represented twice. For other tones, the court reporter uses main variations including “P” and “H” for the “M” tone.

In fact, one of the reasons court reporting is much quicker than typing is by using keyboard combinations. Although a typist may type one letter at a time, several keys may be pressed at once by the stenograph. For licensed accredited writers, transcription standards will be at least 180 words per minute for literary categories; 200 words per minute for categories of jury charges; and 225 words per minute for categories of evidence-all with 95 percent accuracy. The speeds are not unheard of at 300 words per minute. Compare these speeds with those of the fastest typists and you will see that court reporting services are dramatically faster than typing.

However, to those not educated in the art of stenography, the production of a steno system is illegible. The printout, either by the court reporter or a third party, must be translated into text. That has been a tedious task in the past. Latest innovations have already brought the coverage of courts to a new stage. The steno machine is connected to a computer with real-time court reporting which translates the digital shorthand into legible words in real-time. This eliminates the tedious task of translating the steno tape, but it offers a number of advantages. Of starters, when the evidence is being transcribed in real time, it should be transmitted to the legal representative’s machines or posted electronically so attorneys should annotate the document automatically.

Court reporting is a valuable profession requiring the skills, accuracy and speed of stenography. Equipped with these skills and the tools of the trade, a court reporter can write accurately at lightning fast speeds what has been said.