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The Huseby Journal

8 Facts on the Evolution of Court Reporting

Court reporting, or Stenography, has gone through quite the evolution since it first came into existence. 

1.     The profession actually dates back to the 4th century, which is the first time that shorthand was discovered as carving in a stone slab. There were also court reporters documented working in court rooms in Julius Caesar’s day. Early ancient scribes used paper notebooks and shorthand or speed writing techniques to get everything down.

2.     Court reporters wrote by hand until the stenotype machine was invented by Miles Bartholomew in 1877.

3.     Some reporters continued to write by hand even with the invention of the stenotype, but the last handwritten transcript was recorded in the early 1970’s.

4.     The first stenograph machines punched holes into paper, until the ink to paper trays were introduced.

5.     The stenograph machine was a court reporter’s most used recording method until the 1980’s when computers became available to do the job. 

6.     Another method to court reporting is the “masked method.” This is where a court reporter records the deposition and transcribes the recording later. 

7.     The next innovation was real-time court reporting, which came into existence a few years after the computer. This uses a program that translates the shorthand transcript into English immediately, while still in the court room, so that the attorneys can view it and use it to their advantage.

8.     In the present day, court reporters can work from almost anywhere with remote video access and the internet. Some have thought that technology would replace the court reporter, contrarily, it is only improving the job and making it more convenient. It is proven that the human touch just can’t be replaced when it comes to court reporting. 

Some may still wonder if court reporting is a dying profession, but the truth is that while the field may change with technology over time, the need will always remain for trained court reporters. Technology will continue to improve court reporting, rather than replace it.