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The Huseby Journal

Court Reporting: More Than Just Typing Fast

A common misconception about court reporters is that they just type really fast on normal keyboards. This is false, court reporting is done on a stenotype (or stenograph) machine which has special shorthand keys that a court reporter must learn how to use in court reporting school – Many compare it to learning a whole new language.

You may be wondering, “How does a stenotype machine work?” A steno machine has 22 modified keys rather than a standard keyboard. Modern steno machines include two rows of consonant keys on each side, placed under a “number bar” and in the middle are four keys for the vowels A, O, E, and U. Court reporters are able to type entire words by striking multiple keys at the same time. (https://bit.ly/2TrbD6I)

Steno language is phonetic, meaning that the words are typed out how they sound rather than how they would be spelled.

The transcript used to be typed up on a narrow roll of paper, but technology advancements have led to computerized machines that provide translations at the same time. The old steno machines didn’t even have a spacebar – notes had to be read with no spaces at all. Talk about a challenge!

You may be surprised to learn that court reporters don’t only work in court rooms. Court reporters can be found working on closed captions for TV, in sports stadiums, or even creating a transcript at a Presidential speech.

Hopefully from this blog post, you have learned a little bit more about the interesting profession of court reporting. Check out some of our other blog posts to learn more!