The court reporting profession stems from the
desire and necessity to preserve the happenings of yesterday and today for
tomorrow. Court reporters are a party to the administration of justice under the
law and the court served.
A court reporter is responsible for the
accurate, written word of judicial hearings as well as the keeper of the record
for depositions and other proceedings.
They are the person whose occupation is to transcribe spoken or recorded speech
into written form to produce official transcripts of court hearings,
depositions, and other official proceedings. The voice writer repeats
verbatim what attorneys, witnesses, and others are saying in a proceeding.
In the United States, the court reporter is often also a notary public who is
authorized to administer oaths to witnesses, and who certifies that his or her
transcript of the proceedings is a verbatim account of what was said.
Court reporters play a critical role in the judicial system by taking down a
verbatim record of courtroom testimony using steno or voice writing. In
voice writing, the court rep orter
speaks into a mask-like device which contains a microphone that feeds the
reporterís voice into specialized voice recognition and translation software on
the reporterís laptop computer. The mask silences the reporterís voice so as not
to disturb courtroom proceedings, while the reporterís software translates the
reporterís carefully spoken words into text. To achieve the high speeds and
accuracy required, voice writers learn to speak in a kind of shorthand which
their software then translates. This text can be read back from the computer
screen or printed as a transcript of the proceedings.
The method of court reporting known as
voice writing, formerly called "stenomask," was developed by Horace Webb in the
World War II era. Prior to inventing voice writing, Mr. Webb was a Gregg
shorthand writer. Gregg shorthand is a multi-level process in which the reporter
records the proceedings using shorthand, then dictates from his notes into a
tape recorder. The dictation process alone requires two hours for every one hour
of testimony. After the testimony is transferred to audio tape, a
transcriptionist types out an official documentation of the proceedings. Mr.
Webb wanted to create a reporting method that allowed court reporters to dictate
directly during proceedings, eliminating the shorthand process altogether.
Horace Webb and two colleagues spent several years designing the stenomask and
perfecting the voice writing method. The court reporter speaks directly into the
stenomask a handheld mask with a voice silencer. The silencer prevents the court
reporter from disturbing proceedings while repeating everything that occurs
during testimony Ė even unspoken answers (head shakes or nods), gestures and
reactions. Unfortunately, the voice writing method did not catch on until
the method was tested by the U.S. Navy and adopted by the military justice
school in Newport, Rhode Island. From then on, the stenomask method of court
reporting gained widespread acceptance.
Voice writers have long been available to make the record through the use of a
stenomask with a voice silencer and analog tapes. Voice writers not only repeat
every word stated by the attorneys, witnesses, judges and other parties to a
proceeding, but also verbally identify the speaker. They even punctuate the
text, describe activities as they take place, and in some cases, mark exhibits.
Now, however, new technologies are available to them. Digital recording offers a
clearer, better-defined sound track, making transcription easier and even more
Cutting-edge technology, in the form of speech recognition CAT systems, affords
the voice writer the opportunity to have the spoken words instantly turned into
text on a laptop computer or computer work station. As a result, the voice
writer is now able to produce realtime text feeds within the courtroom and
download them in ASCII format for distribution immediately following a
proceeding. The equipment used by realtime voice writers can also interface with
It takes six months to a year to get to an acceptable working speed of 250 words
per minute with a 97.5% accuracy rate.
The South Carolina School of Court
Reporting is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards. We are very
proud of the fact that when our students graduate they are welcomed into
the court reporting community because of the knowledge and skills obtained
by attending the school. Our training programs provide students with
practical knowledge and skills to be competent, professional court
reporters. We develop highly prepared, skilled court reporters
who are equipped with the expertise to enter the field of court reporting.
Founded in 2004 as a court reporting school, The
South Carolina School of Court Reporting has since evolved into a training
center specializing in the training of court reporters, transcriptionists, voice
recognitionists, computer familiarists, WordPerfect specialists, for the
expressed purpose of having these legal professionals secure career positions in
the related fields in which they desire.
The owner of The South Carolina School of Court
Reporting is a member of the South Carolina Court Reporting Association and The
National Court Reporting Association.
- Postal address
- P.O. Box 233
Mountain, SC 29075
- Electronic mail
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