The court reporting
profession stems from the
desire and necessity to preserve the happenings of yesterday and
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
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,
Now, however, new technologies are available to them. Digital
recording offers a clearer, better-defined sound track, making
transcription easier and even more accurate.
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 litigation-support software.
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
South Carolina School of Court Reporting has since evolved into
center specializing in the training of court reporters,
recognitionists, computer familiarists, WordPerfect specialists,
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 462
Clearwater, SC 29822
- Electronic mail
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