A career as a court reporter can be so fulfilling. However, you need to undergo in-depth training to attain the right skills and graduate as a certified court reporter. Professional stenographers must possess fast typing skills and have a range of vocabulary at their fingertips.
With that said, here are a few helpful tips for becoming successful in this field.
Expand your vocabulary
Mastering the use of legal terms and medical phrases is the most important skill in court reporting. You can expand your vocabulary by reading more books, using a dictionary or thesaurus, playing word games, or downloading an app. You should also stay up to date with the latest news to pick up new terms.
Improve your typing skills and speed
Court reporting entails typing phonetic words quickly and accurately. Moreover, court reporters normally type using advanced stenography machines, which may be complex to use at first. For this reason, it is important to practice your typing skills and speed to get familiar with how to use a stenograph appropriately. Ideally, your typing speed should be about 225 words per minute.
Be a good listener
The accuracy of your reports and transcripts depends on your listening skills. You should be a good listener to be able to capture all the words accurately without disrupting court proceedings. You may request the respondent to clarify or repeat their statement but doing so more often may lead to unnecessary delays.
Always keep a notebook
There’s no shame if you don’t know how to pronounce or spell some words. After all, even the best court reporters usually have challenges spelling and typing out various words. What you do to improve your ability is what matters. You can start by keeping a notebook, where you will be jotting down words that you don’t know. You can then practice typing these words during your free time.
Mind your posture
As a court reporter, you will be spending most of your time typing and creating transcripts. Unfortunately, sitting behind a desk for long hours might have adverse effects on your back and neck.
You can avoid these problems by ensuring that you sit in the correct position. Your posture should be up straight with both of your feet flat. You should position the keyboard in such a manner that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Remember to stretch your muscles after work to relieve tension and avert cramps.
Use available resources
Many court reporting schools offer their students a variety of free resources to use in order to sharpen their skills and improve their competence. You should maximize these resources while they are still available since you might not find them easily after graduating. Remember to ask your tutors as many questions as possible and get advice from experienced reporters to help hone your skills.
Join a support group
Any profession is a journey, and you need all the support to make it as a certified court reporter. Your support system should include your teachers, schoolmates, family, friends, counselors, and working court reporters.