Court machine stenographers record or transcribe everything that is said in a courtroom. They are point-of-view witnesses and provide an accurate account of what was said in court.

According to the National Court Reporters Association, court reporters capture and transcribe "every word uttered in the courtroom. Court reporters also capture the judge's rulings, judicial questions, the attorneys' arguments, evidence offered, and all sidebar conversations."

Court stenographers, or court reporters, are individuals responsible for taking down a deep, comprehensive, and verbatim record of a legal proceeding. Stenographers are often assigned to one or more courtrooms throughout their day and are responsible for diligently noting not just the words being said but also the tone and demeanor of the speakers.

Training and Certification

It only takes a few months of training to become a court reporter, but this varies depending on the type of reporting chosen and the region. For example, some states require court reporters to be notaries public, while others require the Certified Court Reporter (CCR) designation, for which a reporter must pass a state certification exam.

There are three levels of certification available for those who practice court reporting: Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), and Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR). A nationally recognized organization grants all certifications. The Registered Professional Reporter is the initial level of certification, followed by the RMR. The RPR designation demonstrates competence and is vital for anyone who wants to work in court reporting. The RDR-the highest rating in the court reporter profession-is achieved through five years of consecutive experience as an RMR, or five years of experience as an RMR and holding a bachelor's degree in court reporting.

There are a few online schools where you can acquire your certification. Some of them even have certifications in voice writers or electronic court reporters.

Legal Obligations

Court reporters are responsible for reporting verbatim "what is said and done in a legal proceeding or deposition as accurately as possible." As with most living creatures, not all court reporters are perfect, but if they're aware of defects, they must correct them.