Advancing professionalism and education for those who capture the spoken word. Michigan Association of Professional Court ReportersWe Are Technology

What is a Court Reporter and How Do I Become One?
One who transliterates, verbatim, the spoken word to stenography.
Transliterate: To represent (letters or words) in the corresponding characters of another alphabet.
Example: In steno, the word “no” is written TPHO. TPH, when the keys are stroked at the same time on the Stenograph machine, is the letter “n”. Press the ‘O” key at the same time, and you have the word “no.”

To become a court reporter, you should possess the following skills and interests. You should love to read; have a firm grasp of vocabulary, punctuation and grammar. You must be highly motivated and able to study and practice on your own. You will need to have good retention skills, dexterity in your fingers, and be able to sit for very long periods of time. You will also need computer skills.

If you cannot write at least 225 words per minute on the machine, you will find yourself struggling. 

It will take approximately two years to get through court reporting school and achieve 225 words per minute at 95% accuracy. Some people get through much quicker and some take much longer. It is like learning to play the piano or learning a foreign language. You will progress at the rate according to how much time you practice.


After graduating court-reporting school, the types of jobs that are available as a court reporter are the following:

Official Reporter
The official reporter works for the federal government, county government, city or municipality. They earn a salary and work in the courtroom with judges. The official court reporters are then paid on an independent contract basis for the transcripts they produce. Some states compensate differently. However, this is the method used by most courts in Michigan.

Independent Freelance Reporter
The independent freelance reporter works on their own taking depositions and hearings privately for attorneys. The independent freelance reporter is paid by the hour and by the page for the original and for copies of transcripts. Many independent freelance reporters work on an independent contractor status. They may also choose to be incorporated, a partnership, or any other status they choose.

Agency Freelance Reporter
The agency freelance reporter works for a court reporting agency/firm. This reporter is usually assigned depositions by their office. They may work out of an office of the agency, or they may work out of their home. There are many firms in Michigan, and they are all set up a little differently as far as payment to the freelance reporter. Some firms hire freelance reporters as employees. These employees work exclusively for one firm. They may be paid immediately for all billings or they may be paid when the firm is paid. Employee reporters are often provided with benefits, hardware and software. Some firms use exclusively independent contractors. In that case you are considered self-employed and pay your taxes as self-employed.

Agency Owner/Reporter
Some court reporters own their own agency and they are also court reporters. Non-court reporters own some agencies.


What is a Captioning Reporter and How Do I Become One?
One who transliterates the spoken word and immediately translates it from voice to text. A captioner provides a realtime translation of programming on the television or the Web.
Transliterate: To represent (letters or words) in the corresponding characters of another alphabet.

To become a captioner, you should possess the following skills and interests. You should love to read; have a firm grasp of vocabulary, punctuation and grammar. You must be highly motivated and able to study and practice on your own. You will need to have good retention skills and dexterity in your fingers. You should be well aware of current events, sports, weather terminology, and be willing to learn new words all of the time. You may be captioning a garden show, a golf game, a cooking show, the news, or Dr. Phil. They each have a unique vocabulary. You will also need computer skills.

At the present time there are no certification or educational requirements to be a captioner. However, if you cannot write at least 225 words per minute on the machine and have it translate at a high rate of accuracy in realtime, you will find yourself struggling. The National Court Reporters Association currently has a certification test for a certified broadcast captioner. However, it is not a requirement at the present time.


It will take approximately two years to get through reporting school and achieve 225 words per minute at 95% accuracy. You will also need to accomplish immediate voice-to-text translation. There are schools at the present time that offer captioning curricula for those who want to exclusively caption. Captioning does not require 100% verbatim translation. In fact, you sometimes need to substitute words for words that are being said. So you must be able to think very quickly to know which word to substitute and yet continue listening to what is being said. Like court reporting, some people get through school much quicker and some take much longer. It is like learning to play the piano or learning a foreign language. You will progress at the rate according to how much time you practice.

What is a CART Reporter and How Do I Become One?
CART is an acronym for Communication Access Real Time. It is very much like captioning, only it is not broadcast over the airwaves. A CART reporter transliterates the spoken word and immediately translates it from voice to text.
Transliterate: To represent (letters or words) in the corresponding characters of another alphabet.

CART is used so that the deaf or hard-of-hearing can watch on a computer screen what is being said immediately as it is said. It is instant voice-to-text translation. It can also be used for those with cognitive disorders or other impairments, as it also provides an immediate transcript for the user.

To become a CART reporter, you should possess the following skills and interests. You should love to read; have a firm grasp of vocabulary, punctuation and grammar. You must be highly motivated and able to study and practice on your own. You will need to have good retention skills and dexterity in your fingers. You may find yourselves in college with a hard-of-hearing student in a physics class, in high school, grammar school, or at a doctor’s office. You may provide CART at seminars for conferences where the display is shown on a large screen to the audience. You will need to have sharp computer skills and be able to troubleshoot problems on your own.

 
 

Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters
P.O. Box 366, Pinckney, MI 48169     Phone: 734.498.2627   Fax: 734.498.8415        mapcroffice@gmail.com

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