A court reporter is a court personnel who documents live testimony during court proceedings, such as hearings, trials, sworn statements, and depositions. The live testimony is transcribed verbatim. The reporter then prepares a written transcript from the court proceedings, which are available for the judge and the attorneys to view. Attorneys can use deposition transcripts in preparation for trial. If their client wishes to appeal, attorneys are able to use these transcripts as a record of what happened in trial.
Court reporters use tools such as stenography and voice writing to transcribe court proceeding testimony. A stenotype machine allows court reporters to type in syllables, rather than letters, which allows them to type words much faster than a normal keyboard. While, voice writing involves the court reporter repeating testimony into a voice recorder, and later printing a written transcript.
In contrast, there are court recorders who use audio equipment to record court proceedings. Afterwards, the court recorder sends the audio to a transcriptionist so they can listen in on the tapes and produce a final transcript. This can lead to issues if the audio doesn’t capture words due to background noise such as a door shutting or coughing.
[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]