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Career Story: Court Transcriptionist

Court Transcriptionist

Job Title: Court Transcriptionist

Type of Company: Providing transcripts to law firms and courts

Education: AA, Quincy College (Quincy, MA) •• UMass-Boston

Previous Experience: I worked for various law firms over the years and then stayed home with my kids. I took a course to be a court reporter and then started typing for various court reporters.

Job Tasks: Six years ago I took a course to become a court reporter. A court reporter is a person who goes into various court rooms and law offices and records everything that is being said by every single person in the room. You have to capture every single word said by every single person in the room. I use a mask over my mouth and I repeat every word that is said at a very fast pace. I have to whisper but speak quickly into my mask. My computer is also equipped with voice recognition software. This software will type up the words I say and store them on the hard drive. You have to train your computer to have great voice recognition which takes many, many hours. There are many microphones placed throughout the room to capture what is said by every person in the room. This creates various tracks in my court reporting software. Sometimes one track hears a person speaking better than another, especially if the people are in different places in the room. It is very, very important that you capture everything that everyone is saying. This is one of the important parts of the job.

Once the proceeding is done for the day, I then go home and create a transcript. A transcript is the document that is produced from typing up everything that was said. A transcript has to be perfect. You have to punctuate correctly, format correctly and get the spellings of words and names right. Lawyers require transcripts for every one of their cases. These transcripts are used constantly and referred to over and over in various phases of the legal process, and especially if a case goes to trial.

I cannot go into the court room at present, so I type transcripts for many court reporters from my home. They provide me with a disc with the "job" and I listen to it and type up its contents and send them the transcript.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is that it allows me to stay home with my kids while still earning money. I am also able to listen to many, many interesting cases: anything from tax fraud to rape to murder. There are even cases about property disputes or slip-and-fall accidents.

The bad part of the job is the late hours I have to stay up to type. In order to stay home with my kids I am forced to stay up late and type into the wee hours. But it's worth it.

Job Tips: My advice to anyone who wants to pursue a job as a court reporter or court transcriptionist is to practice, practice, practice on speaking into the mask and capturing every single word that is being said. There are many legal terms that come up that you have to be prepared to say and spell as quickly as possible. So study, study, study. It's the best move I ever made and it's a great job and very rewarding.

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