What Is a Court Reporter?

A court reporter, also known as a stenographer, is the person you see sitting in the courtroom near the judge’s bench writing fast enough to retain every word that is said in the courtroom during legal proceedings. A court reporters job is to provide the most accurate and verbatim record of what took place during legal proceedings in order to be accurately referenced and cited by attorneys and judges in the future and/or when needed.


However, a courtroom is not the only place you will see a stenographer. There are stenographers (court reporters) in a variety of professional industries. For example, stenographers are used to captioning live or recorded broadcasts and can be found at public events reporting for people who are hard of hearing and the deaf community. In these cases, a stenographer is more commonly known as a broadcast captioner, closed caption editor, caption writer or captioner. Another title you will find for this profession is communication access real-time translation provider (CART) or real-time captioner. A real-time captioner aids people who are hard of hearing or deaf by translating the spoken word into text. This is extremely helpful during appointments with doctors, meetings or in a classroom in an educational environment.


Education and Requirements

One may obtain a certificate and/or an associates or bachelor degree from a school such as Humphreys University. In most states, court reporters must be licensed, which requires the passing of an exam that often includes dictation/transcription and written components. Along with being certified and licensed, a court reporter, stenographer, broadcast captioner and CART reporter must possess certain traits and qualities. These include patience, curiosity, intelligence, the ability to concentrate for long periods of time, strong command of the English language, listening skills and the ability to be detail-oriented. Technology-related skills are desirable.


How Much Does A Court Reporter Make?

Court reporting can be quite lucrative, making a median salary in the range of $45,000-$75,000 a year, and $35.00-$50.00 an hour and above. Salary and hourly wages are dependent upon your geographic location, experience, work environment, and the nature of the dictation.


A Typical Day of A Court Reporter, Broadcast Captioner, CART Provider

Court Reporter

  • Taking down trials including preliminary examinations, testimony, rulings, motions and other proceedings that occur during a hearing or trial in
  • Reading back captured testimony during jury deliberations.
  • Translating, punctuating, editing, and proofreading steno notes to create the certified transcript of the proceeding.
  • Ensuring that court reporting/stenographic records are filed correctly so that they are easily accessible during the mandated period required by
  • Swearing in witnesses and taking down testimony elicited during depositions.
  • Creating the certified deposition after all editing is complete.
  • Responsible for the custody of exhibits introduced in depositions.

Broadcast Captioner

  • Translate the audio portion of a program in order to create timed text tracks that will be used by the deaf community or viewers who are hard of hearing (offline translation). The translations may be placed on professional or educational videos as well as DVDs or YouTube videos.
  • Take down live TV programing and provide English translations in real time which appear on TV screens in real time.
  • Captioners are responsible to also provide environmental noises and descriptions that would not be available to hard of hearing persons without these interpretations.
  • Provide services remotely, when desired or requested.

CART Provider

  • Use technology such as real-time software, steno machines and notebook computers to interpret in real-time and render instant speech to text on monitors (computer monitors).
  • Translate and caption any and all communications in a classroom for students who are hard of hearing, deaf, or have other communication
  • Provide services remotely, when desired or requested.


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