Many Americans are overloaded with student debt. They often are questioning the value of having a college degree. Consider the alternative that’s described in this post, and study for a top-paying profession that’s crying out for employees and comes with relatively little costs.
If you don’t have a high school diploma but you are willing to learn and get the GED diploma, and then learn shorthand code and get familiar with court reporting job, you could have a really good future.
Getting a GED might seem challenging but it’s not that complicated. There are many (free) resources. Read more about practice tests for the GED by Covcell here, they have the largest collection of GED practice tests and video lessons. Just bookmark their page and you can be prepared for the GED within 4 weeks.
Okay, let’s talk about being a Court Reporter. There are ‘stenographic court reporters’ and ‘voice-writing court reporters’ and these specialists are highly skilled people that often usually work in courtrooms and are the persons who produce court reports. They may also be employed at deposition suites that are found across America or at some places.
Court reporters (especially steno writers) need some four years of education and a lot of training-on-the-job. They require certification and there are three bodies in the US that are responsible for that, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA), and the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). There are states that use their own certification system, but by and large, certification is granted by these three bodies.
Court reporters (also named certified shorthand reporters) need to record every word that is spoken at an official court proceeding. The court proceeding could be a hearing or a trial. Instead of using a pencil to put it all to paper or making use of a regular word processor (with a full keyboard), court reporters use a stenographic machine (the ‘stenograph’) that includes only 22 keys.
By using these 22 keys, court reporters are able to produce symbols on a very tiny and narrow paper strip in the machine and record all the things that are said in court. The stenograph is hooked up to a computer to convert the records into English that we can understand.
Court reporters are also required, if instructed by the judge to do so, to read out loud portions of what they have transcribed on their stenograph. Court reporters are also required to prepare official written transcripts of the court proceedings.
Gregg Shorthand is named after John Robert Gregg who invented the system. It actually consists of a pen stenography system that became pretty popular in America at the beginning of the 20th century. However, the invention of mechanical stenography systems cause, the Gregg Shorthand system to loose its popularity.
Up to some 25 years ago, you could find shorthand classes at practically all high schools across the nation, but today, most high school students today have never heard of the Gregg Shorthand writing system.
The well-known publishing firm McGraw-Hill (they bought the Gregg Publishing Company) states that the current popular version is named the Centennial Version. This latest edition works well for business dictation, and it has considerably more short forms than earlier versions, the Series 90 and the Diamond Jubilee Series.
Generally, shorthand systems are using phonetic representations of words, not the way we are used to spell them. English spelling is represented by 26 letters, and 50 speech sounds. Take a look at the hurdles you need to overcome and the problems you may come across if you want to learn shorthand writing that is symbol-based.
First of all, all shorthand writing systems that are based on assigning a unique symbol to a specific word, require a lot of your precious time. You must memorize several thousands of these outlines or symbols.
Secondly, due to the large number of outlines or symbols, you must constantly practice to remember all symbols, and do this on a daily basis. You probably won’t have used all symbols but you must be able to memorize them in case you need them in future situations.
Another possible issue is that, depending on the thickness and form of a symbol, it may translate to a different meaning, causing problems to the accuracy of a transcription, and a last problem is that it is not possible to use symbol-based shorthand writing systems with a computer.
Stenography is a shorthand typing form that’s done on special machines that allow for the simultaneous production of a verbatim transcript that can be used, for example, in courts. Stenographers are working alongside speakers when they, for instance, produce live subtitles for television purposes.
What Do Stenographers Do?
Well-trained QWERTY typists usually are typing at a rate of 80 words a minute, and to give you an idea how fast that is: Fiona Bruce, a famous British television newsreader, is talking at approximately 180 words per minute, and Jon Stewart (no explanation needed, I guess) even more. Well, stenographers are writing at a rate of at least 200 words a minute on a tiny machine, and they are able to come up with an exact transcript in that same time. Now that’s a lot, and fast!
For good shorthand writing, the understanding the concepts of ‘Reading Comprehension’ is crucial. Check out these elements of the subject field, and in case you want to work for a Court, you must be able to read in a perfect manner.
The following is definitely not a complete overview of things related to Reading Comprehension’ but it will help you get on the right track.
Reading Comprehension as Strategic
In order to comprehend, the good reader must be strategic. Comprehension demands strategic processes. Good readers have control of the reading process and the way they control the process of understanding is by using reading strategies. In order to comprehend, the good reader has to have a repertoire of learning strategies.
The good reader needs to know what strategies he/she has available to use, why a reader would use a particular strategy, how she/he would use a strategy, and when and where she/he might use a strategy. Continue reading
If you want to get involved in working for the Courts, check out the available options. This is not a complete listing of all possibilities but we just want to give you an idea of your options:
A case administrator is for attorneys and the public the ‘face’ of a court. Case administrators are processing and maintaining case information, they are managing the progression of criminal and civil cases from their opening to their final disposition, they are required to review various court documents to see if they are conform local and/or federal rules, and will be preparing cases for closing, so they need to make sure that every required court order is entered, and that proceedings and procedures are completed correctly and timely.
The tasks of a case administrator are defined in detail, but you will need time to master this profession through on-the-job training as well. You must have well-rounded customer service capabilities, be familiar with word processing and computer systems, and be prepared to work overtime hours if needed.
Have you ever wondered what that thing is that court reporters are always using?
Well, that thing is called a stenographic machine, or ‘stenograph’. This type of machines is also used to produce captions for TV broadcasts, live streaming transcripts at meetings and at schools, and for office stenography in general. Stenographs are working a bit like portable word processors, but they have a modified keyboard with 22 buttons instead of a standard keyboard.
Modern stenographs include two rows of consonant keys on each side, placed underneath a ‘number bar’, and in front are four keys for the vowels A, O, E, and U.
Now how do stenographers work? Court stenographers may be typing entire words if they strike more keys at the same time. The left keys are for spelling the beginning letter of a syllable, and the right hand keys are for the last letter. The stenographer presses all relevant keys at the same time, and the stenographic machine will come up with an alphabet soup that is unintelligible for persons who are not trained to read machine shorthand.
Teeline is a relatively new way for shorthand writing mainly used in the UK and other parts of British Commonwealth. There are also Teeline applications for some Germanic languages like German and Swedish. The Teeline Shorthand System is recognized by the British National Council for the Training of Journalists.
Teeline was created and introduced in 1968 by James Hill, a shorthand writing teacher. With Teeline, a rate of 150 words a minute is feasible, and usually journalists who use the system have created their own groups of words to increase their writing speed.
Teeline is speed writing system that is using all letters of the English alphabet that we are already familiar with, and streamlines the text. Just think of what nowadays is known as ‘text language’, used by teenagers when they’re writing their text messages.
They have removed the ‘silent’ letters from a word, usually vowels, as in hello (abbreviated to ‘hlo’) and in (shortened to ‘bi’). Which letters are written depends on how the words sound when spoken. Teeline uses a similar system.
Before students will visit and explore a court, it is crucial that they understand a little about the ‘etiquette; that’s required in court. Before setting out on a tour through one our nation’s court rooms, educators should discuss and explain a lot of the Courthouse Dos & Donts to their students.
DO speak in a soft and decent manner and keep up a professional demeanor in stairwells and hallways of the Courthouse you visit.
DO NOT speak in courtrooms while court proceedings are going on.
DO remember where the bathrooms are located (here: on the 2nd floor near to the elevators).
DO NOT bring your totes or heavy backpacks into the Courthouse. This will delay the security proceedings.