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.