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The Heart of a Court Reporter

Court reporters create word-for-word transcriptions at trials, depositions, and other legal proceedings. Many are self-employed and work in the court system as an independent contractor. This often leaves time for other kinds of transcription jobs such as providing captioning for television and real-time translation for deaf or hard-of-hearing people at public events, or in business meetings.

Minimal preparation includes studies in:

  • English grammar and phonetics
  • Legal procedures
  • Legal terminology

Note: Some of these tutorials might require a PDF reader. If you do not have an the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your device, you can download a free copy here. Many also require the Google Play app for mobile devices.


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One of the talents that every court reporter must absolutely master is that of keeping a straight face through some of the absurd comments from witnesses, attorneys, and judges. Here are some examples I've lifted from a Tumblr web page:

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.



David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015