Difference between Legal Transcription and Court Reporting

There are some people who do not differentiate between legal transcriptionists and court reporters and think that the 2 professionals are similar. Although they have some similarities there are also major differences. One of the main differences is that the court reporter transcribes speech that is in real time and a transcriptionist on the other hand deal with recorder speech. The later is at an advantage because they can replay the speech they are working with to get all the words correctly. In addition to this, the 2 jobs require different educational backgrounds.

Court reporters

The primary duty of the court reporters is to deal with real time verbatim transcription of the speech that is happening in court real time. In addition to this, they are some duties they are supposed to perform depending on the judge that they are working with. Some of the additional tasks they perform include:

  • Preparing documents and any other administrative duties that they are supposed to work on.
  • Administering oaths to the witnesses on the stands
  • Providing notary public services
  • Real time reporting on the things that have been recorded already
  • Additional research for the items that have been entered into records.

Regardless of the court reporting method that has been used i.e. (voice writing, stenotype reporting) the educational requirements are basically the same. Certification, licensure and formal schooling are a must. You need to go through academic programs for 2-4 years and some of the classes include business law, medical vocabulary, legal research, legal terminologies and procedures and the English language mechanics and grammar. There are some states that require the reporters to have certifications while others need licenses from legal associations. Certificates are awarded when you pass exams.

Legal transcriptionists

There is no formal degree or certification that is required for a person to work as a transcriptionist. It is however important to have some background information on the topic to make work easier. Most legal transcriptionists tend to specialize in the field to do the best work. The professionals do not work in a court room as they work in companies that offer the transcription services.

Court reporters who work outside the courtroom

The court reporters many also work as freelancers. Other than the courthouse they can also work for government agencies, corporations and other organizations. They are needed to transcribe speech in real time when they attend functions like seminars, meetings and press conferences. More on legal transcription

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

10 Must Have Skills for a Professional Digital Audio Transcriptionists

  1. Listening- a transcriptionists has to be a keen listener so that they can decipher everything that has been said. They work on single speaker to multiple participant speaker recordings. They also work with heavy accents, and people who speak too fast or too slow.
  2. Problem solving- you will face daily challenges while working as a transcriptionists. It is important to know the difference between garbled speech, decipher mumbled, multiple speakers. You will also need to know how to deal with any background noises. There are some tricks that you need to have up your sleeve to deal with really difficult audio. This is where you might even need to carry out some research to know what you are doing.
  3. Quality control– this is where you have to be attentive to all details and maintain consistency throughout all the work that you are doing. This is because people are always keen to spot the mistakes you have made after all they are paying you to do the work. Be attentive to note some of the mistakes the client has made.
  4. English language- it is important to have excellent command of spoken and written English including spelling and grammar. This includes words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings.
  5. Time management- you have to make sure that you work within deadlines to ensure that all the projects you are working on are finished on time.
  6. Speed and accuracy- you have to know how to type really fast and be accurate at the same time to finish more work within a short period of time.
  7. Industry knowledge- there are some professionals who decide to work on specific fields like legal or medical transcription and this requires them to have a little background knowledge on the field to carry out your tasks effectively.
  8. Discretion/ non disclosure- you have to have high levels of discretion to ensure that the clients work is safe and does not get into unauthorized hands.
  9. PC and internet skills- this is very important as there are the tools that will be used for the job as well as communication with clients. You also need to know how to send the projects to the clients without too much hustle.
  10. Specialized equipment and software- you need to be aware of the latest equipment as well as software that can help make your work easier and faster.

It is also important to note that skills improve with time as you work.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.