As you might imagine, a court reporter’s job can be quite challenging at times. A court reporter’s responsibilities extend beyond simply taking notes in court; they also include being familiar with and comfortable using a wide range of specialised pieces of equipment.
This list of eight items ought to serve as a springboard for further exploration.
Don’t just be on time, be early
To be on time according to the clock is the same as being late in many contexts. Arriving late not only increases the stress levels of the lawyers waiting for you, but it also forces you to set up in a hurry and gives you no time to anticipate or address any problems that may arise. Plan to get there at least half an hour early to settle in at your desk, meet with attorneys, and become acquainted with the area.
Decipher What the Translators Are Saying
It is possible that the services of an interpreter will be required in cases where the parties involved do not share a common first language or, in some cases, do not use spoken language. In addition to clearly distinguishing when a witness is speaking and when an interpreter is, the court reporters in Tacoma must also swear in the interpreter with the proper language. Be ready for this possibility by having a plan in place.
Spelling Variations and Rules
Don’t just assume that everyone has spelt common names the way you would; instead, check in with witnesses to make sure their names are recorded correctly. It can be helpful to use breaks and the time right after the deposition to get correct spellings when they don’t come up very often during testimonies. After the deposition is finished, you can do this.
Working With Attorneys
It is crucial to build a rapport with the attorneys with whom you interact directly and to provide them with assistance that is tailored to their needs. It is not unusual for transcripts to require special handling, such as a request for confidentiality or a rush delivery. Can you elaborate on what you mean by these questions? Before saying “I need it tomorrow” or “I need it first thing tomorrow morning,” make sure you know exactly what is expected of you. These two requests couldn’t be more dissimilar in intent.
The Meaning of Statements
Some witnesses may refuse to take the oath if it is required of them. Legally, affirming your testimony is the same as taking an oath, but some people’s religious practises prevent them from doing so. To affirm one’s testimony is the same as to swear to the truth. Whatever may happen, you must be ready for it.
Keep Up and Don’t Get Left Behind
It can be difficult for a court reporter to keep up with the conversation and make an accurate record when witnesses speak quickly or mumble, or when multiple people are speaking at once. It’s crucial that you don’t interrupt the proceedings or stop the witness’s testimony too often for the wrong reasons, but it’s also crucial that you don’t.
Be sure you’re ready for anything at all times
If you expect complex or highly technical testimony in a particular case, it will serve you well to study up on the subject in advance. You should gather lists of names, terms, or acronyms that could prove challenging to transcribe accurately in real time.
Always be current on the latest information
Maintaining expertise as a court reporter requires constant practise and development, as well as familiarity with the latest developments in the field’s various tools. Verify that your computer and steno machine are free of errors and that all of the hardware, software, cables, and accessories you’ll need are installed, updated, and readily available.
Taking this advice to heart will help you appear composed and confident in your professional interactions. There are times when you can’t get by without experience, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get by with good service and hard work. Neither can be replaced by mere experience.