Court reporters usually create verbatim transcripts of speeches, conversations, legal proceedings, meetings, and other events. They use a special keyboard communicating with shorthand-to-text software to quickly write down what is said in a courtroom. As a point of reference people normally speak English at around a rate of 160–250 words per minute. A skilled court reporter is able to hold a “typing” speed often in excess of 200 words per minute for hours. To become certified, one must pass a test, requiring one to transcribe audio at a rate of 225 words per minute at >95% accuracy for five minutes. Court Reporters are responsible for ensuring a complete, accurate, and secure legal record.
“A certified reporter is a person who is certified by the board and who records and transcribes a verbatim record in any sworn proceeding by means of written symbols or abbreviations in shorthand, machine writing or voice writing as provided in A.R.S. §32-4002(3).” Arizona Code of Judicial Administration, Part 7: Administrative Office of the Courts, Chapter 2: Certification and Licensing Programs, Section 7-2006: Certified Reporter.
The Court Reporter Standard Certification Program provides statewide certification for persons in Arizona who are qualified to be certified.
Written accounts of spoken words are sometimes necessary for correspondence, records, or legal proof, and court reporters provide those accounts. Court reporters play a critical role not only in judicial proceedings, but also at every meeting where the spoken word must be preserved as a written transcript.