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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a court reporter?

A court reporter, also known as a stenographer or shorthand reporter, instantly converts the spoken word into the written word with the use of a Stenotype machine, a modified 22-button keyboard. Court reporters provide services in legal proceedings, including depositions, arbitrations, trials, and hearings, and also serve business and government entities.

How are court reporters able to write so quickly and take down everything that is being said?

The training program for court reporting is quite intense, with only a 7% graduation rate. During and after academic coursework, the court reporting student practices speed building for many hours each day, similar to an athlete or musician practicing each day to get faster and/or more accurate. In order to graduate from court reporting school, the student must be able to write 225 words per minute for 5 minutes with 95% accuracy. But given the fast pace of our lives today, court reporters still must work to attain even faster speeds, many writing at 250 words per minute, and faster, for bursts at a time. This is accomplished by writing syllables or whole words or phrases, rather than word by word, by pressing more than one key at a time, unlike the common keyboard. Picture a pianist pressing one key for a note or pressing many keys simultaneously to make a chord. Speed is accomplished by writing prerecorded material at various speeds for several hours each day until the speed is attained with 95% accuracy.

Are court reporters just taking down minutes?

No. Taking down minutes is a written synopsis, or summary, of a proceeding. Court reporters take down a verbatim record. Court reporters are used for any proceeding (legal or otherwise) that requires a written record. It does not need to be an official court proceeding. For instance, your local zoning commission hearing frequently is reported by a court reporter to preserve the record for future reference. Also, board of directors meetings and homeowners association meetings and conventions often utilize the services of a court reporter.

How long does it take to become a court reporter?

The average is three years, though highly dependent upon the student’s dedication to practice each day to reach the required writing speed.

Besides legal proceedings, in what other industries can a court reporter’s skill set be used?

There are many applications for court reporting skills, such as a service called CART, Communication Access Realtime Translation, which provides realtime transcription in a classroom-type setting for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Did you know that the closed captions that you see on live television programs are provided by court reporters? Both CART providers and captioners are skilled in realtime translation, which is the instantaneous conversion of the spoken word into text which is then displayed on a TV, computer, laptop or smartphone.

Who is the fastest court reporter?

At any given time, this could be any reporter. Among his colleagues, Mark Kislingbury is considered the profession’s premier speed champion, setting the Guinness World Record in 2004, writing 97.22% accuracy at 360 words per minute! Check out Mark here.

What is a videographer?

While a court reporter prepares a written record, a videographer records deposition proceedings through the lens of a videocamera. A videographer will capture body language, intonation, facial expressions, and gestures you simply can’t catch through the written record. A videotaped proceeding provides a stronger, indisputable presentation of the witness’ testimony.

What is the difference between a traditional videoconference and a mobile videoconference?

Traditional videoconferencing involves the connecting of two or more sites with high definition, IP or ISDN-based videoconferencing equipment. Due to the high cost of the equipment necessary for traditional videoconferencing, the participants must travel to a location, such as a court reporting agency, that has the equipment installed. Mobile videoconferencing utilizes a secure connection over the Internet to connect two or more participants in different locations. Each participant may use an iPad, smartphone, laptop or traditional videoconferencing equipment to connect to the meeting.

How much advance notice do your Hot-Seat Trial Technicians need to assist with our case?

As with anything, more notice is better but we understand that most cases settle before trial and often firms are hoping a case will settle so that the additional expense of a hot-seat trial technician can be avoided. The best course of action is to get it on our schedule as soon as possible so we can get a technician assigned and reserved. If the case does settle before any work is performed, there is no penalty. However, there is no hard and fast rule and we are often brought in last minute and always make it happen for you!

How do I find a transcript or video from a previous deposition?

You can easily view past, current, and future depositions using the Planet Portal. You can also view transcripts, exhibits, invoicing details and related case files. If you need your username and temporary password, contact us.

How do I schedule a deposition?

You can schedule any of our services by calling 888.433.3767 or by emailing us. You can also use our Schedule Now page. Simply fill out the form and we will be in touch shortly!

What other services do you provide?

We provide more than just court reporters and videographers. We provide interpreters and transcription services as well. You can view all of our services here.

What is the cost for a court reporter?

We charge a per-page rate for our court reporting services. However, the price depends on the location (different states have different prices), services requested, the length and time, and any other special services or requirements. Contact us with your specific circumstances, and we can give you detailed rates.

Where do you provide your services?

We provide court reporters, videographers, interpreters, and other services anywhere on the Planet! If we don’t have an office near your desired location, we will reserve a conference room on your behalf.

Are you available after hours?

We are available 24/7/365. You can contact us at 888.433.3767 or by emailing us.

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