Court or Verbatim Reporter

Court reporters record court proceedings, transcribe depositions and pretrial proceedings, business proceedings, provide closed-captioning, and also real-time translation services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

As a Judicial Court Reporter, they would transcribe every spoken word and detail during court proceedings. They prepare official transcripts for use by attorneys, judges, and litigants. These transcripts are used as the official documentation of the events that took place during the hearing or trial. The court reporter is responsible for certifying that what has been entered is accurate and true to the best of their ability, and is an account of what took place before them.

They must be able to work quickly and accurately, as there is no room for errors. The documents they prepare are the only account of the court proceedings and are vital to the credibility of the judicial system.

Court reporters use a computer and a stenotype to type a verbatim record of the proceedings for immediate or future reference. The stenotype allows the reporter to use a form of shorthand by using sounds of words to record the data. The computer uses software called computer-aided transcription (CAT) to translate the information in English. This data can then be edited, researched, transmitted, and stored until needed.

Court reporters are now also using more advanced technology to provide instant transcripts on computer screens, while the proceedings are in session. This is called Communication Access Realtime Translation or CART, and is a great help for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community in allowing them real time access to what is happening. Court reporters may be required to check legal details in a library. They may also do work for political conferences or public inquiries, industrial tribunals, or record live parliamentary debates.

Their tasks are clerical and secretarial, entailing organised and clearly defined activities, primarily in an office setting. These duties include typing business letters and reports, filing documents, receiving and sending off documents and parcels, and arranging appointments.  They work under immediate supervision and cannot make decisions for their job.  They must adhere to strict, predetermined rules and guidelines and they usually have a manager to whom hhey report directly.

Personal Requirements

  • have excellent communication, organisational and time management skills have good concentration
  • able to work quickly and accurately
  • ability to work in a high-pressure environment, and meet deadlines when necessary
  • be proficient in several languages

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate

Compulsory Subjects: At least two languages
Recommended Subjects: History, Computer Applications

What to Study

Intensive training in the use of a stenotype machine, which will allow you to transcribe fast-paced legal proceedings, is required. You must also be familiar with the methods that are used for taking transcriptions in the fast-paced legal world.



Further Information

Department of Land Affairs
Centre Walk Building
266 Pretorius Street
(Cnr Pretorius and Thabo Sehume)
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 322-5400

Department of Justice
329 Pretorius Street (Corner Pretorius and Prinsloo/Sisulu Street)
Tel: (012) 315-1111

Getting Started

Speak to court reporters about this career and ask to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

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