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We asked our court reporters: If you could have received one piece of advice when you were getting started, what would it have been?
Never pass up an opportunity to practice, practice, practice. Don’t sit in front of the TV without writing the audio on your machine.
It may seem difficult at first, but if you practice, practice, practice, you’ll pass the CSR test with flying colors. It really is the best field to work in. I still love it after 32 years! It’s the most interesting job ever. I did depositions at first then switched to court three years ago. I’m just having a blast at my job. There’s great days and challenging days, just like any profession. But the great days outweigh the difficult days by a long shot. We need new reporters out there!
Every reporting student hits speed walls. It can be extremely frustrating when it happens, but know that it’s totally normal and happens to everyone. This too shall pass, and so will you… into the next speed level!
Continue to practice to write exceptionally fast – having a reserve of speed is your best friend. Learn your software *really* well. It will save you untold hours of time.
If you want to get out of school at around the two-year mark, you must be prepared to write 5 to 6 hours a day on your steno machine and you must scope (type in my day 1980) everything you write. You have to write, read and scope with proficiency. Practice is the only way.
You can do this!! So many people quit school because they get stuck at a certain speed. I did. Then I passed three speed tests back to back. Of course it’s hard. That’s why there is such a shortage of court stenographers. Remember me when you hit a bump in the road. If I can do it, anybody can! Go for it. your future is waiting!
Take heart! Long days at the machine can be exhausting, then you have your transcript deadlines. Pace yourself, organize your time, and make healthy habits important in your life so you can stay strong. Burnout can be part of the job, so you need to make frequent and regular deposits into your life bank. That means making family and community time, as well as recreation in whatever form that is for you, a regular part of your career! Now, go and reap the benefits of this awesome job!
Start with the intention of writing in realtime from the very beginning, and 100% conflict-free. Ask for help and guidance. Read various publications from many different fields, science, literature, arts, sports, to enrich and inspire and also build upon your vocabulary. The steno machines nowadays have the audio synced Try not to rely on the audio, but your own raw technical skill and talent. Upon entering the work field, whatever path that looks like for you, (I.e., official, freelance, CART provider, etc), decide that you will say yes to every job experience offered… always stretch far and wide of your comfort zone. Good luck to you!
Even if your confidence isn’t quite there yet, always act and look like you know you are at your best…and dress accordingly.
You can do this! Sometimes the speed plateaus and you feel like you can’t get there. Don’t get discouraged. Allow yourself to follow the ups and downs and success will come.
Use your short forms but please embrace writing phonetically when new terminology comes your way. You can always find the spelling later but you’ll never get back the three seconds you lose trying to remember or come up with a short form when an unknown word or phrase are spoken. This tool will help you accept more jobs and make more money
During Q & A if there is a speaking objection, especially in court, make darn sure you get that last question perfect at all costs because that’s what they’re going to ask you to read back, not the objection.
Be service-oriented, be on time, and keep your word.
Don’t ever give up! Your aha moment may be just around the corner when everything clicks. Reporting worldwide news at its source is both exciting and lucrative. You can do it, students!
Write clean from the start. Don’t just slap down junk. You will be able to produce transcripts on the back end so much faster that way. And speak up! Talking too fast? Stop them. Talking all over each other? Stop them. Didn’t hear what they said? Stop them.
Learn all you can because you’re gonna need it.
I have found intimidation to always be the worst part of being a court reporter, whether it’s by the caliber of attorney you are assigned, the content of the material you will be covering, the technology that is required to perform, all of which seems overwhelming at times. But with each milestone you achieve, you become a better reporter, and you also gain more interest in and relevance for this profession. Try to raise the bar for yourself. Grow with the changing times. And stay connected with fellow reporters. The best support for any concerns or issues you may be experiencing comes from those who have walked in your shoes before and know exactly what you are going through and can give you real-life solutions to help you along your way.
Don’t give up! There are so many great opportunities in this profession.
Don’t give up. Take time for yourself and time away from your machine.
Practice speed building discs at a faster speed than what you are comfortable with. That’s how I built my speed up.
Please find a mentor so they can answer questions you may have and who can help you along the way!
Stay focused! Don’t get discouraged if you get stuck at a speed for a while! Takes practice! Some need to practice more than others to gain speed!
If you enjoy writing, this is the field for you, as it is a gift! Stick with it. The world needs you!
Hang in there! You’ll love ❤️ it!
Oh, my goodness… stick with it! Practice, practice, practice. If you can get a working reporter to help mentor you, that is ideal. Someone to hold you accountable and celebrate your successes. We need you out here!
Speed testing doesn’t prepare you for what real reporting is like. Most days are way easier and some are way harder. When you get the hard days, just remember your 225s and how hard those seemed, but you go through them!
Find an excellent motivator, person or thing, and do not be afraid to use them or it regularly. Also, find an energetic mentor to help when it gets tough, because it will! But it is so worth it
Expect fast days. They will make you faster. You will never regret becoming a court reporter
Briefs. Use them daily. I forgot so many from school, so I’m currently trying to relearn them
Know your market and seek many mentors
Have a voice! It’s your record as much as theirs. Dont be afraid to speak up if needed, but professionally.
1. Continue to practice and perfect your speed and accuracy. This will only help you get the most accurate record and further your career as a professional.
2. Speak up in the proceedings when there is overlap or inability to hear to avoid difficulty in transcription later.
3. Mark your notes to go back and ask for spellings at breaks to save time on transcription later.
Get your RPR!