What I wish I knew my first year out as a court reporter.

I know a lot of court reporting students are out there who go to school and can't wait to start reporting in the "real world." And you guys have lots of questions about what it's like reporting out there. You wonder about is there going to be work for me? Am I going to make enough money to pay off my debts and live the "glamorous" lifestyle?

Well, this is a great place to ask those questions. And if you have any particular topic that you want discussed, bring it up. But I thought I'd share some of the things that I learned the first year out.

A lot of students focus and worry about going out and being in the actual deposition or court setting and taking down the words. A lot of students never even think about actually producing a transcript.

What you've got to realize that for every hour you sit there and take down notes, it's going to take you at least two hours to produce a transcript that you're going to be willing to give to your agency/client. You've got to scope, edit, and proof. Those are the minimum parts to producing a transcript.

The first transcript that you do will be painfully slow, for the most part. You're not going to be sure on format, parentheticals (what are parentheticals? that's another whole discussion). You might be unfamiliar with your software. You might not know all the shortcuts. IT WILL GET BETTER. Once you have that first transcript under your belt. Then it will get easier and faster.

Know for your first year out, don't overwhelm yourself. Don't burn yourself out. Remember, you have the right to turn down a job. If you find yourself awash in 1000 and 1000 of pages and the agency is begging you to take the job, you can turn it down. They will use you again. If you're a good reporter, turn in a quality product and do it in a timely manner, they will use you again.

Anyway, that's my first thought for new reporters and students. I'll try to post more as time goes. And if you have any questions, you can ask me or any reporter on this board.

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Comment by Susan Crivello on March 13, 2008 at 4:33
This is all great advice. I am a student and need four more tests to graduate. For the life of me, I don't understand why the schools do not hand out sample transcripts for hardcopy. We NEED to see them.

I am going to start sitting in next week. I am not afraid of going out to work. I just want to love my job. I find the people who don't, are the people who spend hours upon hours editing their work. I am trying to work on my accuracy right now.

Carrie, I can relate to you. I too am very disorganized. I have papers all over the place. I need to clean up shop!

Susan Crivello
Comment by Carrie Snodgrass on March 10, 2008 at 10:45
This is a great topic! I guess the first thing that comes to mind for me about my first year is learning how to be very organized. I was always a very disorganized person, so this was a major task for me. I'm still not as organized as I'd like to be, but at least I know that I can find notes from a hearing that took place in 2000, which I did, in fact, have to do a few weeks ago because I got a back order.

Thanks for bringing this up! It's something I always share with students too, all the little things about being a court reporter that you didn't learn in school. In school, it was all about that writing speed and almost nothing else.

Carrie Snodgrass, RPR
Comment by Heather on March 9, 2008 at 12:07
Thanks for the advice! There's always been those concerns at the back of my mind that I thought, oh I'll worry about that when I get closer.. but now I've passed 2 of my 200s tests. In depo class the other day, we had to do our first "real" transcript with a cover page and all the appearances and index and all that and it freaked me out how much I don't know about my software yet. Guess it's time to get one of those tutorials on blanks and indexing!
Comment by Alma Rodick on March 8, 2008 at 18:39
Great advice! Thanks so much for sharing!

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