Official court reporters work for the judicial system to convert the spoken word into text during courtroom proceedings. The reporter also prepares official verbatim transcripts to be used by attorneys, judges, and litigants. Official court reporters are front and center at controversial or famous cases – criminal trials, millionaire divorces, government corruption trials and lawsuits – ensuring that an accurate, complete, and secure record of the proceedings is produced.
Official court reporters may also provide realtime during a courtroom setting to allow participants to read on a display screen or computer monitor what is being said instantaneously.
Freelance reporters are hired by attorneys, corporations, unions, associations, and other individuals and groups, who need accurate, complete, and secure records of pretrial depositions, arbitrations, board of director meetings, stockholders meetings, municipal, and convention business sessions.
Broadcast captioners, also called stenocaptioners, use court reporting skills on the stenotype machine to provide captions of live television programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers through realtime technology that instantly produces readable English text. Captioners provide captions for local stations, national networks, and cable channels. They caption news, emergency broadcasts, sports events, and other programming.
A version of the captioning process called Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), also known as live-event captioning, allows court reporters to provide more personalized services for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. CART providers accompany deaf and hard-of-hearing clients as needed – for example, to college classes – to provide an instant conversion of speech into text using the stenotype machine linked to a laptop computer.
Webcasters are reporters who use their training to capture financial earnings reports, sales meetings, press conferences, product introductions, and technical training seminars, and instantly transmit the captions to all parties involved via the Internet. As participants speak into telephones or microphones, the words appear on everyone's computers, accompanied by any relevant documents or graphics.