There are several different transcription methods used in court proceedings, and each method has its own associated training program. Programs are available at the certificate and associate degree levels for students interested in careers in court reporting, legal transcription and captioning, and they're available through both for-profit and not-for-profit institutions. In some cases, graduates are prepared for state licensure in court reporting or certification through the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, among other organizations.
Common concepts that students can expect to see include:
- Working with stenotype keyboards
- Punctuation and usage
- Medical terminology
- Proofreading and editing
- Technical dictation
- Reporting procedures
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- Court Reporting
- Legal Administrative Assistant or Secretary
- Legal Assistant or Paralegal
List of Common Courses
Machine Shorthand Courses
Machine shorthand may be covered in a single course or through a series of interrelated courses. Individuals study theories and principles of machine stenography, and skill-building is encouraged through hands-on practice on a stenograph machine. Classes may include correct fingering methods, common phrasings and abbreviations. Introductory machine shorthand classes are generally taken in the beginning of a degree or certificate program in court reporting, medical transcription or legal transcription; if multiple courses in machine shorthand are included in a curriculum, they tend to be interspersed throughout the program's duration.
Shorthand Accuracy and Speed-Building Course
This class is designed for students who already possess basic skills in machine stenography and intended to aid them in expanding their transcription speed and accuracy. Students may perform keyboarding exercises, review dictation notes and proofread documents. Skills tests are included. This class is typically available within the early part of transcription programs.
Computer-Assisted Transcription Course
The focus of this course is on the use of computer hardware and software in the production of transcripts. Some familiarity with computer keyboarding may be a prerequisite. Classes may include a review of computer technology and file maintenance, as well as the editing and translation of transcripts. This course may be offered in the intermediate stages of a court reporting technology program.
Voicewriting and Captioning Course
This contemporary stenography course focuses on the use of voice-recognition software for medical transcription, Internet text and television captioning, real-time translation for the hearing-impaired and other types of newly developing document production areas. An advanced course, it may be offered online as a standalone class or in the later part of a degree or certificate program in court reporting or medical transcription. A background in court reporting, along with strong grammar skills, word processing experience and knowledge of legal or medical terminology may be recommended prior to taking the course.