I am a court stenographer. Stenographers and stenographic recording of testimony is vital and necessary to ensure our judicial system runs efficiently and fairly to all. During testimony, stenographers can instantly provide readback to the judge and parties and further aid juries during deliberations. Whether to save money or because of so-called shortages, there has been electronic recorders coming onto the legal market calling themselves digital court reporters. I feel a more fitting name for digital recording is a court recorder or digital recorder. Stenographers abide by a Professional Code of Ethics, which includes confidentiality along with professional conduct. Stenographers are the only ones responsible for maintaining the official record. Digital recordings can be given to anyone. Oftentimes, there are several typists and others involved to produce one transcript. The confidentiality and ethics regarding typists and others can be called into question when many users have ready access to secure and confidential information. Transcripts of digital recordings often contain “(Inaudible)” when the typist is unable to hear and type the audio. During trial testimony, stenographers can ask for clarity, if there is a background noise, a mumbling witness or overlapping speakers. If a witness nods their head, stenographers ask for a verbal response. The trial record is clear and maintained. Stenographers are the gold standard and should not be confused or replaced with a digital recording. Digital recording is not state-of-the-art technology and can never compete with a stenographic record. I am a court stenographer. I've had a rewarding career that has span two decades writing on my stenographic machine. I've helped provide communication access to Deaf and hard of hearing individuals and have worked in the judiciary. I am proud of my accomplishments, the friendships I've made, and the future of stenographic reporting is here to stay. Image by Steno[SWAG] https://courtreporterswag.com/ #CRCW2023
Category: Court Reporting and Captioning
Am I fulfilled at work?
There’s so many facets to life More than the sum of its parts. I know I don’t want my vocation to be the only definition of my innate worth, of my contribution to the collective whole. The French refuse to be defined by their profession and I am inspired. But I can’t deny that what I do My job, my career has thrived and brought me riches, Internal and external rewards: Recognition Journeys Challenges Joy and pain. And I could never stand before you Here today without that vocation. I possess a rare skillset And I am proud for all of my accomplishments. Even now as guardian of the record, As the silent witness As laws in the books are test driven in daily life. To be front and center of someone retelling their darkest hour, their fears replayed. And I am honored to be Entrusted. It is a gift. Or in my previous career, To help someone who cannot hear take an active role and participate And even the playing field. My skills cannot be underestimated. Am I fulfilled? Yes. Do I wish for things to be different? At times, of course, I do. The many facets of my life do not revolve on my ability to bring home a paycheck. Although, with utmost gratitude, I must recognize that my current position has given me a routine, a steady schedule with space to reflect and create these words to you.
Ode to my fingers
Long fingers like a pianist. I use them every day as I write on my steno machine. Though the machines have evolved and changed over time, my fingers still rapidly stroke the same keys. I listen to spoken words and my amazing brain translates it to sounds, symbols, syllables and strokes. I even have time to add in punctuation.
My fingers have taken me to islands, to ivy league college and a navy school, to town halls and high school auditoriums, outdoor venues with waterfire, a lighthouse tour on a ferry boat, the zoo, and numerous graduations and ceremonies.
I’ve captioned words for hundreds to read projected onto a screen. I am not intimidated. I am highly skilled and competent with over 22 years of experience. Even if they say Steno is a dying art, I am proof that it’s not. My career is thriving. My salary supports and sustains me and my family.
My fingers fire rapidly across the keyboard hanging on to every word. Sometimes just waiting for what’s next. From the courthouse to web hearings, I am front and center. My body is still. My arms hardly move as my fingers do all the work. I can read back what was just said confidently and with clarity. I am the keeper of the official record now. All thanks to my amazing fingers.