A court reporter or legal scopist is a person who offers legal scoping services and the job involves transcribing spoken or speech recordings into written form.This is accomplished with the help of a stenotype or short hand machine. Scopists finally deliver official transcripts of court hearings, depositions and other court proceedings. A good legal scopist can accurately type upto almost 300 words per minute. The more recent technology in scoping is the CATS (Computer Aided Transcription System) software that allows for a real time reporting using the internet and today legal scoping is often done sitting at home.
The National Court Reporting Association (NCRA) is the authority for the Legal scopists in the USA. It was earlier call as the NSRA (National Shorthand Reporters Association) and was established in 1899 in Chicago. Technological changes have greatly improvised the scoping professional’s way of working. Today there are many standard certification programs for being a legal scopist and courses are offered by many institutions. The NCRA provides nationally recognized certification like RPA (Registered Professional Reporter) There are many other institutions that meet the standards as required by the NSRA and every year churn out many legal scopists or court reporters.
There are speed tests for the legal scopists that specialize the areas of Jury Charge, Testimony and literary. The basic skills required to become a legal scopists are only basic good English and superior steno reading skills. Quite often a legal scopist is also a notary who can then himself certify a transcript.
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