A stenographer is a professional who records official transcripts of a proceeding, such as a hearing, trial, arraignment, sentencing, session of a legislature or business meeting. The duties of a stenographer typist are crucial to maintaining a valid written record of these important events.
The primary duty of a stenographer is to listen to what everyone participating in a proceeding is saying and quickly type precisely what was said onto a stenotype, a machine that allows typists to enter in groups of letters or whole words at one time. Stenographers must ensure accuracy and completeness of the transcript they create.
Prior to a proceeding, a stenographer must check to ensure that his stenotype is in good working order and ready for use as soon as the event begins. Throughout a proceeding or afterward, a judge, attorney or other official may ask the stenographer to search through the record and read aloud statements that were previously made.
In some court rooms or other public venues, the stenotype is attached to other devices that allow the words the stenographer types into the machine to be displayed either in English words for the deaf or in Spanish. In such situations, the duties of a stenographer also doubles with that of a translator.
The training that stenographers need to perform their duties is given at a number of 33-month training programs by schools authorized by the National Court Reporters Association. Some states require graduates to demonstrate their skills or pass a written test to receive a license before performing the duties of a stenographer typist.
In November 2009, the average annual salary that stenographer typists received for completing their duties was $39,000, according to Indeed.com.
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