During court proceedings, you’ll often see someone typing during the trial. That person, a stenographer, usually types everything that he/she hears during the trial. It could be the judge, the witnesses, the attorneys, and possibly others as well. It takes skill to do this as typing extremely quickly and with utmost accuracy should always be there. One main obstacle for a stenographer is that he/she cannot interrupt the proceeding in any way. He/she can’t just say “Hey, wait a minute, what did you say again after …?” It would disrupt the proceeding and will take too much time. These days, with the advent of better computer technology, we have our legal transcriptionists.
Court proceedings can be recorded and an audio file is sent to the transcriptionist so he/she can type whatever happened in the court room. This is quite advantageous since first and foremost, the audio is usually digital and can easily be modified or manipulated so that it can be typed easier. It could be slowed down, it could be played back again and again and even go to a certain point in the recording with just a few clicks. The transcriptionist does not need to stop the actual court proceeding, he/she can just click the time where he/she wants to record.
Of course, speed is still essential since court proceedings happen everyday and the speed to have this document is essential sometimes to the case itself or for whatever purpose it may be for. The risk of having errors will be minimal since the transcriptionist should have all the tools and it can also be reviewed by another person to make sure it is accurate.
Aside from typing skills, it is also important to have good listening skills since how will you be able to type if you don’t listen well? Especially in this case where several people talk at the same time especially is they’re already arguing. If you don’t listen closely and focus, you may lose a couple of words then accuracy takes a hit. People speak differently as well and accent and even language barriers present themselves.
You should also have a good vocabulary on legal terms. It would be difficult to understand some legal terms if you don’t have background on it. Let’s say you heard persona non grata. If you don’t know or are not familiar as to what it is, you probably won’t be able to spell it out right. It is also essential to know and understand what some of the legal terms are just in case you encounter them in the recording. It won’t pose to be much of a problem for you to type it accurately.
As a career, legal transcription is pretty much a laid back job since it can even be done at home if you have a computer. Salaries are usually per project and not contractual like when you get a fixed salary every month. Sometimes it does but it’s rare. Nevertheless, this is a good job if you want to try out your typing and listening skills.