In the legal arena there are different types of transcribers that act in different functional roles, and then there are court reporters that can also transcribe their own transcripts.

So to put it in laymans terms, a court reporter is kind of a transcriber that does it in (almost) real time. They are actually present at the hearing, court proceeding, meeting, or deposition. They type either in shorthand using a stenography machine as the people in the room are talking, getting down exactly what they say, or they are using digital equipment to record the proceedings and typing notes into a program that will correlate to what is being said at that time, maybe just pointing out hard to hear words or who is speaking to make it easier for the transcription process later.

Either way, once the court reporter is done recording the session through shorthand or electronically, then the proceedings must be typed up correctly. This is where the transcriber comes into play. The court reporter can act as their own transcriber, or they can hire someone that just does the typing.

If they have used a stenography machine they typically hire what is a called a scopist, someone that understands the shorthand and can translate and transcribe from what the court reporter has already typed up. As court reporting schools continue to see low enrollment, we are seeing more digital court reporters using recording equipment and working with dedicated transcribers that just do the transcription.

Court reporters typically go to school for court reporting, or take classes on the new electronic court reporting, although we are seeing more companies hiring and training their own court reporters that have no traditional schooling. Legal transcribers typically learn on the job or take a legal transcription course to get the skills they need down to a science.

In today’s world most legal transcribers just do the transcription. They rarely see or meet any of the parties involved in the cases they transcribe. Some work in house for companies that send court reporters out, or they work from home and receive files online to be transcribed.