Realtime reporters are highly trained professionals who share a unique ability to convert the spoken word into English text instantly into a feed that can be read, streamed, broadcast, searched, and archived. This specialization includes broadcast captioning and realtime translation services for people who are deaf and hard of hearing, as well as providing near-instant translation in legal and other settings.
What do realtimers do?
Court reporters using their highly developed skill in stenography can provide a nearly instantaneous feed through a computer translation system to provide a readable and searchable record of ongoing events. Some reporters employ someone to proofread or scope the feed as it happens to provide a live transcript with an even greater degree of readability.
Sometimes, the realtime reporters will also prepare official transcripts of legal proceedings in addition to a realtime feed. While a realtime feed can serve as an on-the-fly tool for the judge or parties to a case to consult and can aid in quicker access to justice, the official record or transcript safeguards the legal process by providing a document to consult when litigants want to exercise their right to appeal. During the discovery phase, attorneys also use realtime transcripts to prepare for trial during depositions for many reasons, including the possibility of lowering costs by allowing some parties to be in different locations but still having access to the record through a realtime feed transmitted by the reporter. While a court reporter providing realtime, which is the only proven method for immediate voice-to-text translation, allows attorneys and judges to have immediate access to the transcript, realtime also provides a way for members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community to participate in the judicial process.
Court reporters earn an average of nearly $45,000 a year. Reporters who provide realtime, especially those who are certified by NCRA or by a state in providing realtime, often earn even more. Realtime reporters also have more options in pursuing alternative paths, such as captioning, and find themselves in demand for jobs that can allow them to work from home or travel to unusual places.
Realtime reporters can further their marketability and earn recognition for achieving high levels of expertise in particular reporter markets by pursing certification. Learn more about NCRA's professional certifications.