Court Reporting Past,Present,Future

This blog is titled Court Reporting Past,Present,Future becasuse we will be giving our take on all accounts

Throughout history, court reporting has provided the courts with an effective method of recording important proceedings, statements and evidence. It is a court reporter’s job to transcribe every detail, emphasis and inflection throughout the official court proceedings. Today’s court reporters have the privilege of using a variety of advanced technologies to produce immensely detailed transcripts. However, court reporters did not always have this luxury, as it has come from very humble beginnings.

The Origins of Court Reporting – Shorthand Writing

Historians and scholars have traced the first shorthand writings back thousands of years. A Monk named John of Tilbury is credited with developing what is known as the world’s first shorthand writing system in 1118. However, Tilbury’s idea of using an arrangement of vertical lines and distinguishing short strokes did not become main stream until over 400 years later. This occurred when Dr. Timothie Bright derived a system stemming from a more distinctive character system.

With the official sanctioning of Queen Elizabeth, Dr. Bright published a brief 500-character book, which brought the entire system of shorthand to England. Fourteen years later, John Wills expanded on Bright’s work and published a shorthand system that was based upon the English alphabet.

Stenography Is Born!

Over the next couple of decades a number of individuals created their own versions of the shorthand system. One of these individuals includes Thomas Gurney who was England’s first official shorthand writer. Gurney’s shorthand system was even utilized by Charles Dickens, the author of renowned books such as Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. Dickens made use of shorthand in his early years, working as a freelance reporter.

In 1893 the stenography system that we are familiar with today was first developed. This method, invented by Irish immigrant John Robert Gregg in 1888, is still the most widely used form of pen stenography in the United States. Gregg’s system flourished until the next round of technological advancements increased in popularity and became so widespread that his  system was no longer in demand.

The Stenograph Becomes a Reality and Stenography Matures

Inventor, Miles Bartholomew, created the first commercially successful stenograph. The machines were widely produced, giving rise to some of the very first formal educational opportunities in the field. Over the next hundred years, Bartholomew’s historic machine endured countless improvements including lightweight models, paper reams, plastic composites and color options. By 1963, stenographic prototypes were being designed to transfer information for computer transcription.

One year later, IBM partnered with the United States military to introduce a new computerized stenographic machine, along with their patented CAT system. As technological advancements have continued to develop, court reporters now have the luxury of using stenography machines complete with microprocessors and LCD screens.

Court Reporting As We Know It – Today

Educational opportunities to learn written shorthand, stenography and court reporting have also advanced over the last few centuries.

Today, there are three different branches of court reporting:

  1. Stenography – The recording of verbal dialog, by using a stenograph to type shorthand.
  2. Voice Writing – Reporting court proceedings through the use of a specialized voice recording device that converts the voice writer’s speech into text.
  3. Digital Court Reporting – This form of court reporting relies heavily upon digital equipment such as computers, digital mics and video recorders.

Court reporting has evolved into a highly developed profession with training and certification taking up to four years to complete. Court reporters may work in private firms, at the local, state or national level and the profession is known to reach salaries into the six-figures, a far cry from its humble Monk roots.

The court reporting profession has experienced a long and rich history, providing an undeniable component to our court and justice system. Despite the numerous systematic and technical enhancements, court reporting has not only survived but it has flourished into a prominent profession worldwide.

Contact Phoenix Deposition Services

Whether you want to know about the history of court reporting or you’re looking for Phoenix court reporting services, Phoenix Deposition Services is here to help. So call us for questions at 602-230-2499.