Court reporters use their arms, hands, and fingers all day, every day, so it's not surprising that many court reporters develop some type of repetitive motion injury. They're also at high risk of developing neck and back problems because the job requires that they sit in a fixed position for hours at a time. These injuries can cut a court reporter's career short and decrease their earning power, but an increasing number of stenotype (machine) court reporters have been able to prolong their careers by switching to the voice writing (Stenomask) method of capturing the record.
Unlike machine writers, voice writers do not have to sit with arms outstretched in a fixed position while on the record. Using the voice writing method, the court reporter holds a "mask" (Stenomask) to their face while dictating the proceedings. Because both hands are not required to hold the mask in place, a voice writer can switch hands while on the record without skipping a beat - and can give one arm a break. Also, Stenomask manufacturer Talk Technologies has developed a hands-free strap that holds the device in place. The down side of using a hands-free strap is that to the untrained observer it can seem that the court reporter is wearing some kind of breathing apparatus.
Converting from machine to voice writing is far less time-consuming than converting from voice to machine writing would be. Because an experienced court reporter already knows the industry and how to prepare a professional transcript, that reporter only needs to train their voice, which can take as little as a few months, and become familiar with voice writing equipment and software.
One North Carolina-based court reporter who successfully transitioned from machine to voice writing (due to tendinitis) has prepared a guide for other stenotype court reporters who would like to transition to voice.
In addition to machine and voice writers, digital (electronic) court reporters routinely provide services at depositions, hearings, and in courtrooms across the country. At Durham Court Reporting we're proud to have professional court reporters using all three methods on staff. To schedule your next deposition with Durham Court Reporting, use our online scheduling form or call 919-682-7757.