300 words a minute: A day in the life of a court reporter

Sandra Mierop is a certified real-time reporter in Alaska as well as around the country. She uses her skills to record legal proceedings, business meetings, generate closed captioning for television and even help deaf people. She is even able to send live transcripts to people while something is being said. (John Dougherty/KTVF)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Court reporters use a stenotype to accurately record what is being said into print form.

“Anything that requires a verbatim transcript, I write word for word what's being said in the venue," said Sandra Mierop, a certified real-time reporter.

Different states have different names for the profession, court reporter, stenographer, shorthand reporter. In Alaska they are called real-time reporters.

Sandra Mierop is a certified real-time reporter in Alaska as well as around the country.

"The machine contains about, I think, 26 keys, it has four "s's" on it. I write syllables, I take words and I pare them down into syllables," Mierop said.

The machine allows her to type extremely fast. "Yesterday I hit 300 words a minute," she said.

To become certified in New Jersey and Texas she had to be able to write 4 people speaking at 225 words a minute.

She clarified that even though many people call it typing, they are actually writing.

"Everybody thinks, 'Oh you're typing on a typewriter,' but it's mostly like playing chords on a piano," Mierop said.

She uses her skills to record legal proceedings, business meetings, generate closed captioning for television and even help deaf people. She is even able to send live transcripts to people while something is being said.

She said that even with advancements in artificial intelligence, humans are still the only ones that can accurately report on what people say. However, she said there is a shortage of court reporters across the country.
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