SAN ANTONIO – Court reporters are often barely visible in the courtroom during a trial since they are seated in the courtroom near the judge and the witness stand, but the work that they do is critical to the judicial system.
A court reporter must make a written record of every word spoken and do it fast.
“It is an incredibly hard job,” said 227th District Court Judge Kevin O’Connell.
O’Connell, by his own admission, is a fast speaker.
“My court reporter is a saint to deal with me," he said with a smile.
Certification requires that a court reporter must be able to write 225 words per minute. That is a challenge since most people speak upwards of 300 words per minute.
“We literally, at the Court of Criminal Appeals, could not do our jobs (if it weren’t for) your good work,” 4th Court of Criminal Appeals Chief Justice Sandee Bryan Marion told several dozen court reporters assembled on the steps of the courthouse on Monday during the presentation of a proclamation.
The proclamation was issued by the mayor and city council to honor the court reporters.
“It is a skill that must be developed,” court reporter Mary Berry said. “It might look easy, but it is not that easy to do.”
“It’s interesting because every day is different,” court reporter Judy Stewart said. “After 26 years, I still love it every day.”
2020 National & Court Reporting & Captioning Week runs from Feb. 8 to Feb. 15.