The Guardian

College of Court Reporting est. 1984

February 2018


By Tari Kramer
The reasons for avoiding realtime can go on and on; but, in the end, you're still at the same place where you started – not writing realtime and not keeping up with the court reporting Joneses. You are letting your fears dictate your decisions. Franklin D. Roosevelt's words echo in the background every time you shy away... "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

This article will discuss consequences and suggested methods for overcoming one's fear of writing realtime and achieving the ultimate goal of successfully providing realtime to the end user.

Fear... what a bugaboo that is! It cripples our attempts to grow, expand, and enhance ourselves. It is a perceived threat to our psyche. We genuinely believe that something bad will happen if we try to conquer it. So how do we conquer it? More specifically, how do we begin to write realtime to the end user and just not sweat it?

First we need to understand why we want to write realtime. Why should we even do something we don't want to do in the first place? No one sets a goal to achieve something they are not interested in. You have to be motivated to be a realtime reporter in the first place. So are you? If you are, read on, and let's work toward that realtime goal. Otherwise, this is where you stop reading and stay in the same place until someone else comes along and takes your assignments and/or full-time court position because they can write realtime.

Sorry if this sounds harsh. It's a reality. If there's one paradigm shift that has occurred in our industry, it's the move to realtime writing. Realtime is king, and it is here to stay. It distinguishes us from someone pushing "record" on a tape recorder. It is the litmus test of good reporters honing their skills versus reporters who just want to get by. Gone are those days when we could hide behind our machine and make excuses for why we didn't do realtime, and everyone bought it. Now the attorneys are informed. They want it. They adore it. Some cannot live without it now. They've been fed the realtime feed and want more. So why would you want to stay back in the 1990s and continue making excuses? "Oh... yes... the dreaded fear factor.

Google's definition of hear is "an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat."

So we psychologically believe that writing realtime to an attorney or judge is going to bring about a form of pain and/or discomfort. Well, that makes sense. Who wants to feel awkward or outside their comfort zone, or even pain? Human nature says no! So what do we do then, when we work in a field where technology is pushing us towards it and we are pushing back at every chance? We conquer our fear. That's what we do! But how?

You can research all kinds of articles about tips and tricks to conquer fear. You can practice different techniques. Ultimately, you've got to do what works for you. If there's on thing about the human brain that rings true, it doesn't overcome anything unless it is put to the test. We don't become strong and confident in life by sitting back and hiding. No. Humans are tested and overcome adversity, then they look back and see the journey they were on and take pride in how they made it through trying times.

You know that feeling you get when you've overcome something challening in your life? It doesnt have to be huge. Maybe you wanted to ride a roller coasterand just couldnt do it because you feared the what ifs. But then you rode that ride, and you stepped off feeling confident and like a wiiner. It's exhilarating, isn't it? You ponder what you went through, the way you handled it, how you dealt with your fear head on and persevered. It really empowers you. That's exactly what you are going to feel when you overcome your realtime fears, I felt like I had climbed over a mountain, went downhill. and started riding the money train. I didn't get there by just trowing myself into the fire and sinking or swimming. If fact, I didn't really start to feel confident until the last couple of years, despite having my RMR and CRR for several years no.

In order to gain enough confidence to overcome your fear of writing realtime for a client, you've got to have enough confidence in yourself to do it! and guess what? I've got a little cheat sheet I use that ha really helped me in this regard. It's attache at the end. Feel free to peruse that little gem and then come back, and lets talk further about overcoming that fear.
Big picture
So you're back! What did you think of the "Realtime Tips" cheat sheet? It's been an excellent tool for me to use with the client. The reason it has been so useful is because the client, before we get started, understands why they will see untrans or drops on the screen. They understand that realtime is not perfect. I am not perfect and will be challenged at times during the proceeding. If you have this notion in your head that you have to be writing prefect before you can provide reealtime feed, please dispel that.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying throw up the junk on the screen for all to read. You do have to practice, and you do have to build up your dictionary. And strongly recommend getting your RMR so your speed is up in the 260s, which will help when they get to speaking fast. But you don't have to win every speed contest under the sun in order to do this.

What you've got to have to do realtime is, one, self-confidence, and two, speed and accuracy.

Most of you, if you've been working toward the realtime goal, have already been working on your speed and accuracy. It's the confidence part that's holding you back, right? That lack of confidence comes from a fear of "an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat." In other words, fear sucks.

So back to what we originally started talking about: how to overcome fear. Overcoming fear, I believe, requires building your self-confidence and having tools in place to help you feel confident in the moment. Hopefully that "Realtime Tips" cheat sheet will help. If not that, some variation will do. I always hand it to the attorneys (it's laminated) before the procedding. I ask them to give it a quick glance and ask if they have any questions. I then reiterate to them that realtime is not perfect, that they will see some garbled outlines on their screen, and that they can help facilitate a good feed by speaking one at a time and ata comfortable speed. You could even create a blurb you could stroke out for times when writing gets challenging. It could say something to the effect of "Please speak one at a time" or "Please adjust your rate of speech to allow for accurate transccription."

And for those times when everything is going wrong, your writing sucks, you're not getting it, and the attorneys are jerks, keep in mind that those occasions are few and far between, but it does happen once in a while. You know how to handle that? I educate and in for the attorneys of why the feed is the way it is. Their case-specific terminology is unique, they need to speak one at a time, I'm just having a bad day; whatever the reasons is, it's not going to be perfect writing. Believe me, they view you as a superior reporter already if you are able to provide them realtime. While you can't account for everyone, for the most part, the attorneys and judges are willing to work with you to get that realtime. They just need to be informed and enlightened.

In summary, realtime writing is not rocket science. It's not harder than it seems, It's not that scary. Fear has convinced you that it is all of those things. I encourage you to resolve in your mind to remove that fear. Focus on creating a confident realtime atmosphere that will build your self-confidence. Educate the consumer on what it is and what it is not so that they don't have unrealistic expectations. When you do these things, you are ensuring success in your realtime endeavors. Fear not!

Reprinted form


Welcome to The Guardian version of the Job Drawer! Each month we'll highlight some jobs that are currently advertising vacancies while taking special note in our "Indiana Spotlight" of Indiana court reporting agencies, courts, captioning services, or CART providers that are interested in hiring.

Indiana Spotlight: Indiana Task Force on Public Defense

The Indiana Task Force on Public Defense requires transcription of the testimony from upcoming community forums to be conducted around the State. Applicants may apply to transcribe one or multiple events, depending on ability to travel. These events would require in-person attendance but would not require simultaneous transcription (realtime). Pay is dependent on experience but begins at $30/hour.

The dates and locations are as follows:

1/26 – Indianapolis

2/9 – Indianapolis

2/15 – Fort Wayne

3/20 – Evansville

3/22 – Jeffersonville

3/27 – Valparaiso

Hires will be considered contractors with the State of Indiana and will be paid with a W-9. Applicants must not be current state employees. For more information please contact Kathleen Casey at or at 317-650-8043.

PLEASE NOTE: Many Indiana agencies are looking to hire court reporters! Contact Natalie Kijurna at if you have any questions or want more information.

  • Official Court Reporter (multiple), Hennepin County Dist. Ct., Minneapolis, MN
Please click here for more information.

  • Official Court Reporter (multiple), Hennepin County Dist. Ct., Minneapolis, MN

Please click here for more information.

  • Official Court Reporter, Unified Judicial System, Madison, SD
Please click here for more information.

  • Official Reporter(s), Illinois Judicial Circuits, various, IL
Please click here for more information.

  • Court Reporter - State, Circuit Court of Jackson County, Kansas City, MO
Please click here for more information.

  • Court Specialist II, Municipal Court, Englewood, CO
Please click here for more information.

  • Court Reporter, U.S. Dist. Ct., St. Paul, MN
Please click here for more information.

  • 459th District Court Reporter, Civil Court, Austin, TX
Please click here for more information.

  • Freelance Court Reporters, Esquire, various
Please click here for more information.

  • Official Court Reporter, Judicial Districts, Scotland County, NC
Please click here for more information.

  • Official Court Reporter, Judicial Districts, Edgecombe County, NC
Please click here for more information.

  • Court Reporter/Transcriptionist, District Court, Helena, MT
Please click here for more information.

what to bring on a reporting assignment

By Robin Nodland

  • Professional appearance
  • Professional demeanor
  • State and national association memberships
  • State and national certifications


  • Stenowriter with Bluetooth connection and tripod
  • Writer cable (when Bluetooth dies)
  • Manual for writer
  • Support contract for writer
  • Laptop with sticker re:recording
  • Sound card
  • CAT software key
  • CAT software manual
  • CAT software support contract with 800 phone number
  • Two microphones
  • Laptop stand with tripod
  • Coolpad
  • Power strip with long cord
  • DepoBook or notebook
  • Exhibit stickers
  • Business cards
  • Pens
  • Two USB jump drives
  • Extra tote for exhibits
  • Worksheet for assignment
  • Notice of deposition, if available
  • Directions to assignment, if needed


  • Post-its
  • Granola/protein bars
  • Lunch money
  • Parking money
  • Cough drops
  • Kleenex
  • Water bottle and/or coffee
  • Mints
  • Highlighter
  • Red pen
  • Pill box with: Tylenol, ibuprofen, asprin, allergy medicine
  • Spare smartphone charger (grateful attorneys have used it to charge up more than once.)

Realtime jobs

  • Stenocast
  • Router
  • Netbook(s) with realtime software
  • iPad with MyView
  • RSA shortcut book
  • Realtime/rough draft disclaimer


  • Form for "court reporter is the official record"

Reprinted from JCR

Stay up to date with CCR events by following us on social media!

Big picture

If you just can't get enough of us, click on the link below to follow our blog!

College of Court Reporting

The online education you want. The quality you deserve.