History Podcasts

Hiring professionals to transcribe historical documents

Hiring professionals to transcribe historical documents

I'm sorry if this question sounds strange but I'm not sure where else in the world to post it.

I have an eighteenth-century will that I'd like to be able to read, but I have very little practice in the art and find the document difficult to parse:

Are there professionals whom one can hire to transcribe a document of this sort? I would be grateful for any advice others can offer on this question.

The short answer is yes.

The detail will depend on where in the world you are based. In the UK, for example, we have the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives. Their website includes a search form to help you find a researcher who can help you with this kind of research.

However, having said that, I suggest having a look at the palaeography resources on the UK National Archives website. It can be a fairly straightforward process - when you get your eye in - and it is usually far more satisfying to transcribe these documents yourself.

Transcription Projects - Contract work

I previously worked as a transcriptionist for the financial sector but have found immense pleasure in transcribing historical manuscripts. I am disabled and can only work small amounts per day from home. I was wondering if there is a market for our skills outside of volunteering? I'm happy to volunteer but thought it might be something to look into on a contract basis where I could do a project at a time. I would love any advice.

Re: Transcription Projects - Contract work
National Archives Catalog 28.02.2019 11:24 (в ответ на Tenille Martin)

At the National Archives, transcription work is done by volunteers.  Unfortunately, I don't have any suggestions on where you may find paid work.  Hopefully another member of this community may have some ideas.

If you decide to volunteer we h ave many volunteer opportunities to transcribe and tag historical records online in the National Archives Catalog. This work can be done online from any computer, anywhere, at any time. You can do as little or as much as you want. Everything helps!

You can visit our Citizen Archivist Missions page anytime where we always have missions and individual records to work on. We update this page on a regular basis, so check back often to see what's new. 

If you are new to transcribing, take a look at our Register and Get Started page to sign up for an account, and we also we recommend visiting our Resources page on our dashboard. This page contains step-by-step instructions, as well as video tutorials and guides to walk you through the process.

If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at [email protected]   We are happy to help answer specific questions as you begin to contribute.

Community Manager, National Archives Catalog

Re: Transcription Projects - Contract work

You might try Transcription Express or Tigerfish.   Both companies have extensive websites that describe the process and have careers sections. 

Folklife Festival Narrative Session: Radio Bilingue Linea Abierta (with George Abe and others)

Hosted by Chelis Lopez and Samuel Orozco, Línea Abierta of California's Radio Biligue is the first and only national live talk and call-in program in public broadcasting interconnecting Spanish-speaking audiences and newsmakers throughout the United States and Mexico. During the Festival, the hosts recorded live interviews from "The Studio" stage with Folklife Festival participants, providing visitors with a glimpse into the radio production process. In this session, Lopez and Orozco are joined by presenter Ranald Woodaman and FandangObon members George Abe, Elaine Fukumoto, Nancy Sekizawa, Sean Miura, and Nobuko Miyamoto to discuss participatory music and dance traditions, with a focus on the connections between fandango son jarocho of Veracruz, Mexico, and the Japanese Buddhist ritual of obon. This narrative session was a part of the Sounds of California program at the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

What Are The Requirements For Doing Transcription?

  • A Desktop or laptop
  • Good internet connection
  • Word Processing software such as Microsoft office
  • Any audio playback software
  • Good headphones. Check out the recommended headphone, which ensures clear, crisp sound.
  • A Foot pedal for controlling play, rewind & pause using the foot. Please note it isn’t necessary, but if you can use it, your transcription work will be much faster.

Interact with the transcript

Your transcript is associated with the document it’s attached to until you remove it. If you close and reopen the pane or close and reopen the document, the transcript remains saved with the document.

You can interact with the transcript in a few different ways.

Access the audio file

The audio file, whether recorded or uploaded, is saved to the Transcribed Files folder in OneDrive.

Play back the audio

Use the controls at the top of the Transcribe pane to play back your audio. The relevant transcript section highlights as it plays.

Select the timestamp of any transcript section to play that portion of audio.

Change the playback speed up to 2x.

Relabel a speaker or edit a section

The transcription service identifies and separates different speakers and labels them "Speaker 1," "Speaker 2," etc. You can edit the speaker label and change all occurrences of it to something else. You can also edit the content of a section to correct any issues in transcription.

In the Transcribe pane, hover over a section you want to edit.

Select the Edit transcript section icon.

Edit the content or change the label. To change all instances of a label, select Change all Speaker [x].

To save your changes, select the Confirm icon.

Add a transcript to the document

Unlike Dictate, Transcribe doesn't automatically add the audio to the document. Instead, from the Transcribe pane, you can add the entire transcript, or specific sections of it, to the document.

To add a specific transcript section, hover over the section and select the Add section to document icon.

To add the entire transcript to the document, select Add all to document.

To delete the transcript or create a new one, select New transcription. You can only store one transcript per document if you create a new transcript for the document, the current transcript will be deleted. However, any transcript sections you've added to the document remain in the document, but not in the Transcribe pane.

Rename a recorded audio file

You can rename an audio file that has been recorded.

Go to the Transcribed Files folder in OneDrive, or at the top of the Transcribe pane, click the name of the recording. When the audio player interface appears, close it to return to the Transcribed Files folder.

Find your recording, then select Actions > Rename and rename the recording file.

Note: The Transcribed Files folder looks different depending on whether your OneDrive account is for a business or personal.

Close the Transcribe pane in Word and then reopen it to see the name update.

Sharing the transcript and recording

You can share the transcript with someone in two ways:

Select the Add all to document button to add the entire transcript to your document, then share the Word document as usual. The transcript will appear as regular text in the document and there will be a hyperlink to the audio file in the document.

Share the Word document as usual. The recipient can open the Transcribe pane to interact with the transcript. To protect your privacy, playback of the audio file is by default not available in the Transcribe pane for anyone that you share the Word document with.

You can also share the transcript and enable playback of the audio file in the Transcribe pane:

On your version of the Word document, click the filename at the top of the Transcribe pane to go to where the audio file is saved in OneDrive.

The Transcribed Files folder in OneDrive will open.

Find your recording, then select Actions > Share and add the email address of the person you want to share the recording with.

Also share the Word document as usual.

The person that you shared both the Word document and audio file with will be able to open the Word document, open the Transcribe pane, and interact with both the transcript and audio file.

Language availability and system requirements

Transcribe works with the language you have set up as your editing language in Office. Currently, only en-US is supported.

We're working to have Transcribe available in more locales and languages.

Transcribe requires an Internet connection.

Transcribe only works on the new Microsoft Edge and Chrome.

Many users of The National Archives are unable to visit our building to carry out their research in person. The Independent Researchers List was created to provide them with contact details of experienced researchers who can carry out research on their behalf.

If you would like to be included in the list of independent researchers, please download and complete this application form (PDF, 67 KB) and return it as an email attachment to [email protected]

Independent Researchers
Collections Expertise and Engagement
The National Archives
Kew, Richmond
Surrey TW9 4DU

Applications are invited from researchers with proven experience of researching in The National Archives, and of providing reports to clients. You should provide examples of research carried out in the areas where you would like to be included, and testimonials from two independent sources who are willing to attest to the quality and accuracy of your research and reporting.

When we have received your completed application, you may be required to attend an interview.

5. Rev

  • Expected Pay:

    7. CrowdSurf

    • Expected Pay:

      9. Tigerfish

      • Expected Pay: At least
        • Expected Pay:

          3. Transcript Divas

          • Expected Pay:

            5. Quicktate and iDictate

            • Expected Pay: general transcription = 0.0025 per word, medical transcription = 0.0050 per word iDictate = at least 0.0050 per word
            • Payment Mode: Weekly via PayPal
            • Qualifications: Experience required, $20 for background check
            • Availability: Medium

            With Quicktate, you’ll be asked to transcribe audio files that are less than 5 minutes long. These are usually memos, letters, and voicemails. Meanwhile, iDictate is for longer audio files like lectures, podcasts, and conference calls.

            Aside from requiring work experience, you’ll have to include 3 references that aren’t family members. You’ll also have to pay $20 for the background check. A copy of Express Scribe Pro which costs $70 is a must as well.

            .84 to $2.98 per audio minute
          • Payment Mode: Invoice processed within a week, paid via PayPal or bank transfer
          • Qualifications: With experience preferred but not required
          • Availability: Medium

          Transcript Divas is a great choice for transcribers that are looking for a flexible schedule and good pay. According to the company, their aim is to pay more than the average rate for transcriptionists in the USA.

          There are peak and off seasons in terms of the work available but that is common with companies in this industry. The Glassdoor and forum reviews are mostly positive except for their payment schedule which sometimes get delayed by a few days.

          .005 per word with 10% bonus for some shifts
        • Payment Mode: Twice a month by direct deposit or check
        • Qualifications: At least 60 wpm, US and Canada residents only, 1 year experience minimum, must have foot pedal
        • Availability: High

        SpeakWrite is constantly looking for general transcriptionists with at least a year of experience. Since their customer base is largely made up of legal, government, and law enforcement sector clients, they also welcome applicants with a background in law. Aside from having previous transcribing experience, candidates should also have a minimum typing speed of 60 wpm with at least 90% accuracy.

        Once you’ve passed, you need to have a foot pedal to accept work. You can also choose your own shifts but you must work a minimum of 15 hours per month to stay employed.

        .005 per word transcribed
      • Payment Mode: Weekly via PayPal
      • Qualifications: No experience needed, US residents only
      • Availability: Medium

      Tigerfish doesn’t require experience but they only accept US residents. You also need to have a telephone number where they can contact you, a Window-based PC, and, once you get accepted, a copy of PowerPlay which costs $229. You’ll have to invest and stay with Tigerfish for a while to recoup your losses. Fortunately, the company offers a relatively steady stream of work thanks to clients like USA Today, Airbnb, Wall Street Journal, and more.

      The company pays per word transcribed so the faster you work, the more that you earn. Typing bursts aside, let’s say you have an average typing speed of 50 wpm. This means that you can earn about $15 per hour. That’s quite a good rate for beginners.

      .03 to

      7. Audio Transcription Center

      • Expected Pay: $60 per audio hour for English, $150 per audio hour for foreign language
      • Payment Mode: Weekly by check
      • Qualifications: No experience needed, at least 75 wpm
      • Availability: Medium

      Most of the projects that Audio Transcription Center accept are for archives that will become historical records. This is why they require typing skills of at least 75 wpm with 98% accuracy. You’ll be asked to take an interest assessment exam so they can send you subjects which you are familiar with.

      Reviews describe the work they offer as interesting and varied. Meanwhile, the management is organized and supportive. On the downside, there are sometimes not enough work to do.

      .20 per media minute with additional bonus rates
    • Payment Mode: Paid through Work Market, from there withdraw funds via bank electronic transfer, Paypal, or WM Visa Card
    • Qualifications: No experience needed
    • Availability: Medium

    CrowdSurf specializes in creating captions for education, entertainment, and business videos to help the hearing-impaired and second language viewerst. The videos are divided into 5 to 30-second clips to make the task easier to distribute among different transcriptionists.

    Signing up is easy and all you need to do is pass the transcription assessment and provide a valid proof of your identity. In less than 5 days, you get an email with the login instructions.

    The pay is relatively low and there is sometimes not enough work to do. Maintaining an average quality control (QC) score of 3.5 and a 900 qualification standing are also necessary to stay employed. On the bright side, reviews say that the video clips are interesting and fun to caption.

    .30 to $1.10 per audio minute
  • Payment Mode: Weekly via PayPal
  • Qualifications: No experience needed
  • Availability: High

Rev is a large network of more than 60,000 freelancers with 100,000 global clients like Amazon, Google, and Facebook. You just need good listening skills, a relatively fast typing speed, a reliable Internet connection, and a computer to apply.

Once you’re accepted, you get to choose from the hundreds of projects that are posted each day. From recorded interviews and focus groups to lectures and podcasts, there’s a variety of projects available so you’ll never get bored.

1. Park ranger

National average salary: $14.33 per hour

Park rangers are knowledgeable naturalists and outdoor guides who often have backgrounds in history. If you&aposre seeking careers with a history degree that allow you to work at historical sites by sharing information with patrons, becoming a park ranger might be a good fit for you. As a park ranger, you might oversee the visitor center for a historical site, lead guided tours through a historic building or complex or prepare materials for visitors to consume.

Since county, state and national parks host many of the available positions in this field, park rangers have access to some of the best history degree jobs in government settings. If you&aposd rather work for a private or public organization, you can find select park ranger jobs at historical non-profits as well.

2. Museum archivist

National average salary: $52,389 per year

Museums specialize in displaying and interpreting historical artifacts. When you work at a museum, you&aposll get hands-on experience with art, artifacts and historical documents, no matter which role you decide to pursue. Museum archivists also appraise and research artifacts, and they often take responsibility for storage and preparation as well.

Archivists excel at organization and use databases and classification systems to track important objects and records. Museum curators acquire objects and build collections of artifacts or artwork for their institutions. They design exhibitions for the public or select groups to view, and they may also research or write about historical topics.

3. Librarian

National average salary: $56,275 per year

With your history degree, you likely developed abilities in finding information and analyzing sources. Librarians use these skills to help patrons find content, resources, research books and other publications as well as answer customer questions. You may also build databases for patrons and institutions or curate collections based on certain topics. Librarians also sometimes offer educational programs or teach patrons how to use tools and resources.

If you pursue a career as a librarian, you could work for a school or university, a highly specialized institution or a public organization. Depending on their areas of specialty and the types of history majors they employ, libraries may hire for entry-level history jobs or for advanced positions that require a Master&aposs Degree in Library Science. Librarians who can easily adapt to the latest technology are more competitive candidates as research shifts toward the digital sphere.

4. Writer or editor

National average salary: $56,366 per year

As you author research papers and historical essays for your degree, you will build skills in conducting research, communicating facts and sharing historical information in an engaging way. Jobs in writing and editing could be a good fit for using your history knowledge and writing skills.

You can become a nonfiction writer who specializes in select historical figures, events or locations, or a novelist who uses the past as inspiration for fictional stories. You can also handle speech writing for politicians and other leaders or pursue content writing for magazines and digital publications. If you excel at conceptualizing stories and perfecting the content that others have written in this field, seeking a career as an editor could be an option as well.

5. Business consultant

National average salary: $70,134 per year

Business consultants with a specialty in history commonly advise museums, institutions or historical sites. In this type of role, you&aposll serve as an expert on a specific topic, such as archives and preservation, or a certain time period, such as the prehistoric era or the Civil War.

As a consultant, you&aposll contract your services on a per-project basis, working for different organizations for weeks, months or years at a time. Since consultants lend their expertise and take on leadership roles, they have high earning potential. Because many organizations have funding that&aposs too limited for full-time hires but sufficient for project-based contractors, historical consultants may find substantial job growth in the next few years.

6. Lawyer

National average salary: $73,352 per year

Paralegals and legal assistants provide support for attorneys and law offices. In this role, your history degree can help you excel at legal research, gathering and analyzing evidence and drafting legal documents. You might also file briefs and appeals or review court transcripts. Since most professionals at this level have a bachelor&aposs degree, working as a paralegal can be a great entry-level job for history majors.

As a lawyer, you&aposll interpret laws and regulations and research and analyze legal precedents. You may also advise clients, represent them in court and argue on their behalf. Whether you work as a defense attorney, a prosecutor or legal counsel, you&aposll need an advanced degree to supplement your Bachelor of Arts in History. You will also need a J.D. degree from an accredited law school, which typically takes about three years of graduate-level education.

7. Researcher

National average salary: $73,587 per year

Professional researchers and market analysts are two of the most popular entry-level jobs for history majors.

As a research assistant, you&aposll work with a team to uncover information and gather data on specific topics. You will use your analytical and critical thinking skills to make observations and draw conclusions. In this role, you can work in a wide variety of industries and find employment in the public, private and government sectors.

Market analysts monitor trends and developments in a specific market and serve as experts on certain target markets and competitors. You&aposll collect data, analyze information and translate figures and trends into reports. Having a background in history can be a significant advantage for market analysts and researchers as your learned skills can help you interpret data and find patterns that point to future trends.

8. Historian

National average salary: $74,158 per year

In this profession, you will continue to build and master many of the skills you learned while working toward your history degree, from researching and analyzing to writing and presenting about historical matters of interest.

Professional historians study information from texts and artifacts, tie historical developments together, advise on preservation methods and prepare reports or books on select topics. Historians can work for private businesses, government agencies, nonprofit organizations or individual employers. Many historians travel extensively for their jobs, often if they are required to analyze original documents or artifacts.

While historians often work behind the scenes, many build public personas. For example, historians can publish books, offer presentations and classes or offer guidance to professional groups. Professional historians typically specialize in certain time periods, geographic areas or historical topics, serving as experts in these niches.

9. Reporter or journalist

National average salary: $37.66 per hour

While many historians write fiction or non-fiction, a history degree can also prepare you for a career as a reporter or journalist. With a degree in history, you&aposll have a strong understanding of the background of the issues you&aposre covering, which allows you to conduct high-quality investigations.

Although newspapers may be experiencing a decrease in circulation and staff numbers, journalists can still pursue exciting careers in the news industry. Reporters often create investigative content for online and print newspapers, while multimedia journalists often produce video-based stories for news outlets.

Whether you want to pursue full-time or freelance jobs, you can seek out a position as a reporter, correspondent or journalist. Most professionals in this field have a bachelor&aposs degree and relevant experience with writing, reporting and multimedia.

10. History professor

National average salary: $76,135 per year

If you have strong leadership skills and enjoy explaining history concepts to others, teaching could be a good career choice for you. History teachers work at every level of the education system, so you could work as a high school teacher in a public or private school or as a history professor in a state or private university.

High school history teachers typically plan lessons, assist students with assignments and administer tests and assignments to assess student progress. History teachers at this level may work with students in large classes or small groups. They may also take responsibility for working with individual students and communicating with parents.

University professors generally give lectures and meet with college students in small groups. They may also take responsibility for advising students about academic progress and goals. Unlike high school teachers, university professors often pursue history-related research and publish their work in addition to their teaching duties. While high school teachers generally need a bachelor&aposs degree, professors typically need a master&aposs degree or a Ph.D.

Want to learn more about the jobs you can get with a history degree? Explore history degree jobs by industry to find the career path that works for your unique skill set and interests.

Three-step-plan to find your ancestors in the Netherlands

  1. Contact Yvette and describe what you know, how you know it and what you would like to know next.
  2. Yvette will then create a proposal, and will indicate what the first phase of the research could be. This proposal includes suggestions for the type of research that is needed to solve your problems and for the goals of the first phase. A quote will be given for the first phase, including a suggested authorization for the maximum number of hours to be spent on the first phase.
  3. Once you authorize to spend a maximum number of hours, you will be asked to pay a 25% retainer and Yvette will then schedule your project. At the end of the phase, you will receive a report with an explanation of the findings and scans and abstracts of any original records consulted during the research.


The court reporter in some states is a notary by virtue of their state licensing, and a notary public is authorized to administer oaths to witnesses and who certifies that his or her transcript of the proceedings is a verbatim account of what was said, unlike a court recorder, who only operates recording machinery and sends the audio files for transcription over the internet. Many states require a court reporter to hold a certification obtained through the National Court Reporters Association or the National Verbatim Reporters Association, although some require their own state-specific licensing or certification.

Skills and training Edit

It typically takes anywhere from two to four years to learn the basic skills to become a stenographic court reporter. [ citation needed ] Applicants first learn to use the keyboard, which takes the most amount of time, and heavy academic training is also required. Training to learn the basic skills to become a voice writer reporter typically takes six to nine months at the minimum. To become real time proficient in voice writing can take years to pass certification. Candidates usually attend specialized certificate courses at private business schools, or sometimes associate's or bachelor's degree programs at accredited colleges or universities. [ citation needed ] Distance learning and online training courses are also available for both methods. After additional on-the-job training and experience, many court reporters then move on to real-time reporting.

Licensing Edit

Most states require that court reporters obtain a license via examination before being allowed to practice in that respective state, which ensures accountability to the state versus a corporation. Examinations include writing speed tests at 180 wpm, 200 wpm and 225 wpm, and a written examination to demonstrate proficiency in English, grammar, medical terminology, legal terminology, courtroom decorum, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 30, court reporting procedure and ethics.

Licensed court reporters are required to attend yearly continuing education courses of at least 10 hours in order to maintain active licensure. [4]

Professional associations and licensing entities Edit

There are two national stenographic court reporting associations in the United States: The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). For court recorders who operate machinery, there is The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT). Both the NCRA and NVRA require a minimum speed of 225 words per minute to qualify for certification. AAERT requires 98 percent accuracy on transcripts, and both reporters and transcribers must pass both a written and practical examination. Most of the country's highly skilled stenographic reporters tend to join either the NCRA or NVRA. Anyone can join the merely fee-based AAERT.

The NCRA offers the title Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) to those who pass a four-part examination, including a three-part skills exam and a written exam, and participate in continuing education programs. The NVRA offers the title Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) to those who pass a four-part examination, including both a skills and written exam, and participate in continuing education programs.

A reporter may obtain additional prestigious certifications that demonstrate an even higher level of competency such as Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), Certified Real-time Reporter (CRR), Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC), or Certificate of Merit (CM), Certified Broadcast Captioner (CBC), and Certified CART Provider (CCP) through the NCRA. However, both NCRA and NVRA associations offer equivalent examinations to test reporters for speed and competency on their method of reporting. Further certifications are granted by both associations to court reporters demonstrating skills as broadcast captioners and CART providers.

The Canadian Court Reporter John M. Weir (CVR) could voice-write 350 words per minute during legal hearings. American Stenographic Court Reporter Mark Kislingbury is the fastest court reporter. In 2004, he secured the honor in the Guinness World Record by writing 360 words per minute on his stenographic machine.

The AAERT offers electronic recorders and transcribers three certifications: certified electronic recorder (CER), certified electronic transcriber (CET), and certified electronic recorder and transcriber (CERT) for setup and use of basic recording equipment. Transcription, however, is not performed by the court recorder in most cases.

The International Alliance of Professional Reporters and Transcribers (IAPRT.org) is a member-based not-for-profit consortium engaged in the ongoing development of digital court recording and transcription, and guiding public and private court recording paraprofessionals worldwide toward the goal of producing as much of a verbatim and verifiable record as possible given the number of limits of even modern-day recording equipment.

Required skills of a licensed stenographic court reporter are excellent command of the language being spoken, attention to detail, exceptional hearing, and the ability to focus for long periods at a time. The most highly skilled court reporters can provide real-time transcription and have significant earning potential, with salaries up to six figures possible in some areas. [5]

Salary and job outlook Edit

In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to report a positive job outlook for stenographic court reporters. Median annual salary in 2010 was listed at $47,700 per year. [6] The top 10 percent of court reporters earned more than $91,280. [6] In May 2012, Forbes listed "stenographic court reporter" as one of the best jobs that does not require a four-year degree. [7] As of 2015, the median annual salary for a court reporter was $50,000. The actual amount can vary depending on whether the court reporter works in an in-court capacity as an "official" reporter or as a reporter of pre-trial discovery (depositions). Additionally, pay can vary based on whether the original and/or a copy of the transcript is ordered by any of the parties to the action. The growth rate of the profession was projected to be 2% to 3%, which is lower than the average of 7%, but the demand has remained high due to a national rise in litigation overall. [8]

As of 2012, Maryland employed the most court reporters, while New York has the highest average salary. [9] Some states have experienced budget cuts in recent years that have reduced the number of state-funded court reporters. This has resulted in law firms hiring stenographic court reporters directly, as they are independent contractors, to ensure proceedings are verbatim. [10] In 2019, the California Official Court Reporters Association was dissolved.

In England the salary range in 2014 for free court reporters vary, with realtime reporters earning $512.59 a day. [11]

Work Edit

Many stenographic court reporters work as freelance reporters or independent contractors in depositions and other situations that require an official legal transcript, such as arbitration hearings or other formal proceedings. "CART" providers, computer-aided real-time transcription, also often provide real-time services for public events, religious services, webcasts, and educational services. Stenographic or stenomask court reporting most often allow for a quality transcript produced on an hourly, daily, expedited or standard turnaround.

Stenographic court reporters working as broadcast captioners often contract with or by television producers and stations to provide real-time closed captioning of live programs for the hearing-impaired.

One difference between voice writing court reporters and stenographic court reporters is the method of making the record. The goal of a stenographer is to write verbatim what attorneys, witnesses, and others are saying in a proceeding when the parties are "on the record." The goal of a voice writer is to dictate verbatim what attorneys, witnesses, and others are saying in a proceeding. Though the methods of taking down the record are different, the role and duty requirements of the court reporter are the same. These skills of court reporters are primarily measured through certification exams and licensing, which is what protects litigants and the public.

The training on a stenograph machine requires the person to pass writing speed tests of up to 225 words a minute on their machine in the United States, as set forth by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) in the United States. [12] Only a small percentage of court reporting students per year are able to reach this lofty goal, but with NCRA's "A to Z Steno" program and virtual classrooms around the country, the number of stenographic court reporters is on the rise.

The training with voice writing equipment or stenomask requires the person to pass dictation speed tests of up to 225 words a minute in the United States, as set forth by the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA). A voice writer dictates the proceedings into a stenomask connected to a computer, and using voice recognition software, voice writers are able to create realtime transcripts, which means that a transcript is being created on the spot by the voice writer. Many voice writers offer their services as CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) providers to deaf individuals or individuals with hearing deficiencies. In addition, voice writers can work as broadcast captioners though stenographically trained reporters are preferred.

Multi-channel, digital audio allows for isolated playback of channels during transcription. This allows transcribers to listen from different vantage points when playing back the audio. This multi-channel feature especially helps during moments of extraneous noise such as laughter, shouting, coughing and sneezing, but it is still deemed inferior to having a stenographic reporter during the proceedings. The American Association of Electronic Recorders and Transcribers (AAERT) certifies recorders and transcribers. [13] AAERT certified recorders are trained to attempt to monitor the recording continuously during a proceeding and create simple notes, or a log, which are individually time-stamped. The time-stamps correspond with the location on the digital recording for playback either upon request during a proceeding or at a later time. The log notes provide any authorized person the opportunity to search and identify any segment of the proceeding they wish to review. Some courts train clerks or other court personnel to operate the digital recording equipment. While court systems benefit from the income from these systems directly, the equipment is maintained by outside vendors and staff cannot repair malfunctioning equipment even if aware of the problem. Courtroom monitors are responsible for listening to the recording through headphones while the proceeding occurs. However there is no way to ensure recording quality.