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Important Facts to Know About The National Court Reporters Association

National Court Reporters Association

What is the National Court Reporters Association?

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) is considered to be the authoritative institution responsible for not only the regulation of certifications granted to Stenographers, also known as Court Reporters, but also for the oversight of the practice of legal transcription and court reporting.

The NCRA began as an institution specializing in shorthand with regard to the provision of expedited and accurate transcription of events. The National Court Reporters Association utilizes The Phrase Book of Pitmanic Shorthand with regard to the instruction of authorized legal and medical transcription.

With regard to their accreditation process, the National Court Reporters Association accredits fewer than 90 Stenography Educational Facilities. In many cases, a certification from an NCRA-accredited institution will be required for employment.

What is a National Court Reporters Association Certified Court Reporter?

Court Reporting, or Stenography, is the practice of legal transcription of speech into text taking place within a court hearing or trial performed by Court Reporters, who are licensed and certified professionals. Stenography positions are classified as legal occupations requiring earned certifications from NCRA-accredited institutions.

The mastery of Stenography requires the ability to produce accurate and expedited legal transcription of speech within a legal venue, which is accomplished through the proficiency in shorthand, stenography, and typing skills.

A Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) is the most common type of legal transcription certification, the National Court Reporters Association requires prospective court reporters to become proficient in the utilization of shorthand, stenography, and typing skills in order to ensure the production of accurate and expedited transcription of speech.

Equipment Regulated by the National Court Reporters Association

Court Reporting involves the use of the following equipment in order to provide for the transcription of oral speech into textual format:


A Stenotype, oftentimes referred to as a Stenograph machine, is a device that resembles a typewriter used by a Stenographer for the purpose of transcription. The stenotype was patented in 1879. Unlike a traditional typewriter, a stenograph machine contains only 25 individual keys and does not rely on the operation of the ‘QWERTY’ traditional keyboard format, in contrast to traditional keyboards typically associated with computers and typewriters.

National Court Reporters Association approved Stenotypes possess fewer keys, in addition to keys representing ‘whole’ words determined to be the most common within legal proceedings, allowing for the transcription of words in lieu of individual keys representative of individual letters.

Thyra D. Ellis is considered amongst the pioneers of stenography who assisted in the development of the requirements necessary for satisfaction by an individual stenographer interested in becoming a Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), which includes a standard for words-per-minute typed, the mastery of legal shorthand, and the adherence to the protocol required of legal transcription. Many of Ellis’s standards have been implemented by the National Court Reporters Association.

Standard legal transcriptions may involve the production of legal transcripts ranging from 100 to 300 words recited per minute.

Chording is a typing method utilized within the field of Stenography allowing court reporters to adequately and accurately transcribe legal hearing through the pressing of multiple keys in a single stroke. Chording allows stenographers to transcribe whole words in lieu of typing the word in a ‘letter-by-letter’ fashion, which results in stenography taking place in a ‘real time’ setting.

Alternative Equipment Recognized by the National Court Reporters Association

Court Reporting undertaken through the utilization of voice recognition technology relies on the digital processing of the distinctive and specific nuances latent within the human speaking voice. The National Court Reporters Association ensures the accuracy of utilization of this particular technology through certification that includes the proficiency in both proofreading and editing.

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