How to become a Machine Shorthand Reporter

Machine shorthand reporters produce word-for-word transcripts of the spoken word in both live and recorded form for parliament, courts of law, medical purposes, television programmes, business conferences and lectures. Sound recording involves three stages: first, monitors record the proceedings using a digital audio recording system; then machine shorthand reporters transcribe the digital audio file onto a computer; and finally transcript checkers edit the hard copy of the transcript for accuracy against the audio.

Personal requirements of a Machine Shorthand Reporter

  • good hearing and concentration
  • fast and accurate machine-writing skills
  • able to work under pressure
  • wide vocabulary and sound knowledge of spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • broad general knowledge, particularly in current affairs and politics
  • interested in parliament and courts and their procedures
  • comfortable with new technology.
Related courses

Duties & Tasks of a Machine Shorthand Reporter

Machine shorthand reporters may perform the following tasks:

  • operate and monitor sound recording equipment
  • list the speakers in court proceedings and log major events
  • record proceedings from digital audio recordings using a computer or electronic shorthand machine
  • use computer-aided transcription (CAT), which translates the shorthand recorded by the electronic shorthand machine onto a computer screen, enabling transcription in real time
  • produce captions for television programmes
  • research terminology used
  • edit transcripts for syntax and grammar
  • read back portions of notes or replay a recording on request.

Working conditions for a Machine Shorthand Reporter

Machine shorthand reporters who produce transcripts in real time need a shorthand speed of at least 200 words per minute.par Court recorders and court reporters usually work during court hours. Hansard (parliament) reporters work long, irregular hours.par Captioners work shifts to cover television programming at the originating television station's premises or from home. Computer assisted real-time (CART) reporters work in different locations, such as courtrooms, university campuses, or at conferences.



A captioner produces online captions (or subtitles) of spoken word, environmental sounds (laughter, for example) and song lyrics in real time for television programming using an electronic shorthand machine and computer-aided transcription software. The transcription (in captions) then becomes part of the television broadcast.

Computer Assisted Real-Time (CART) Reporter

A computer assisted real-time (cart) reporter provides a word-to-text service for the deaf and hearing-impaired, usually in a meeting or university lecture environment. These words are projected onto a laptop or a larger screen via a data projector. Real-time reporting is also used in the courts, as well as Hansard and business environments to provide instantaneous translation.

Court Recorder

A court recorder using digital equipment, records the proceedings at various courts of law (the family, civil, criminal, arbitration and industrial courts) or at Royal Commissions, enquiries and public hearings. Sound is recorded and notes of the main events are taken.

Court Reporter

A court reporter uses computer-aided transcription (CAT) technology to provide transcripts to courts and tribunals. These transcripts are displayed instantly on computers in the hearing room or to computers anywhere in the world via the internet.

Hansard Reporter

A hansard reporter records the daily proceedings in the chambers of state, territory and federal parliaments, and in their committees and ministerial conferences.

Related careers