primary technology used by court reporters is computer aided transcription,
or CAT. In simple terms, the reporter writes on a machine, which
generates a digital output, which is then sent to a computer, either
by a cable or wireless connection. The CAT software translates this
digital signal into English, which may be immediately displayed
on one or more monitors, or saved in a transcript file. The file
may be edited, proofed and printed. The transcript provides most
of a freelance reporter's income; for officials, it represents a
source of income in addition to their base salary.
basic CAT system has been around since the seventies. The school's
first system was installed in the early eighties. However, these
were large, commercial mini computers costing tens of thousands
of dollars. Today, reporters (and the school) use current personal
computers running Windows. The equipment cost is significantly less,
and the software far more sophisticated.
practically all hearing transcripts are produced by CAT. In addition
to a printed copy of the transcript and a full-word index, there
may also be a digital version on DVD which may include synchronized
video and audio. This package of services may also be delivered
by e-mail or a secure online service.
school open house includes a demonstration of CAT equipment.