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What You Should Know About Certified Shorthand Reporters and Their Services

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Certified shorthand reporting professionals - called certified shorthand reporters or CSRs - transcribe passages from notes taken of dictated records or legal proceedings. Only individuals certified by the Board of Regents may use the certified shorthand reporter title.

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Court reporters record and transcribe legal proceedings; they may or may not have State certification.

Certified shorthand reporters, who are professionals certified by the New York State Board of Regents, perform a range of services - court reporting, freelance reporting, and real-time reporting such as closed captioning of live events.

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New York CSRs have a high school diploma or its equivalent as well as a minimum of three years' experience as full-time verbatim shorthand reporters. They may also have had 1,300 hours of instruction in manual or machine shorthand reporting from a postsecondary school or private instruction. These studies typically focus on shorthand skills on three- or four-voice dictation of material; grammar, vocabulary and punctuation; medical and legal terminology; and court or hearing procedures.

In addition, New York CSRs have passed a five-part examination administered by the New York State Board for Certified Shorthand Reporting.

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CSRs offer a range of transcription services, including the following:

  • Freelance reporting (self-employed or through agencies)
  • Court reporting
  • Real-time reporting services, such as closed captioning
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No. Only individuals certified by the Board of Regents may use the CSR title, but anyone may offer reporting services - even those who are not licensed.

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The most reliable source of information may be a recommendation from a satisfied friend, relative, or colleague. You may also check under "Reporters-Certified Shorthand" in the yellow pages of your phone book. Professional associations may also provide the names of their members who offer services in your area.

The State Board for Certified Shorthand Reporting cannot refer you to a certified shorthand reporter.

To help your professional relationship with your CSR, you should:

  • Describe fully the services you wish the CSR to provide
  • Ask the CSR to provide a complete estimate of the costs associated with each service to be provided

In turn, your CSR should:

  • Treat you with courtesy and respect
  • Complete all assignments and provide all work products within the agreed on time
  • Identify any viable alternatives and options
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All information received by the certified shorthand reporter in the course of providing services to you is confidential unless you authorize its release in writing.

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Ask such questions as whether the service location is physically accessible (curb cuts, ramps, restrooms, etc.) as well as whether there is a Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and parking for people with disabilities. You may also ask if the practitioner makes house calls.

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New York certified shorthand reporters must display a current New York registration certificate; this certificate lists the professional's name, address, and dates of the registration period. Certified shorthand reporters must reregister every three years to practice in New York. Some professionals also display their original New York license, diploma, licenses from other states, and membership certificates. You may verify an individual's license and registration.