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Machine shorthand reporter

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Summary of occupation

Machine shorthand reporters (transcript typists) document court and parliamentary proceedings, television broadcasts, and meetings or conferences, and translate them into written records. They make verbatim (word for word) recordings of these proceedings using keyboards or stenotype machines, and they may also operate audio recording equipment. They may be required to read portions of transcripts aloud during trials on request from the judge. Transcript typists also prepare reports and letters, as well as other documentation for publication or electronic transmission. Transcript typists work mostly in Western Australia's cities and large towns, where the State's courts, Parliament House, television broadcasters and larger companies are located.

ANZSCO description: Records and reproduces the spoken word in court and parliamentary proceedings, television programming and for the deaf and hearing impaired using handwritten shorthand, stenotype  shorthand machines, computer-assisted transcription software and  sound recording equipment.
Alternative names: Shorthand Typist, Stenographer, Transcript Typist, Transcriptionist
Specialisations: Braille Transcriber, Court Reporter, Hansard Reporter, Realtime Reporter, Stenocaptioner
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A transcript typist needs:

  • fast and accurate typing skills
  • excellent computer and word processing skills
  • the ability to remain seated for extended periods of time
  • great listening skills
  • an extensive vocabulary, excellent spelling and grammar
  • the ability to stay focussed for long periods of time.
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Working conditions

Transcript typists work in courtrooms, parliaments, and at other official proceedings such as board meetings or conferences. They may work for state or federal governments, private contracting firms, or as independent contractors. Their work hours usually depend on the type of event or proceeding they are transcribing - while court and parliamentary proceedings take place during regular business hours - board meetings, conferences and conventions often take place outside regular hours. Transcript typists may be exposed to confidential information and must maintain confidentiality at all times.

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Salary details

On average, machine shorthand reporters, classified under keyboard operators, can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a machine shorthand reporter develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Transcript typists use shorthand-writing machines, computers with word processing and digital transcribing software, and other office equipment. They may also use tape recording equipment, and access reference materials, such as the Internet and specialist legal search engines.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a machine shorthand reporter without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a course in machine shorthand. The Steno School, in South Australia, offers a machine shorthand course through distance education. Contact the college for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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