Governor Cooper has proclaimed February 8 - 15 as Court Reporting and Captioning Week in North Carolina. This week of recognition was announced by the North Carolina Association of Official Court Reporters and is intended to highlight the important work of court reporters and captioners. It's also an opportunity to celebrate accomplishments within the industry, and to educate the public on the vital role of the court reporter in the legal system and the valuable service the court reporter provides in capturing the official record.
First recognized in 2013, National Court Reporting and Captioning Week provides a nationwide opportunity to recognize the hard work and invaluable contributions of court reporters and captioners, a profession whose history was born at the rise of civilization with scribes who have been present and served as impartial witnesses to history throughout time. In Ancient Egypt, scribes were considered to be the literate elite, recording laws and other important documents. They were present, too, with our Nation’s founding fathers as the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were drafted and were later entrusted by President Lincoln to record the Emancipation Proclamation.
More recently, they are known as court reporters and continue to play a permanent and invaluable role in courtrooms across North Carolina. They are certified as able to translate the spoken word into text at a rate of at least 225 words per minute. During the 2019 calendar year, our Judicial Branch court reporters completed more than 340,200 pages of transcript in more than 1,492 cases, with an average delivery time of 77 days.
Captioners, who use the same skill and systems as court reporters but provide services in a different arena, are responsible for the closed captioning seen scrolling across television screens, at sporting stadiums, and in other community and educational settings, bringing information to millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans every day. In North Carolina, they often assist jurors who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Whether called the scribes of yesterday or the court reporters and captioners of today, these individuals preserve our history and are truly the guardians of the record.
Resolutions honoring court reporters and captioners and setting aside the week in their recognition are being adopted in Congress and state legislatures throughout the country, and other programs, ceremonies, and educational activities are planned in various locations nationwide throughout the week.