A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Middle East District court reporter became the first Soldier to complete the Marine Corps court reporter course. Sgt. 1st Class Jason Trumbull attended the course at the Naval Justice School in Rhode Island.
Trumbull has since been assigned as a court reporter for the Middle East District, a position previously contracted out. Paralegal specialist Jeremiah Scheler explained that the district’s move to obtain an on-site court reporter instead of contracting the work out will save more than $100,000 of government expenses each year. This cost savings includes the purchasing of the equipment Trumbull will need to perform his duties.
Trumbull enrolled in the Marine Corps course after finding out that the Army had no openings in its program. The decision saved him months of waiting to attend classes and begin to attain the skills for his new career.
The coursework included learning the voice writing court reporting method instead of the traditional typing or stenography method. In the voice writing method, court reporters use a microphone which is soundproof and covers the reporter’s mouth. The reporter then repeats everything that is spoken during the court proceedings which are then transcribed by computer and later edited by the court reporter for a final transcript.
Students are trained to be able to speak a minimum of 240 words per minute in contrast to conversational language which is typically 110 to 150 words per minute. Punctuation and grammar is also an important part of the course, utilizing almost half the class time.
Military court reporters are often deployed internationally as well as stateside and some are even stationed near the front lines of war zones. Trumbull was deployed in 2012 as a court reporter. When he returned from his assignment he went back into the medical field before deciding to attend the Marine Corps course.