Voices are uncanny barometers of personality, but what I hear in court cases can be hard to forget

A year ago, feeling hopeless about my work as a freelance writer, I began to look for other ways to bring in money – something steadier to tide me over, with possibly even fair pay.

One night I saw a 50-something scientist talking on TV about her job dissatisfaction, how she’d left her position, moved to a coastal town with ocean views, and was loving the freedoms of being a remote court transcriber. I thought maybe I could do that and, while I didn’t move to a beach, I did go on to the website of Australia’s biggest court transcription company to investigate what such work involved.

Related: Court reporting is a dying art – and lawyers should be worried

Many people are unaccustomed to telling the truth, and they are prone to excitable, incoherent thinking.

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