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The traveling stenographer

Giselle Mitchell-Margerum (rear) with a friend in Dubai

By Giselle Mitchell-Margerum

“Excuse me, are you interested in working abroad in Asia? Leave your card with us and we’ll be sure to contact you.” There I was, taking a casual stroll in the vendor hall at the NCRA Conference in San Francisco, and I got the offer that would change the trajectory of my professional career.

My name is Giselle Mitchell-Margerum (SKWREUFP), RPR, CRI, and I am an international realtime stenographer. I hail from the twin island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. I didn’t expect the firm to contact me after that day as I lived extremely far from Asia, but one week later they did! After two realtime tests with dense material consisting of Singaporean court and an Indonesian deposition, there I was, checking in to my first flight to Hong Kong for two weeks of depositions and then on to Singapore for the High Court.

Seoul, Korea

In the ensuing nine years I have worked in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, India, Guam, Saipan, Dubai, and Italy, just to name a few. I have also lived in Korea for two years out of the nine. In total, I have actually lived and worked in four countries. Five, if you count my one-year resident status for Hong Kong. I am now in the U.S., which has cut down considerably on my commute from the Caribbean, which sometimes would be as much as 29 hours.


Life as a travelling realtime stenographer definitely has its perks. It enables one to discover the world in a way that would not have been possible otherwise. To experience the rich culture and cacophony of India. The food in Italy. The beaches and warmth of Guam propelled me back onto my home island after missing such while living in Korea.

Sorrento, Italy

There are cons as well. Missing birthdays and important occasions back home. Twisting one’s ankles while running on a tight layover because 30 attorneys are depending on your realtime in Delhi for the coming week. Arriving at your final destination and your business attire not arriving for the next three days (true story).

I would advise anyone considering travel to be on top of their game. Hone your realtime skill. Attorneys and arbitrators will point out your errors on the record. Invest in yourself. Be up to date on your support and au courant with your program. You don’t want to be on the other side of the world, in a different time zone, and be a headless chicken. Buy two of everything that’s essential to perform your duties, except your software. Read up on the country you are visiting. Something as simple as their voltage can trip you up! Pun intended.

These 10 speedy fingers have been my passport to the world, and I am forever grateful for that one chance meeting, and a firm taking a gamble on this lil’ island girl. The journey continues!  

Giselle Mitchell-Margerum, RPR, CRI, is a freelancer based in Powder Springs, Ga. She can be reached at