The judge shall make such findings and orders, awards, or judgments as the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court or judge is authorized by law to make. Such findings, orders, awards, and judgments shall be signed by the judge before whom such proceedings were had. When proceedings are had before a judge of the compensation court, his or her findings, orders, awards, and judgments shall be conclusive upon all parties at interest unless reversed or modified upon appeal as hereinafter provided. A shorthand record or tape recording shall be made of all testimony and evidence submitted in such proceedings. The compensation court or judge thereof, at the party's expense, may appoint a court reporter or may direct a party to furnish a court reporter to be present and report or, by adequate mechanical means, to record and, if necessary, transcribe proceedings of any hearing. The charges for attendance shall be paid initially to the reporter by the employer or, if insured, by the employer's workers' compensation insurer. The charges shall be taxed as costs and the party initially paying the expense shall be reimbursed by the party or parties taxed with the costs. The compensation court or judge thereof may award and tax such costs and apportion the same between the parties or may order the compensation court to pay such costs as in its discretion it may think right and equitable. If the expense is unpaid, the expense shall be paid by the party or parties taxed with the costs or may be paid by the compensation court. The reporter shall faithfully and accurately report or record the proceedings.