Many people will not get to see a real Stenographer DC courts use to transcribe trials in action. However you have definitely seen a stenographer typing in movies and on television. It seems impossible that someone is capable of listening, typing each letter for each word, word for word accurately. The truth of the matter is it is impossible. Instead stenographers have been trained to use a stenography machine that makes things much easier.
What is a Stenography Machine?
A stenography machine is a special “keyboard” designed to make typing words easy. A traditional keyboard consists of individual letters that must be typed one at a time in order to form words and sentences. This of course can only be done so fast as the typist must account for every letter of every word as well as every word in the proper order in which they were spoken. There are some fast typists out there who can type upwards of 80 to 100 words per minute, but this is still not fast enough to capture every word and overlaps in conversation that can take place in a courtroom. Therefore a stenography machine is designed to use not letters, but syllables. The keyboard is set up of rows of consonants on the right and left hand side and a strip of vowels down the centre. It is complicated as not all consonants are on the keyboard. Instead some letters require a series of keys to be punched at once such as the letter “n”.
Highly Trained Individuals
It takes great concentration in hand with some pretty fancy finger work to train to be a stenographer. You have to learn what the keys are, what the combinations are and also the proper order to use your fingers. Stenographers learn how to combine their fingers to meet the correct keys while using their listening skills to capture what everyone is saying.
Technology has added to the ease of reading a stenographers work, but has not made too many changes to the skills required to become a stenographer. As with a standard keyboard, the stenographer’s keyboard has not changed in the way it operates. However when it comes to how the stenographer can operate the overall transcribing there are some differences including a read back program.
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