What is steno? What is stenography? What’s a stenographer? How does a person type fast enough to keep up with what someone says word for word in real time? How fast can someone type? What is that weird little machine that stenographers use to type?
If you don’t know what stenography is all about, this is your chance to find out! 🙂
Steno: Using a shorthand machine to phonetically “type” (we actually call it “write”) what people say word for word.
1 ) Certified court reporters use a steno machine to transcribe every word that is said during an examination for discovery, deposition, arbitration, live trial, and hearing to later prepare into a transcript. Transcripts are used to argue a case for lawsuits and other legal proceedings. Court reporters can write (we don’t call it “typing”) up to 225 words per minute at 97% accuracy.
2 ) Stenography is also used for live captioning for accessibility purposes and anyone who wants to read the subtitles when watching a TV show or movie or video. Those live captions that you see on TV? (that people tend to make fun of about being inaccurate because a word or two is misspelled?) The captions are actually really accurate; 98% accurate most the time (that’s only two errors per every 100 words spoken). Most people tend to get caught up on the funny mistakes only.
The captioner uses a steno machine to write these words to be posted on your screen (no, it’s not a robot that does it and AI/voice recognition software will never get that good anyway).
Captioning TV program from the comfort of your own home(Photo from https://asraonline.com/)
3 ) Deaf or hard-of-hearing students may need the assistance of a stenographer (CART provider) to help them succeed in school by providing instant transcription of what is being said in a classroom or meeting. Fun fact: Some stenographers who CART for an entire course sometimes receive an honourary degree for doing so!
A CART provider helps provide instant captions for those in a classroom setting(Photo from https://www.deafinc.org/cart.html)
A CART provider in a classroom setting(Photo from https://dcmp.org/learn/270-working-together-for-families-and-schools-pepnet-and-the-dcmp)
To say the least, stenographers are VERY important people. It’s necessary that more people become educated about this field and what this amazing keyboard can do.
Learning how to steno professionally (it takes 2 to 4+ years to get up to speed) can give you unlimited potential to work anywhere in the world and make a six-figure income.
So how is it done?
This short video below shows Stan, a talented stenographer, explaining how steno and shorthand is done.
Here’s a 4-minute video that briefly explains how a steno machine is used in the courtrooms:
A 81-second video that explains how a steno machine is different from a regular QWERTY keyboard:
Try your hand at typing steno using your computer keyboard with this cool interactive website to see what it feels like to be a stenographer.
For anyone who wants to learn how to steno (type faster than a QWERTY keyboard) for fun in a non-professional setting, you can do so by purchasing a simple steno keyboard that you can connect to your computer (without the bells and whistles of a professional steno machine). Visit openstenoproject.org or Google “Plover steno” for more details.
Otherwise, if you want to become a professional stenographer and get a job as a court reporter, live captioner, or CART provider, you can attend the course at NAIT in Alberta, Canada (apparently one of the best steno schools in North America) or one of the many schools in the states. There are also many online schools in the USA that you can attend to become certified.
For fun, you can also read about a few of my early steno experiences below:
- Meeting Jade King, Superwoman of the steno world, December 2011. She can stenotype at up to 250 wpm! I was inspired to say the least.
- Attending my first ever NCRA Annual Convention in Philadelphia in August 2012.
- Job shadowing Jade King at the Lamma boat inquiry in Hong Kong, March 2013.
- My experience at the 7th Annual Asian Film Awards with Jade King, March 2013.
- Teaching Phoenix Theory to court reporting students at my school, September 2012-August 2013.
- My experience at the NCRA Convention 2013 in Nashville, August 2013.
Since I started steno, I have been working as a freelance stenographer in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. You can read about some of my steno work ramblings here.
Thanks for visiting! 🙂
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below! I love talking about steno! I can talk about it all day if someone was interested enough.