What Is A Steno Writer?

\nA steno writer is a piece of equipment that allows trained individuals to transcribe speech in shorthand. This machine, a version of which originated during the 1830s if not earlier, goes by several names. Its most common monikers include writing machine, shorthand machine, stenography writer, and stenotype.\n\nThis device is perhaps most famous for the vital role that it plays in courtroom trials, depositions, and other legal proceedings. Indeed, during trials, stenographers use stenotypes to record every word uttered aloud. Further, college students and journalists occasionally utilize them to take notes. Plus, people who write closed captions — realtime captions in particular — frequently rely on these machines.\n\nA steno writer somewhat resembles a typewriter, but it contains only 22 keys. Instead of having one key for each letter of the alphabet, it has keys with coded combinations of letters. Therefore, people who use these machines are able to record words phonetically, and they can type as many as 300 words per minute. To put that into context, few human beings are capable of speaking that quickly.\n\nIn addition, stenographers occasionally employ a technique known as “chording.” Chording involves striking multiple keys at once in order to increase typing speed. Just as a piano chord provides harmony, a steno writer chord provides an entire phrase.\n\nStenographers have some leeway in terms of how they transcribe speech. That is, there are various ways in which a person can write down syllables using a stenotype. As a result, one stenographer’s style might differ markedly from another’s, much in the way that two people can have very dissimilar handwriting.\n\nTraditionally, stenotypes printed out everything that stenographers typed. Those professionals would later translate their transcripts into documents featuring standard spelling and grammar — documents that anyone could read. These days, however, many stenotypes send transcripts to computers, and special programs automatically rewrite them using everyday language.\n\nIt takes considerable time and effort to master stenotype usage — as many as 2,000 or 3,000 hours of professional instruction over the course of two or three years. Upon completing an accredited stenotype program, a student can take the certification exam administered by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Specific job requirements for court reporters vary from state to state.