Steno Writers: Powerful Recorders of Court Sessions

\nCourt reporters or stenographers seem to type on mysterious machines at supersonic speed, and they need to in order to keep up with court proceedings. Their fast typing often leaves people wondering how they do it. Well, they do it by using a court reporting machine or steno writer. A steno writer is a shorthand machine that is specially designed for court reporting.\n\nIt’s different from a traditional QWERTY keyboard in that it allows the typist to type at least 200 words per minute. Actually, 200 to 250 words per minute is the average for certified stenographers. On a QWERTY keyboard professional typists can type an average of only 50 to 80 words per minute. This a is significant decrease in the amount of words that can be typed per minute, showing that the steno writer is a formidable instrument.\n

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The Steno Writer’s Keyboard

\nThe court reporter’s keyboard consists of approximately 22 keys on four bars. The first bar is the numbers bar, but it’s not labeled with digits. The second bar called the Upper Bank consists of ten keys: S, T, P, H, *, F, P, L, T, D. Next is the lower bank which also consists of ten keys: S, K, W, R, *, R, B, G, S, Z. Finally, the fourth bar has the vowel keys consisting of the letters A, O, E, U.\n\nThe upper and lower banks are divided in half with the star symbol residing in the middle. The first half of the keys in this division are known as the “initial” while the second half are known as the “final.” It may not seem as if 22 keys are enough, but, on this machine, words can be reduced to a combination of a few letters or even one letter. For example, the words “stake” and “steak” are spelled differently, have different meanings, but they sound the same. This means that they can be typed using the same letter or combination of letters on the steno writer.\n\nBesides that, the court reporting machine uses a process called chording, which basically allows a series of keys to represent one word. So, the word “fish” can be spelled by hitting the keys TPEURB all at once. Here, the TP makes the “F” sound, EU makes the “I” sound, and the RB makes the “sh” sound. The keys simply represent the sound made when the words are spoken.\n

The Use of Chording

\nChording is used to streamline the process of keeping up with and recording spoken words. A series of keys or a “chord” used to represent one word work the same way as a chord on an instrument. One chord on the court reporting writer can represent a word, syllable, or a spoken phrase.\n\nChords make up one line of steno paper, and each row on that paper contains 22 columns for each key on the keyboard. Chords are printed from left to right according to how they look on the keyboard. Recording spoken words can be further streamlined by using briefs, which are chord abbreviations that make the recording process even faster.\n


\nCourt reporting and stenography is as much an art as it is a skill. Each individual stenographer has his/her own unique technique for enhancing speed, accuracy, and overall performance. To see a professional record court proceedings on a court reporting writer is truly a sight to behold. They’re fast, skilled, and mesmerizing, making them oftentimes more exciting to watch than the court proceedings themselves.\n\n


Court Reporting Steno Writer Equipment

\nCurrently working in or considering a career in the court reporting or stenography industry? Check out the low rates on used professional Stenograph machines and student Stenograph machines from the industry leader Stenograph.\n

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