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What is a Stenograph, and How Do Court Reporters Use it?

While most people can type between 35 and 70 words a minute, court reporters are able to type over 200 words a minute. Our firm president, Chuck Cady, has won the Ohio Cup for court reporting speed and accuracy three times. Our staff is fast, certainly, but the true key to this speed is the stenograph (or shorthand) machine.

The machine has 22 unmarked keys, each of which represents a sound. In pressing these keys simultaneously (a process called chording), court reporters type out what is said during a deposition or trial phonetically, which gives them the ability to type nearly three times faster than the average person. It takes a considerable amount of schooling and training for court reporters to operate these machines quickly. Court reporting professionals often go back to school to receive additional certifications that make them even more of an asset in the courtroom.

The keyboard is separated in two parts– one for the left fingers, and one for the right, with a second level of keys for the thumbs. The left side consists of initial phonetic sounds, such as the hard “K” in “can.” The right side consists of final phonetic sounds, such as the “N” in the word “can.” The second level consists the four vowel keys, which can be used to represent any vowel sound. The final key is an asterisk, which marks an error in typing.

Court reporters abbreviate works efficiently and effectively, allowing them to record exactly what is said, as it is being said. Following the legal proceedings, they go back to translate their transcript into “real English,” which attorneys use for reviewal. Using the best tech in the business allows us to provide the highest transcripts for our clients precisely when they need them!





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