How Do Court Reporters Use the Shorthand Machine?

Litigation Support Since 1976

How Does the Shorthand Machine Work?

Court reporters have the ability to type over 200 words a minute– an unthinkable speed to most people. While they couldn’t type at these speeds without the vast knowledge they’ve accrued thanks to their in-depth education, the shorthand machine (or stenograph) our staff uses takes that speed and really makes it shine.

The shorthand machine works its magic with its special board of 22 keys, which is separated in three parts. The left side consists of initial phonetic sounds, such as the starting sound of “K” in “can.” The right side consists of final phonetic sounds, such as the “N” in “can.” The second level consists of four vowel buttons, which (combined) can create any vowel sound. By pressing these keys simultaneously, called “chording,” court reporters are able to represent words phonetically. On the occasion an error occurs, reporters use the asterisk key to mark it.

It is only with a great deal of schooling and training that court reporters are able to to type three times faster than the average person. In fact, many court reporters are so dedicated to providing their clients the best service in the business that they go back and receive additional certifications. This allows them to provide clients the clearest transcripts precisely when they require them.

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