Stenotype Machine

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stenotype Machine


a typewriter for recording shorthand that uses standard printed letters and combinations of two or more letters, known as accords, instead of specialized shorthand signs. When a key is struck or several are struck simultaneously, the stenotype machinetypes letters on a strip of paper several cm in width; only one letter or one accord is printed on each line.

For purposes of speed, the keyboard of the stenotype machine has a limited set of letters. Letters for which there are no keys are represented by accords, for example, the letter B is represented by VM, and the letter Sh by TVM. The recording speed of stenotype machines reaches 120 words and more a minute. By eliminating the problem of individual differences in handwritten shorthand, the use of printed letters enables any trained person to transcribe the recorded material accurately.

Stenotype machines are not in wide use. With the development of magnetic recording and, in particular, with the invention of dictaphones, the manufacture of stenotype machines ceased in the 1950’s.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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If you've watched someone do it, the act of writing on a stenotype machine looks more like playing a piano than it does typing.
Court reporters and captioners save their special spellings and abbreviations in a dictionary on their personal computers and download them into their stenotype machines. "The software is updated regularly," says Lisa Romanak, a captioner of live broadcasts.
The modern shorthand writer who embarks on a career as a court reporter has graduated from an accredited college of court reporting and has mastered the use of the 24-character keyboard of the stenotype machine. In order to graduate, the reporter must be able to type more than 225 words per minute.
Sitting at a 24-key stenotype machine connected to a computer, a CART reporter types phonetic shorthand outlines onto the keyboard.
These captions are typed into an electric stenotype machine, similar to those used in courtrooms.
She laughs when it's suggested that magic plays a part in court reporters being able to seemingly randomly hit buttons on the small stenotype machines they use in courtroom settings and spit out perfect transcripts of what just happened.
It is estimated that the time for appeals will be reduced considerably, while the preoccupation of the Supreme Court to hear appeals will contribute to the certainty of case law."The report calls for the following measures to be adopted as soon as possible: increase the number of district court judges and judges of other courts of first instance based on the immediate and medium-term needs; create administrative courts of first instance; and, introduce stenotype machines to keep a full record of all court proceedings.