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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
Unlike conventional QWERTY keyboards, the Stenotype 22-character keyboard allows users to type multiple keys at once, creating a phonetic representation of the spoken word.
(7) Although offering high quality support, stenotype based systems and Velotype have the major drawback that it can take over a year's full-time training (8) for interpreters to become competent users.
The commercial production of typewriters and stenotypes, (268) as well as the development of modern stenographic systems, (269) were thus significant advances, which broadly coincided with the emergence of criminal appeals in common law systems.
The first stenotype machines were contemporary with the first typewriters in the 1870s, but machine stenography was not widely employed in courts or legal settings until the 1920s.
Reporters in Milton; Accurate Stenotype in Tallahassee; Official Reporters, Inc., in Jacksonville; Joy Hayes & Associates in Inverness; Kanabay Court Reporters in St.
Now, from Manhattan to Los Angeles, American law firms are tapping a fresh resource to streamline this process: Realtime court reporters--equipped with stenotype machine, laptop, state-of-the-art technology and years of training--who can transcribe spoken words simultaneously, or in "real time," at up to 260 words per minute.
ACCURATE STENOTYPE REPORTERS AND VIDEO SERVICES, 2894 Remington Green Lane, Tallahassee 32308, (850)878-2221, Toll-Free (800)934-9090, FAX (850)878-2254, e-mail:, Web site:
Court reporters and captioners use computers and a specialized machine, called a stenotype, to do their job.
We must hear and write every word that is spoken in hearings and trials, writing on a stenotype machine at speeds of up to 300 words per minute at times.
Because the court had no stenotype machine, the court secretary transcribed the proceedings by using her index fingers to type every statement into a computer.