Stenography | All about Stenography, History, Importance

Stenography – An Introduction

Stenography is a method that lets a person record spoken words through writing or typing. It is a very old method that has been greatly used in the court-rooms. It is still used by the court reporters on a large scale. There have been a lot of other means developed to record the proceedings that go on in the court-rooms. But stenography is still people’s choice. One of the reasons for this is the number of words one can write or type in a minute using stenography as against other ones.

Stenography is also known as shorthand. In this method, the reporter or the stenographer does an abbreviated form of writing. It is a great technique to get facts recorded at high speed as well as with good accuracy. Stenography is used to keep copies of conversations during trials, meetings, and depositions. Due to the efficiency of the method, it finds use in the court-rooms even today when technology has gone so far.

Stenographers – Artists of Stenography

Now let’s talk of the work the stenographers do.
The court reporters use a stenotype machine to record the statements with shorthand. It is not an uncommon thing to find a stenographer doing his or her work in the court-room. And this has been continuing since the eighties and the nineties.

Stenography is being used also in companies who want their data to remain secret to them. It is a very useful way of keeping matters personal to the company as only the company’s people would understand the language. Many new and advanced methods of stenography have been developed by now.


Stenotype machine

A stenotype machine today contains just twenty-two keys. But they are great enough to carry out the task of recording matters that could be words, phrases, numbers or sounds with lots of accuracies. Whether the conversation in the courtroom is a heated one or there are people sobbing, all can be recorded through shorthand. In a stenotype machine, there are two sides – left and right. The former one is called initial while the latter one is called final.

The machine contains a very less number of keys when compared with the normal keyboards. It has been in use since 1800. The stenotype machine makes use of the phonetic system. But it has gone through a lot of changes with the development of technology. Today laptops can be connected with the machine. Internal memory storage is a great feature that has been added to it. The stenographer can now see what he or she is typing. Even broadcasting can be done with the use of such technology.

The internal memory storage can be done with objects like flash drives. About three hundred words can be typed in a single minute with the machine which is a good speed to record fast-paced ongoings in an accurate way.

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Stenography – History

Let’s go through the history of stenography.
Stenos and Graphein are the two Greek words responsible for framing the term stenography. Stenos means narrow and Graphein refers to write, hence is the word stenography or writing in a narrow way so as to improve efficiency and word limit.

Stenography was being used by people who made recordings of what the philosophers, politicians and other speakers used to speak in public. Later machines had started developing that came into use. Symbols were used and the system adopted was the phonetic one.

The history of stenography is ancient history. It has given the world a lot of data which would have otherwise gone beyond the man’s memory. The richness of stenography’s past is memorable.

Stenographer – A highly skilled job.

A stenographer is regarded as a highly skilled job. It needs expertise in the field. Knowledge and accuracy both are necessities for becoming a successful stenographer. One must be aware of the terminologies of not just law but also of medical area. He or she should be able to understand the environment and the proceedings that go on in a court-room. Stenographers are highly regarded and respectful persons.

As there are new machines developed for the stenographers, they must be habitual to using those and hence need to be trained in using the machines as well. Language is one of the most important aspects when we are talking about stenography. And the stenographers must have great skills in the language of their area. Mistakes in this work like grammatical ones or spelling mistakes do not let you go far. They are not acceptable.

Stenography helps a person earn well through freelancing as he or she can do freelancing in the rest of the time. They can be employed by the court reporting companies other than working as stenographers in the courts.

Is stenography losing its importance?

In spite of all that we have read or known about the field, stenography is claimed to be losing the importance it once had. Not everyone today has many ideas about it. Stenographers cannot be beaten by the journalists who try to do the same work with equal efficiency because they can’t. Only the stenographer knows and expertly does the task.

If the courts want the same results they cannot let the good stenographers go. Not everyone can perform the work similarly as it requires a very high level of expertise and accuracy. The stenographers have learned the art and its specifications for a long time, bringing more and more perfection in the recording process. Their hands move swiftly on the keyboards from left to right producing copies of art.


Stenography is an art that needs to be learned, practiced and performed. It is a great way to keep things personal as well as to save time and money while getting recordings. An ancient art, it has served the world for long and that too in a very efficient manner. It has found other uses also than in courts and one can make living good enough with expertise in the field.
It is feared that stenography does not become a long forgotten art.

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