Stenography is a speed writing system that allows us to write as fast as the spoken words. Both Larralde and Pitman Stenography Systems are based in the use of a series of straight and curve, fine and thick symbols, as well as other symbols such as big, middle and small circles, big and small ellipses, and other resources that represent the alphabet letters in a simplified way. According to the position in which these symbols are drawn, over, on top or under the line, they carry the vowels A, E-I and O-U, respectively.
A shorthand writer is a skilled professional that takes notes of spoken words as fast as the person speaks. In fact, a shorthand writer is able to write in shorthand symbols every word that the speaker pronounces during a speech and then transcribe them into the native language.
In order to perform his work, the shorthand writer must be a person with a wide culture, well informed, and it is convenient that he has college studies. To be able to type what he has registered, he must understand the sense of the expressions said so that he knows what orthographical signs to put in. An error in them could lead to an alteration of the phrase or text sense.
In order to fully understand the advantages of the stenography system it will be enough to consider that a person normally writes at 40 words per minute and making a great effort. A stenographer can easily write at a speed of 120 words per minute and can reach speeds higher than 180 words per minute. This difference between writing velocities allows stenographers to take very complete notes of speeches, courses, conferences, which can be useful if you have to study or remember them, making the time spent in those activities more profitable. Also, like great writers, novelists and poets of universal literature did (Charles Dickens, Mario Benedetti, José Hernández, and it is said that Apostle San Mathews wrote in shorthand the Sermon of the Mount), the velocity given by stenography allows us to transcribe in paper those ideas that suddenly come out of our minds as well as to produce some texts more easily, at any moment and at any place, just using a piece of paper and a pencil.
A stenographic version must contain all the expressions pronounced during the course of a debate, making the minimum and necessary variations to adequate the spoken words to the written ones and only introducing those changes such as the elimination of useless repetitions, pet words, redundancies, grammatical errors, contradictions, but always respecting the speaker style and the spirit of his words.
Por lo general los taquígrafos trabajan en equipos compuestos por dos a cuatro personas, cantidad que se establece en función del tiempo de entrega de la versión taquigráfica que se convenga, pero que no incide a los efectos del costo del servicio, toda vez que éste se determina por la duración de la reunión, independientemente del número de taquígrafos que asistan. Luego del registro estenográfico, los taquígrafos traducen sus notas en computadora, proceso en el cual, además de consignar las manifestaciones vertidas por los oradores, efectúan una lectura de la documentación considerada en la reunión a los efectos de tener una comprensión de los temas debatidos.
The use of tape recorders generates a series of inconveniences and risks that are not produced if stenographers are present in a meeting. Besides, their presence has an added value, such as their role of qualified witnesses, giving a higher proof value to the act.
The inconveniences generated by a tape-recording, including but not limiting, are:
1) The difficulties on the identification of speakers or, unless, the necessity that speakers identify themselves each time they speak, interrupting the fluency of the debate. Instead, if the stenographer is present he can perfectly identify the speaker, allowing him to accurately attribute the words to who has pronounced them. Besides, the stenographer can hear expressions that can hardly be recorded by a tape recorder, especially if those expressions are pronounced in an undertone or far from the recording device.
2) The danger that the tape recorder runs out of batteries, or gets the tape hooked or the cassette finishes without this being noted by the person responsible of the tape recorder. It can also happen that the words spoken are not well recorded due to the existence of the so called “parasite noises” (those generated by the noise of little coffee spoons, coughs, steps, creaking doors, mobile phone calls, and the like), which are generally recorded with a higher intensity than the human voice, making the words spoken neither audible nor understandable. This difficulty can be avoided by the presence of stenographers in the meeting, because if the speaker talks in a sotto voce, the human sense of hearing is capable to hear it, which is not the case of a tape recorder. And if the stenographer cannot hear anything, there is the chance to ask the speaker to raise his voice in order to assure the shorthand registration.
3) The hard work of transcribing a tape. If we bear in mind the inconveniences quoted before (parasite noises, difficulties on the identification of speakers) we'll have an idea of the hard work that will carry the employee or secretary of a company who is given this task, plus the tedious act of fast forwarding and rewinding the tape not to miss any word spoken. Stenographers, instead, are able to transcribe words from their stenographic notes, avoiding those difficulties and making their work more fluent, with the correspondent celerity in the delivery of the work.