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WHAT IS STENOGRAPHY?

Héctor Larralde
Gabriel Larralde's Signos del Sistema

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.

WHAT IS A SHORTHAND WRITER?

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.

WHICH ARE THE ADVANTAGES THAT STENOGRAPHY OFFERS?

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./p> Top

ARE STENOGHAPHIC VERSIONS THE ACCURATE REPRODUCTIONS OF DEBATES?

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

HOW DO SHORTHAND WRITERS WORK?

In general, stenographers work in teams made two up to four people, this amount is established based on the delivery time of the shorthand version that is agreed, but this does not affect the cost of the service, as long as it is determined for the duration of the meeting, regardless of the number of stenographers attending. After the stenographic record, the stenographers translate their notes into a computer a process in which, in addition to recording the statements expressed by the speakers, they read the documentation considered at the meeting in order to have an understanding of the issues discussed.

WHY NOT TO USE A RECORDING DEVICE?

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) La mayor laboriosidad que demanda desgrabar. Si tenemos en cuenta los inconvenientes citados anteriormente (ruidos parásitos, dificultad para identificar a los oradores) tendremos una idea sobre el trabajo que le espera al empleado o secretario de una entidad a quien se le encomienda esa labor, sumado ello al tedio de tener que parar y retroceder a cada instante la cinta para poder tipear las palabras. Los taquígrafos, en cambio, pueden realizar la transcripción desde sus notas taquigráficas, evitando esas dificultades, y trabajando en forma más fluida, con la consiguiente celeridad en la entrega del documento.

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