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GOING GLOBAL: It’s never too early to start planning to attend the 51st Intersteno Congress in Berlin in 2017

If competing internationally or just meeting others in a similar profession from other countries is on your bucket list, consider attending the 51st Intersteno Congress in Berlin, Germany, set to take place July 22-28, 2017.

Intersteno, the International Federation for Information and Communication Processing, is a worldwide community with members that represent all manners of information technology, including court reporters and captioners, as well as secretaries, teachers, parliamentary reporters, and others who use any technology that produces fast writing. The organization holds it Congress every two years and offers attendees a schedule full of educational sessions, presentations, and competitions in realtime, speed, audio translation, typing, and more. Other activities often include galas and tours of the host city or local area. The event offers attendees a unique view of how the written word captured throughout the world.

According to NCRA members who have attended an Intersteno Congress, it’s never too early to start making plans to an event that offers an unforgettable experience.

“I start planning for Intersteno nine to 12 months in advance,” says Karen Yates, CRR, CRC, a CART provider from Minden, Nev. Yates said that her planning includes checking other conferences to avoid conflicts in her schedule, securing flights, making sure her Intersteno membership dues are up to date, and securing lodging. She also checks to make sure her passport is current and that she has the correct electrical adaptors for the local area.

“I would also arrive a day or two early, especially if I were competing,” Yates adds. “Jet lag can be a factor, and just adapting to the new time zone can be a challenge. It’s also helpful to get comfortable with a location, local transportation, and have all the registration matters settled early.”

Laura Brewer, RDR, CRR, CRC, Los Altos, Calif., a state, national, and international realtime champion, agrees that arriving at least two days prior to the start of the competitions at Intersteno if you plan to participate is a wise idea. “Flights can always be delayed (by weather or otherwise), connections can be missed, etc. Plan for the unexpected, and you won’t be disappointed,” she said. “Planning to arrive two days in advance gives you one day of cushion. Arriving two days in advance also gives you an extra night to catch up on sleep and to adjust to the time change.”

Yates also says she usually allows for two to three months of practice time if she plans to compete during the event. “I email my dictionaries to myself before departing, just in case. I do take an iPhone or iPad with speed dictation on it and Bose noise-cancelling headphones for practice. And then I read and reread the rules and practice the right content.”

The 49th Intersteno Congress held in Ghent, Belgium, in 2013, provided attendees Debra Levinson, RMR, CRR, CRI, CRMS, a freelance reporter from White Plains, N.Y., and Dom Tursi, an official court reporter from Islip, N.Y., with an experience that was welcoming, informative, professional, and uplifting.

“It was an unforgettable experience being among an international forum of like-minded professionals coming together for the same purpose, showcasing a myriad of methods of capturing the spoken word,” Levinson said. “It was an education to experience the different technologies that other countries use to accomplish the same means.”

“The professionalism and knowledge shared by everyone I met was, in a word, awesome. And the skill demonstrated by youngsters and more mature practitioners, in varied categories and at so many skill levels, was an inspiration,” says Tursi.

“Although it’s fun to see familiar faces in foreign lands, it is even better to make new friends with fellow competitors and colleagues from other countries,” says Yates. “Join people you don’t know at the breakfast table, for a cup of coffee on a break, or for a beer at the end of the day. Take advantage of the chance to hear about work life from those making the record with voice, pen, simple keyboard, and a myriad of types of steno machines.”

In 2015, NCRA member Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Los Angeles, Calif., attended an Intersteno Congress for the first time and also competed in the international realtime competition. In comments made in a previous article about his experience at the Congress held in Budapest, Hungary, Frazier said: “What I left Budapest with amounts to much more. Keyboardists from other countries were not just eager to share with me their writing systems but also their friendship. The atmosphere of the Intersteno festivities was enjoyable and educational, and I found the beauty of Budapest to be nothing short of breathtaking. I am honored to have been a part of it and look forward to Berlin in 2017.”

For more information about Intersteno and the 51st Intersteno Congress being planned for 2017 in Berlin, Germany, visit or


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