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Pick up some PDCs when you help with contest grading

NCRA’s Contests Committee is seeking volunteers to help with on-site grading for the National Speed and Realtime contests being held during the Association’s 2019 Convention & Expo happening Aug. 15-18 at the Hyatt Regency Denver in Denver, Colo.

Graders are needed beginning the afternoon of Aug. 14 through Aug. 16. Volunteers who sign up to help grade can earn 0.25 Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for every two hours they assist, and they will be able to brag about their roles in participating in the making of Association history.

“Both of these contests are steeped in NCRA’s tradition and are considered the Olympics of the court reporting and captioning professions,” said Joan McQuinn, RPR, CRMS, chair of the Contests Committee, and an official court reporter from Rockford, Ill.

“Both competitions generate huge excitement among the contestants, as well as those who come to watch these professionals who have worked hard practicing and honing their skills in hopes of earning the right to be called the fastest and most accurate for the year among their peers. Helping grade is not only fun, but it gives those who volunteer the opportunity to make new friends and connections and to be part of the competitions without having to compete,” McQuinn added.

This year marks the 80th annual National Speed Contest which will draw more than two dozen of the fastest stenographic court reporters and captioners to compete on Aug. 14 for bragging rights. Contestants are tested on their ability to accurately transcribe dialogue that increases in speed and difficulty throughout each round. The first round begins at 220 words-per-minute while the final round ends at 280 words-per-minute. Similar to a traditional court reporter setting, contestants are allocated time to convert their stenography into a final transcript before scoring begins. Scoring is based on accuracy of their transcriptions given the increasing difficulty of dialogue speed.

On Aug. 15, many of the same contestants will gather to compete in the 20th annual National Realtime Contest where they will be judged on their ability to transcribe dialogue in real time. Much like a closed-caption setting, all activity happens live, meaning participants are unable to edit their transcript once the audio session is complete. This fast and furious competition is scored based on sheer translation speed and accuracy.

Winners of the contests and top scorers in each leg of the competitions are announced at a special awards luncheon where they are recognized as champions before their peers.

For more information or to sign up to serve as a volunteer grader and earn 0.25 PDCs per two hours of time, please contact NCRA Director of Communications & Public Relations Annemarie Roketenetz at