Tri-C and Realtime Coach to host first national student realtime skills test competition

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), in Parma, Ohio, and Realtime Coach have partnered to host the first ever national realtime skills test competition for court reporting and captioning students. This competition is open to all students across the country, not just students at Tri-C. Registration for the event opens Dec. 20 and runs through Jan. 8, 2018. The tests will be offered at the end of January, and the winners’ names will be announced during NCRA’s 2018 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being held Feb. 10-17.

According to Jen Krueger, RMR, CRI, CPE, professor at Tri-C’s captioning and court reporting program, the test will be a five-minute audio Q&A realtime skills examination. The cost to register is $10, and registration is limited to the first 200 students who sign up. Students can choose from 120 wpm, 140 wpm, 160 wpm, or 180 wpm but are limited to taking only one test.

“We were inspired to do something that would mimic the professional test competition, promote focused practice and effort regarding realtime writing, and motivate students to practice in a more competitive manner than they may normally experience,” said Krueger about what motivated the college to partner with Realtime Coach to host a national student competition.

“We wanted to offer something fun and challenging to students across the country,” added Kruger. Announcing the results during Court Reporting & Captioning Week will let us celebrate “the dedicated, excellent work of students, schools, and the court reporting industry,” she said. “Motivation to practice and enhance their skills, build accuracy and speed, find an inner strength to do well, [and] spotlight realtime writing skills should be an essential aspect of all court reporting and captioning students.”

Registration to compete in the contest will be through Realtime Coach; however, students do not have to be enrolled in Realtime Coach in any other way to participate. Registrants must attend a short webinar to demonstrate how to take the test. The webinar will be available Jan. 9, 2018, at 8 p.m. ET and again on Jan. 10, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET. Prior to participating in the contest, students will also have an opportunity to practice accessing, taking, and uploading a test.

To participate in the contest, students will register at Realtime Coach, create a new account, and complete the form that appears. They can then click the purchase button to buy their desired test. A realtime test score of 95 percent or higher is required to pass the test.

For more information about the realtime skills test competition, including practice and testing dates and times, contact Jen Krueger at

NCRA members sweep top spots at 2017 world speed competition

Three smiling people stand on a podium of various heights (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) holding certificates. In the background are a collection of international flags.

Sheri Smargon, Jen Schuck, and John Wissenbach stand on the podium at Intersteno. They claimed the top three spots in the Speech Capturing event, seniors division. Photo by Charlie Fiss.

NCRA members dominated the 2017 Intersteno World Speed Competition held during the organization’s 51st Congress, which took place July 22-28 in Berlin, Germany, including a sweep of the top three spots.

Jen Schuck, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, Scottsdale, Ariz., took gold while Sheri Smargon, RDR, CRR, CRC, Riverview, Fla., and Tori Pittman, FAPR, RDR, CRI, Wake Forest, N.C., earned the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

In the Speech Capturing event, seniors division, the top six spots were also claimed by NCRA members Schuck; Smargon; John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CRC, San Francisco, Calif.; Jennifer Costales, RMR, CRR, The Hague, Netherlands; Anissa Nierenberger, RPR, CRR, CRC, CRI, Boise, Idaho; and Kelly Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE, Rittman, Ohio.

Pittman grabbed first place in the Speech Captioning Voice event, seniors division, while Schuck took home a bronze in the Audio Transcription event, seniors division.

For several of this year’s competitors, the trip to compete at the Intersteno Congress was not their first time. In 2015, Wissenbach earned top honors in the Intersteno Realtime Speech Capturing event, seniors division, held in Budapest, Hungary. Shuck has previously placed third in the world in the Intersteno Realtime Speech Capturing event, seniors division, held in Paris in 2011, and second in the same event held in 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Pittman also competed in the 2015 world competition, ranking 30th in the Realtime Speech Capturing event, seniors division.

The Intersteno competitions follow methods: to take down a text read at an increasing speed or to enter texts and data processed with a computer. In both cases, speed and accuracy determine success.

In the Speech Capturing event, competitors take and transcribe a five-minute dictation at progressive speed. Competitors choose the text to transcribe among three consecutive five-minute legs of dictations given at speeds increased each minute. The initial and final speeds of each dictation are related to the language of the competitors, according to a comparison table set up by the Intersteno Council. At least the first three minutes of dictation must be transcribed successfully. Transcription is handed out on-site on USB sticks or with hand transcription for competitors using traditional shorthand.

In the Audio Transcription event, competitors transcribe a digitally recorded dictation in their mother tongue for 10 minutes. The dictation lasts 15 minutes at a constant and, for the language in question, normal speech speed.

The seniors division is made of all competitors ages 21 and over.

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 its 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.

For more information about Intersteno, visit

The Intersteno experience

InterstenoBy Tori Pittman

You may have heard a little bit about Intersteno on social media in the past few months. Intersteno 2015, the 50th Congress, was held in Hungary the week before the NCRA Convention & Expo took place in New York. Several members of NCRA participated, but we would love to have more for Intersteno 2017 in Berlin.

Officially, Intersteno is the International Federation for Information and Communication Processing. As such, it encompasses all manner of information technology, but the court reporting subset is part of a group entitled the Intersteno Parliamentary and Other Reporters Section, or more informally IPRS.

Every two years, Intersteno holds a Congress – like our annual convention – in which members participate in seminars, excursions, networking events, and competitions. The seminars and competitions are usually held in a school of some kind, whether it’s a college or a secondary school. Gala events may or may not have other locales. And excursions could be anything from a walking or cycling tour to a bus tour of the host city or local area.

There are a myriad of competitions, and the competitors range in age from 8 or 9 years old to people in their 60s and older! Team USA mainly competed in audio transcription, speech capturing, and realtime speech capturing. Additional competitions include text production, text correction, professional word processing, and note taking and reporting.

One of our first-time attendees, Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR, of Los Angeles, Calif., said this of his experience: “For seven years, I have been a deposition and arbitration stenographic reporter in California. Having competed in state and national competitions in the United States the last two years, I decided to try my hand at Intersteno. I had the desire to measure my stenographic proficiency and to represent my country in doing so. 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.”

If you would like more information about Intersteno, please visit the organization online or There is also a Facebook page for Intersteno as well as discussion groups, including Intersteno USA and IPRS – Intersteno Parliamentary and other Professional Reporters.

We look forward to sharing our Intersteno experiences with you and hopefully inspire you to become part of Team USA for the Internet Competition in spring 2016 and Berlin in the summer of 2017.


Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, a freelancer in Wake Forest, N.C., also attended the 2015 Intersteno Contest. She is chair of NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force. She can be reached at

Community College of Allegheny County wins NCRA student membership contest

The Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Pa., scored first place with 100 percent of its students holding membership in NCRA’s first contest held to generate student affiliation with the association. The college earns a free mini convention from NCRA that will be tailored specifically to the school’s needs.

The contest, which ran in November through early December, invited schools to encourage their students to join NCRA. Each school’s percentage of students holding membership in NCRA was based upon the total enrollment number as reported in 2013, compared to the number of students associated with the school as of Dec. 16.  Each court reporting school was provided with a membership packet that included membership forms, contest rules, and information about the many benefits NCRA offers students, such as low membership fees of $6 per month, deep discounts in the association store, subsidized convention registration fees, and career resources for future job placement.

The competition drew a total of 22 participating court reporting schools across the nation. Earning second and third place were Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Ala., and Alfred State College in Alfred, N.Y., with a NCRA student membership rate of 70 percent and 64 percent respectively.

The winning school will not be eligible to compete again in the NCRA membership contest until 2016. The following rounded out the top 10 schools with highest percentage of student membership in NCRA during the contest:

Miami-Jacobs Career College in Independence, Ohio with a 60 percent student membership;

Realtime Center for Learning, Inc., in Westbury, N.Y., with 60 percent student membership;

College of Court Reporting, Inc., in Hobart, Ind., with 56 percent student membership;

Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., with 44 percent student membership;

Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn., with 43 percent student membership;

Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich., with 36 percent student membership;

Sumner College in Portland, Ore., with a 32 percent student membership.


Other schools that reported NCRA student membership increases during the contest included:

Atlantic Technical Center, Coconut Creek, Fla.;

Bryan University, Los Angeles, Calif.;

MacCormac College, Chicago, Ill.;

Prince Institute, Schaumburg, Ill.;

Sage College, Moreno Valley, Calif.;

San Antonio College, San Antonio, Texas;

Sheridan Technical Center, Hollywood, Fla.;

South Coast College, Orange, Calif.;

Southwest Tennessee Community College, Memphis, Tenn.;

Stautzenberger College, Maumee, Ohio;

StenoTech Center Career Institute, Piscataway, N.J.