GOING GLOBAL: Be in Berlin

By John Wissenbach

“A velotypist, a stenotypist, and a palantypist walked into a bar…”

It may sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but in July 2017, reporters from all over the world will begin streaming into the city of Berlin to attend Intersteno’s 51st Congress. Where better to rub shoulders with a 90-year-old retiree, an eight-year-old able to keyboard 475 strokes a minute, a reporter who can write 15 different languages, or any of the many attendees taking the opportunity to have a European vacation and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow professionals.

I attended Intersteno for the first time in Paris in 2011. In the process of overhauling my theory, I had been spending a considerable time practicing to science podcasts, so Intersteno’s straight literary contest material appealed to me. Having passed my Certificate of Merit as a teenager, dipping my toe into the contest waters seemed the only venue left for measuring how successful someone who once wrote “objection” in three strokes could be in radically changing their writing style.

The Intersteno speed competition starts off at a slow pace, has a faster middle section, and ends with the contestants begging for mercy. Everyone is a winner, as contestants are ranked according to what minute they survive to in the 15-minute dictation, allowing them to compete against their own record at the following Congress. The realtime dictation runs for eight minutes.

If contests aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of reasons to be in Berlin next year. First-timers may be astounded at the number of young people participating in Intersteno. But equally impressive are the number of retired reporters. There will be entertainment for the opening and closing ceremonies and excursions and dinners throughout the week, thanks to the efforts of many volunteers, including NCRA’s own unsung Intersteno superheroes — Virgene Biggers, RPR, of Metairie, La.;  Russell Page of Washington, D.C., and Teri Gaudet of Sparta, N.J., and their spouses.

Those not wanting to miss the experience of a lifetime should go to intersteno.org and look for the periodic E-News publications that are posted.

Be in Berlin!

John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CRC, is a freelance reporter based in San Francisco, Calif. He can be reached at john@wissenbach.com.

GOING GLOBAL: Preparing for the Intersteno contests

By John Wissenbach

See how you’d fare in an Intersteno competition by going to intersteno.org/competition-texts-2015/ and trying your hand at the actual dictation from last year’s speech capturing (speed) and realtime contests. You’ll notice the dictation has a parliamentary flavor to it, which is perhaps not surprising given the number of Intersteno members who work in the parliaments of the world.

If you want to compete, EuroparlTV is a great source of dictation practice. There you will be able to access video from the various committee meetings of the European Parliament. Many of the speeches are very interesting, on leading issues of the day, and offer a great source of material for training the brain to deal with a wide variety of accents and names.

Here is some of the vocabulary you may encounter:

abstentions = STWEPBGSZ

accession = KREFGS

asylum = SKWHR-PL

Baltic = PWHR-LGT

Brussels = PWRUFLS

chargé d’affaires = CH-FRD

climate change = KHR-LGT

Council of Europe = KWURP

European Commission = KWR-RPGS

European Council = KPWRUFRL

European Parliament = KWRAERPLT

European Union = KPWRURPB



harmonization = HAORGS

Juncker = *RPBG

Madam Chair = KPWHR-FPD

Madam Chairman = KPWHR-FPLD

member states = PHRERBTS

migrants = PWH-RNTS

parliamentary = PLAERPLT

plenary = PHRERPB

private sector = PRAOIFBG

public sector = PRUFBG

radicalization = WHRAFGS

rapporteur = WRAORPT

Roma = WRAO*M

Schengen = SWH-PBG

shadow rapporteur = SHAORPT

Strasbourg = STROUG

subsidiarity = STKART

trialogue = TWHROG

visas = TPWAOESZ


John Wissenbach,, RDR, CRR, CRC, is a freelance reporter in San Francisco, Calif. He has competed in several Intersteno Contests. He can be reached at john@wissenbach.com.

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