INTERSTENO: Internet Contest coming up soon

 

The 14th International Keyboarding Competition will be held April 11-May 2.

By Maellen Pittman-Fernandez

Time to start your practice sessions for the 14th Intersteno International Keyboarding Competition. This contest, which tests your speed at keyboarding against people from around the world, is held annually in the spring and is open to all ages. Registration in this Intersteno event opens March 14 and runs through April 10. Get your team together and watch for more information about individual and group registration from NCRA in the JCR Weekly and on Facebook.

The contest consists of ten minutes of text entry, using special free software available on Intersteno.org. You may choose to use Taki or Zav format for the test.

The contest is open to students from public or private schools and associations. The results are ranked according to age categories.

The National Court Reporters Association is the Intersteno National Group in the United States.

For those polyglots among us, this contest has a multilingual competition as well as mother tongue. Only one attempt per language is allowed, however. There are further nuances for the multilingual competition to be found on the Intersteno website.

Training exercises for each language in both software formats are available free of charge on the Intersteno website.

The examinations are evaluated based on the total number of written characters, with 50 penalty points deducted for each error. Throughout the three weeks of competition, the results lists are updated in real time for Taki software competitors, with Zav results being consolidated and compiled each evening.

Of note: This competition is open to typing keyboards, and, in addition, chorded keyboards. In other words, you may use your steno writer to compete in these yearly contests.

All successful competitors will receive an Intersteno certificate. Medals are awarded to the three highest ranking competitors in each age category.

The purpose of this competition is to foster keyboard text entry excellence among peers all over the world. Any attempt to manipulate the procedures, interfere with software operations, or engage in hacker activity will lead to automatic disqualification from the current competition and the possibility of being banned from any future participation in the competition.

Intersteno is a worldwide community of motivated people who voluntarily organize and participate in fair, open, and healthy competition. The Intersteno Board is the final authority in the interpretation of the rules and any decision needed for the good of the competition.

Much of the information for this article is to be found on Intersteno.org. If you wish to open a broader horizon, to include competition on the world stage, take a moment and visit.

Mae Pittman-Fernandez, a 2014 Intersteno typing competition participant, while scoring a respectable percentile among the Senior division, highly recommends a few practice sessions prior to the actual competition.

GOING GLOBAL: The Intersteno experience

 

By Tori Pittman

Have you heard about the Intersteno Congress? 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 NCRA’s annual convention – in which members participate in seminars, excursions, networking events, and competitions. The seminars are usually held in a school of some kind, whether it’s a college or a secondary school, and the competitions are also usually held there as well. Gala events may or may be held in other locales. And excursions could be anything from a walking or cycling tour to a bus tour of the host city or local area.

The competitions are myriad, and the competitors range in age from 8 or 9 years old to people in their 60s and older! Team USA mainly competed in the Audio Transcription, Speech Capturing, and Realtime Speech Capturing categories. 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 county 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 see the following links:
Intersteno.org/

Intersteno2017.org/

Facebook.com/INTERSTENO-International-Federation-for-info-and-communication-processing-187448026111/timeline/

Facebook.com/groups/IPRSinfo/

Facebook.com/groups/119594114841115/

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 summer 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 tori@tori-pittman.com.

 

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 intersteno.org or intersteno2017.org. 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 tori@tori-pittman.com.

NCRA members dominate speed and realtime Intersteno competitions

InterstenoNCRA members dominated the 2015 Intersteno speed and realtime competitions during the organization’s 50th Congress held July 18-24 in Budapest, Hungary. The Congress drew more than 500 attendees from around the world.

The top three spots in the speech capturing – chord keyboard, senior division, were claimed by NCRA members Laura Brewer, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, a captioner from Los Altos, Calif.; John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, a freelance reporter from San Francisco, Calif.; and Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Chicago, Ill., respectively. Overall, NCRA members took nine of the top 12 spots. Rounding out the group were Darlene Pickard, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, a captioner from Marysville, Wash., who placed fifth; Teri Darrenougue, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, a captioner from Walnut Creek, Calif., who placed sixth; Jennifer Schuck, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, a captioner from Scottsdale, Ariz, who placed seventh; Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR, a freelancer from Los Angeles, Calif., who placed ninth; and Laura Axelsen, RMR, a freelancer from Dixon, Calif., who placed 12th. A total of 111 contestants participated in the event. People competed in 11 different languages in the speech capturing event.

Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, a freelance reporter from Wake Forest, won first place in the speech capturing – voice writing, senior division.

Wissenbach took the top spot in the realtime speech capturing event, seniors division, followed by Schuck, who took third in the competition, and Pickard, who grabbed the fifth spot. Also earning honors in the competition were Brewer and Darrenougue, who tied for sixth place. Frazier came in eighth in the realtime event. It was Frazier’s first time competing at an international level. Urlaub also secured the 12th place spot, and Pittman ranked 30th. A total of 86 contestants participated in the event. People competed in 10 different languages for the realtime event.

In addition, Shuck also ranked 10th out of 77 participants in the audio transcription senior division.

The results lists are based on age and method.

“Competing at Intersteno is a humbling experience,” said Schuck. “You are competing with writers from all over the world using various methods, in various languages. In Budapest, there were 11 different languages.”

Schuck last competed in the Intersteno realtime competition in Paris in 2011, taking third in the world.

“It’s a heartwarming and eye-opening experience to be amongst reporters of all different nationalities. There are kids competing as young 10 years old, and they’re good at their skill,” she added.

The Intersteno competitions follow two parallel streams: to take down a text dictated at increasing speeds or to enter texts and data process with a computer. In either case, speed and accuracy are the factors for success.

In the speech capturing event, competitors take and transcribe a 15-minute dictation at progressively increasing speeds. At least three consecutive minutes of dictation must be transcribed successfully to qualify in the contest. The same text is translated in all the languages and prerecorded for the event.

The realtime event requires competitors take an eight-minute dictation with speed increasing every minute, using any kind of technology. At the end of the eight minutes, the transcription is delivered without any correction on a USB stick delivered to the jury. Submissions are considered valid if at least three successive minutes are successfully written.

In the audio transcription event, strategy is important. Competitors transcribe a digitally recorded dictation in their mother tongue. The competitors have only 10 minutes to transcribe a 15-minute recording of 215 words per minute dictation. Competitors may speed up or slow down the recording or may decide to transcribe for nine minutes and edit for one minute. The goal is to complete the most work in the most accurate fashion possible. Seventy-seven people competed in the audio transcription event.

A final combined list that consists of individuals who participated successfully in at least three of Intersteno’s organized competitions is also published. The rankings are based on the number of competitions in which each competitor is successful, and the combined sum of the results is calculated by dividing the rank by the total number of successful competitors in each event. Shuck earned the 31st spot on the list.

Intersteno’s 2017 Congress will be held in Berlin, Germany.

For more information about Intersteno, visit Intersteno.org.

 

Editor’s note: This article has been revised from its original version for a more accurate description of the events.

Competition, culture, camaraderie

InterstenoThe 2015 Intersteno Congress happens July 18-24 in Budapest, Hungary, and promises attendees an array of exciting competitions, cultural activities, and networking sessions designed to generate international camaraderie. The 2015 Congress marks the 50th such event hosted by the International Federation for Information and Communication Processing and is being held at Corvinus University.

Intersteno is a worldwide federation of people, companies, professionals, and associations that use writing, typing, or voice techniques for producing text with the aim of processing communication, spreading information, and enabling public access to education and culture.

A main attraction at each Congress is watching or participating in the numerous competitions that test skills in text production and corrections, audio transcription, realtime speech capturing, and more. Tours are also scheduled so that attendees can explore the city of Budapest by bus and by foot. The event also features a visit to the Hungarian Parliament, educational sessions, exhibitors, and a number of opportunities to network with peers and colleagues from around the world.

In 2013, NCRA member Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, a freelance reporter from Wake Forest, N.C., attended the Intersteno Congress held in Ghent, Belgium. There she competed on the international stage for the first time and won that year’s shorthand/speech capturing contest in the speech recognition category (Laura Brewer, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, won first place in that year’s shorthand/speech capturing contest in the stenotype category). In an article about her experience that appeared in the November 2013 issue of the JCR, Pittman noted that Intersteno is an opportunity like no other.

“You get to meet people from around the world, to share ideas and customs, to visit the host country’s parliamentary seat, to eat great food, to see great sights, and to participate in competitions doing what you love to do,” Pittman said.

Organizers of the 2015 Intersteno Congress are currently seeking volunteers to help in the testing and transcription rooms during the various competitions. For more information about volunteering or to register for the 2015 Intersteno Congress, visit Intersteno2015.org/program.

Read more about Pittman’s experience.

Intersteno online keyboarding contest a fun event for competitors

More than 1,500 people from 20 different nations competed in Intersteno’s month-long Internet keyboarding contest.

“When I received an email [about the contest] in March, I was thrilled. It was a way I could be a part of Intersteno and not have to worry about travel expenses and insane dictation speeds,” said Julia Griffin, RPR, of Starke, Fla., who competed in the contest. “As anyone would, I would have loved to come in first. But 75th out of nearly 2,000 people isn’t shabby. I’m kind of proud of myself.”

The contest pits people from all over the world against each other on 10 minutes of text entry through a special software program available on the Intersteno website. All U.S. contestants were over 21 years of age and needed to produce a minimum of 240 characters per minute with a maximum error rate of 0.50%.

“There’s some awesome competition on the Net with some phenomenal typists, and it is really amazing how deep the competition is! The only thing that I am somewhat worried about is if I am going to improve. But typing is like anything: Practice makes perfect,” said Russell David Olsen, who placed 26th overall.

Results for the U.S. competitors are as follows:

Place Name School/Association Strokes per minute Total strokes Errors Error %
2 Sean Wrona Intersteno USA 808 8080 2 0.025
5 Jerry Lefler, RPR, CRR NCRA 854 8540 32 0.375
7 Jelani Nelson Intersteno USA 689 6894 12 0.174
11 Kelly D. Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CBC, CPE NCRA 670 6705 16 0.239
26 Russell David Olsen NCRA 572 5728 13 0.227
75 Julia Griffin, RPR NCRA 413 4130 5 0.121
91 Linda Kay Fritsch, RMR NCRA 389 3890 6 0.154
95 Mary Koromec NCRA 400 4004 9 0.225
103 Donna L. Linton, RMR NCRA 437 4373 18 0.412
153 Maellen Pittman, RDR, CLVS NCRA 370 3705 17 0.459

Registration for keyboarding event closes March 31

The National Court Reporters Association is close to finalizing its team for the international Keyboarding Championship by Internet. Registration closes March 31. Intersteno, the International Federation for Information and Communication Processing, is hosting the event from March 31 through May 9, and NCRA is seeking people to represent the United States and Canada as Team NCRA.

The event challenges participants to prove their typing speeds on the traditional QWERTY keyboard and is offered as both a single “mother tongue” competition or a multilingual competition. Team NCRA will compete on April 18.

Read more and register now.

NCRA to create team for international keyboarding competition

The National Court Reporters Association has announced that it is creating a team representing the United States and Canada to compete in the international Keyboarding Championship by Internet. Intersteno, the International Federation for Information and Communication Processing, is hosting the event from March 31 through May 9.

This year’s event, which challenges participants to prove their typing speeds on the traditional QWERTY keyboard, marks the 12th year the international organization has held the competition. Team NCRA will compete on April 18.

Read more.

 

By special assignment: Planes, trains, and automobiles — Just another adventure

JARGON ALERT

CART: Communication Access Realtime Translation

CAT: computer-aided transcription

IPRS: Intersteno Parliamentary and other professional Reporters’ Section

STTR: speech-to-text reporter

Never did I imagine as a young court reporter that this profession would lead me to travel the world. I didn’t even know such possibilities existed as I was striving for that last 225 wpm Q&A test in court reporting school. As a reporter now for 20 years, I’m excited to see where this profession will take me in the decades to come.

I am a court reporter, CART provider, and captioner. I’ve done everything from daily copy trials to captioning onsite for large conferences. But in February, I had a new opportunity: I was given the chance to share this profession with others around the world. Those “others” were potential STTR reporters in the Czech Republic. STTR stands for speech-to-text reporter. It is the same as what we call CART here in the United States.

I was blessed with this opportunity by my good friend and colleague Karen Yates. She met some individuals at the IPRS (InterSteno) meeting in Prague last September. These individuals were from Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, and they were putting together the Universal Learning Design conference in February 2013. The request was for me to speak twice: once to prospective STTR reporters and again during the conference at large.

Upon being asked to give a presentation, I said yes, not even knowing where Brno was. It was going to be quite the journey to get there. I flew from Phoenix to Dulles to Frankfurt to Vienna, took a cab to the train station, and then had a two hour train ride to Brno. After planes, trains, and automobiles, I arrived and was ready to meet some new friends.

This conference was very accessible be cause the modes of communication were limitless: translation from English to Czech and vice versa; interpreters in Czech Sign Language as well as International Sign Language; and CART in both English and Czech. I purposely slowed my speech down because there is nothing more annoying than a fast-talking presenter, right?

Not only did I get to talk about how the steno machine works, how we do our jobs, and how we serve so many deaf and hardof- hearing individuals in the United States, but I also was able to learn how it is done in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

In the Czech Republic, CART requests are increasing, and Masaryk University is looking for ways to expand the number of STTR reporters on staff. Currently, the STTR reporters use QWERTY keyboards to type the text. Masaryk University has developed a system to allow deaf and hardof- hearing students to view CART text on an iPad in a classroom. This system only works with the STTRs in the classroom and does not allow for remote services.

The Teiresias Center, the support center for students with disabilities at Masaryk University, is interested in creating a bachelor’s degree program for STTR reporters. At present, the STTRs are students who attend the university but who have had no formal training in providing such a service.

Within the country, however, remote services are provided for individuals at certain governmental offices. The remote CART services do not need to be prearranged. There are STTRs on call during business hours. The STTR will receive a notification via the computer that someone needs services, and everyone gets online immediately to accommodate the request.

In Ireland, the method is similar to the way it’s done here in the United States. They use steno machines and the same CAT software. Services are expanding there as well, and the need for CART providers is growing. There are members of NCRA in Ireland. Don’t think for a second that we are limited by the East and West Coasts of our country. Our certifications reach across the pond as well!

In the Netherlands, most CART providers use a veyboard or a Velotype machine. On a Velotype machine, writers can type up to 1,200 characters per minute. How that translates to words per minute, I don’t know. When using a Velotype, it is an all-in-one kind of keyboard. You can plug into any computer and be off and running. Everything you need is in the keyboard itself. This is a very interesting concept. Also, in the Netherlands, the consumer gets to choose his or her CART provider, not the paying entity. I liked this model of acquiring services.

In listening to all of the presentations, my take-away point was that while the methodology of how we provide text to the consumer may be different, we encounter many of the same issues. No matter where you are in the world, CART services are needed. Firm owners want qualified writers who have had training in providing such services so they can hit the ground running with job assignments. For me, I discover something new every day in this profession, so it is a constant state of learning.

This visit to Eastern Europe was another way for me to see the world and experience a new culture, language, and currency. This opportunity was presented to me because I am a court reporter, CART provider, and captioner. While I didn’t work at this conference by writing, I had my steno machine in tow. It’s rare that I am not carrying my equipment with me, regardless of where I am in the world. I don’t pack a light suitcase, but I have gotten my steno briefcase down to a science so it easily fits in any overhead bin, even on small jets.

I heard about many American reporters who work in Europe doing CART as well as court reporting. If you want to get involved, I can’t say this enough: Network, network, network. Get involved with NCRA, Intersteno, and other organizations. Promote your skills and certifications. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open to where this profession will take you.

Brewer wins Intersteno speech capturing in stenotype

The American contingent had a strong showing at the 49th Intersteno Competition, held this year in Ghent, Belgium. Laura Brewer, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, took top honors in the Shorthand/Speech Capturing section in stenotype. Rui Wang of China placed second, and John Wissenbach, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, captured third. In addition, Patricia Nilsen, RMR, CRR, CCP, CRI, placed fourth, and Dee Boenau, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, placed fifth.

NCRA member Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, earned first place in the Shorthand/ Speech Capturing section in speech recognition.