The Stenographer’s Toolkit - ESJQ - École de sténographie judiciaire du Québec


The Stenographer’s Toolkit

Practising the art of stenography requires mastery of certain essential elements to ensure career success.

Let’s start with the material that a stenographer-in-training needs in order to complete their program. Since training is done remotely, the learner has complete control over their work environment: the desk, the chair and, of course, the computer of their choice with functional internet connection. We also recommend having access to a printer.

Next you’ll have to get yourself a stenotype, sometimes referred to as a steno machine, the number one tool for any stenographer. It’s a typewriter-like machine with keys that correspond to specific symbols. It is through this instrument that spoken words are converted into writing, which allows them to be accessed by various people at the heart of the judicial system. To make the right choice, see our Quick Guide to Buying A Student Stenotype.

Since teaching is done remotely, as a student you’ll also need a good camera in order to “see and be seen” during classes.

You’ll also need a recording tool, to collect material to transcribe. The possibilities in this category virtually infinite, so pick the one that best suits you.

Next, you’ll need to learn how to use Case CATalyst® software, which was developed specifically for computer-assisted transcription. It’s available in different versions; you need to choose the one for court stenographers. This software works in conjunction with Luminex II, Luminex CSE, Wave, and other stenotypes and is supported by a team of technical professionals that you can get in touch with for all kinds of information.

You’ll also need the Express Scribe audio player, developed to facilitate transcription of audio recording, with a pedal. Once the pedal is connected to your computer, you’ll be able to increase your words per minute speed by using your feet to manage the audio playback. There is a free version of the software available that manages common audio formats such as wav, mp3, wa, and dct. Download the free version of Express Scribe here.

Last but not least, a good pair of headphones is necessary so you can listen to words and transcribe with your full attention.

Once the toolkit is set up, stenographer have to master stenograms, phonetic signs that represent a syllable, a word, or a group of words. These abbreviations make it possible to rapidly write down what is said.

Using their stenotype, stenographers produce transcriptions: accurate documents that can be referenced again and again, and archived to serve as evidence for various proceedings.

The collection of these tools will make it possible for you to enjoy great success in your studies and your career !