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steno machine

Posted By: Grace on 2006-10-04
In Reply to: Stenograph machine increase productivity to 500 plus lines per hour - Helen Rolfe

What kind of steno machine did you purchase to help you?

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Do you use your steno machine to transcribe? nm
Question for the steno machine user

I keep remembering how much faster you said it is than typing and I am wondering how one would go about learning how to use one?  Is it something that can be self-taught with a book?  Would I likely be able to find a good used machine?  Also, will they work with any transcribing software?

I am a slow MT and need all the help I can get!    Thanks for any further information you can give me.



Well, learning machine ShortHand isn't the easiet thing in the world.  I think it is what you make of your practice time.  I'm returning to an online school for this in the near future.

Good luck!


steno vs ASR
Today's steno machines are electronic and computerized so they hook up to the back of the computer.  Then we use a CAT program to translate steno Keystrokes into English using a dictionary of steno/English entries.  The translation occurs before getting back to the computer word program that is active on the screen.  The screen only sees QWERTY, not steno.  It's all highly technical and I don't know it all, but I do know that steno is way faster than longhand typing for me, and way faster than ASR.
Wow!  If you're already doing 250-350 lph in long hand then you don't need to steno!
Steno for MT
I have used a steno machine for 10 years and if you are already doing 250-300 lines an hour you are beating me. I get around 250 on a good day and really with the dictators and filling in ADT information I would think it would be hard to do much more than that even if you never stopped except for spell check, sending reports, et cetera. Learning the machine is no piece of cake either, took me years. I passed my 200s, but never could pass all my 225s, so never got to be a court reporter. I can keep up with most dictators, but they back up, change their minds, et cetera, so it is not like you can sit down and write without a break, so it is difficult to do a lot more than you are doing right now.

Just my opinion.
steno for mt
Hi Julie,
I'm not sure if I have emailed you before, but I saw your post about using your steno machine for medical transription. I've passed all of my 120's, and I am thinking of making the switch and going to school for medical transcription. Do you think it can be a lucrative endeavor? Did you just add medical terms to your dictionary as they came up? I use CaseCatalyst software. How did you make the transition? Anything you could tell me would be great.
Steno transcription

 Yes, it is definitely possible to use a steno machine and do transcription.  I have done so for over 10 years.  I never could pass all my tests to be a court reporter, so finally decided to use that skill in medical transcription and has worked out great for me.

I'm a steno writer
I went to school to learn how to use a steno machine, like in court, to "type" my medical reports. I have been doing this since 2000. I trained at 225 words per minute back in the day, so now I have a reservoir of speed to draw from when dictation speeds up. I rarely need to lift my foot off the pedal with steno.

I think steno is the fastest way to produce a report, but now that MQ is forcing us to do ASR work, I am not using my machine as much. To me, this is unacceptable since they only pay 70% of our base line rate for ASR. I have hung in there so far, but I'm fast approaching the need to get out of MQ since I used to produce 2000 lines a day easily with steno, way less now on ASR reports.

They say ASR is 30% faster than non-ASR thus they justify knocking off 30% of our base rate. Not true. ASR has slowed me way down, can barely make the minimum each day. Last I heard, they will not take us off ASR if we request it. I'm getting madder by the week and losing tons of money in the process.
learning steno, et al.
Hi mt,

I looked into closed captioning many years ago here in San Diego, but it was not as good as it sounded with many problems both internally and externly, hard to explain in this forum, but I didn't want to get involved in that mess.

I started court reporting school way back in 1988 when we still had saber tooth tigers running around. I started the program at San Diego's City College. The first semester was learning theory which taught the steno language and the keyboard. We used the old manual machines, which are still available for students. The second semester and thereafter was all about the dreaded speed-building classes. We finished the first semester at 60 words a minute. Speed-building is a very personal matter. It can take years and years or less time, depending on the person. It took me 2 more years to reach 225 words per minute which qualified me to take the California state board test for licensure. I passed the academic portion the first time but not the machine portion. So I took it another 6 times, never passed that damned thing! Nerves got the best of me each and every time, so I could not go into the court reporting field (something I don't regret in hindsight). Instead I opted to enter our wonderful field of MTing.

I'm using my machine to write this message. I really like using the machine a lot. Each stroke produces either one word several words or phrases or parts of words that have many syllables. It all depends on how you have your dictionary defined.

Today's steno machines are electronic and computerized allowing us to interface with any word processing program.

I hope more people learn this skill and start using it for medical reports so we can get rid of this rotten ASR chap which has reduced my income way more than I can live with. I need a firm that will appreciate my skill and recognize its value in this field.

BTW, it would only take about 10 months to a year to become proficient enough on the machine to start using it for MTing, maybe even less time depending on the person. I didn't work during 3 years of my early training as I had financial help at the time (which I had to pay back, of course, $30,000 - it's paid back now).

Does anyone use Steno for MT work?
Could you tell me about how many lines per hour etc you type using steno. I've found a local college that offers a court reporting course and have thought it might be worth the investment if it could speed me up some more. I'm doing 250-350 lines per hour with a qwerty keyboard right now.

Thanks a bunch.

Has anyone ever done steno transcription? What is involved? Is it
most importantly, are there jobs out there available? Toni
I can't testify to the steno pads

But when I started I used tapes and a selectric typewriter with 3 carbon copies.  We used to use a scapel blade to correct the carbon copies and then slide a little piece of carbon paper in to re-type the correction. 

I think it started going downhill when the  MTSO's started showing up more and more.  Only because, they cut the wages because after all, you got to stay at home, didn't have to pay for work clothes, transportation, meals, etc.  And you could write off part of your house mortgate, utilities, etc. as long as you had a room that used only as an office.  Everyone bought into it saying they wanted to work at home and thus they bought into the little less in wages that they offered.  I still think there is a distinct advantage to knowing the doc's you are transcribing for.  Working in a clinic or a hospital and getting to know the doc's make it alot easier to look at them and tell them they sound like they are gargling with peanut butter, they acutally laugh, and listen and I found they would make a bigger effort to be a better dictator because of it.  Better dictators = easier to type = faster TAT = less errors = less need for as much editing.  We used to transcribe all day and our work never went to QA (what was QA) QA was the doc complaining about our work which = counseling from your supervisor = getting written up = out the door if you didn't fix the problem.  That was what it was like when I first started 30 years ago.  I didn't have google, I had little notes taped all over  my workstation for those words I had never heard before until they came naturally to me, then that piece of paper was replaced by another one.  I had what I called my "bible" of phrases, etc. certain doctor's always said, no short cuts or expanders, we typed it all out.  That was real transcription.

Let the machine get it.
CR machine
I have been using a CR machine to do medical transcription for seven years.  I use software that translates steno into English and "dumps" into any program, MS Word, Wordperfect, or whatever software a client may use.  I can use it to post messages or use messenger service, or to write emails, and yes it is MUCH more productive than typing, even using expanders.
Same machine?
Have you used the same laptop that whole time? If not, how long did each machine last? Do you work full time?
What is a C-machine?
What is a C-machine?
definitely get a fax machine

I got a Brother fax machine several years ago at Office Depot for around $80 or so.  I later got an HP all-in-one in 2005 at Sam's.  I don't remember what it cost, but it's worth it if you'll be faxing regularly.  Some of your clients may prefer a scanned version.

You could also compare on-line fax capabilities, which seems to be more current, for obvious reasons.  I can't remember the details, but I've heard it advertised on talk radio.

Just a thought.

Janome machine!!
I bought one last January for 250 and it is great! I sew all the time
VR would be better if they gave MTs the machine and
So the machine only has to get used to our sweet little voices instead of these speed demons and speech impedimentalists. 
I bought an e-machine for $399 (sm)

It was on sale at Best Buy (there were only 3)  That is w/o the monitor, cause I didn't need one at the time.  I know the support people are usually Dave or Keith (yeah, right) they barely speak English, but I don't actually know where the computers are made.   Check for sales at Best Buy and get there early.

Mine is an e-machine...
refurbished, discontinued model, though of course they have a number of current models available.  Bought my on ebay but seriously considered a new Dell also, they are the best price for what you get.  My screen is 17 inches and I love it, as I use it to watch DVDs in my bedroom!   It came setup for WIFI (as many of them do now) so when I stay at a motel I can get online easily and check my e-mail.  Only way to go!
Just not a typing machine??
Then I would say you definitely have the wrong job. The raises are hardly ever there for MTs now days, you just type faster if you want to make a decent pay. The pay is down, really down from 20 years ago. You do turn into a typing machine if you want to earn a living.
Need fax machine expert!
Can anyone tell me if you have ever had the problem of your fax machine not being able to fax only to one particular number?  I can fax anywhere else, but to this one particular number.  I have tried everything I know, even so far as calling the maker of my fax machine, but no one can tell me why I get a communication error when faxing to this one particular number.  I have changed my splitter on that line, my filter on that line and had the phone company check out my line, all to no avail. It will go through every now and then, but mostly it will not go through.  This has just started happening in the last few months. If anyone has every had this problem and can give me advice, I'd appreciate it immensely!  Thanks in Advance!
Use MS Virtual Machine
You can run XP on your vista machine using Microsoft Virtual PC. You can download it here:

and then follow the instructions very carefully, but it does work as long as you have the original installation CD for whatever other operating system, in your case XP Home, you need. I have not tested some of the proprietary transcription platforms on it yet, but it works well for my needs so far.
Help with Lanier machine!

I pulled out my old Lanier machine to work for a company I worked for previously and I forgot how to set it to go back a couple of seconds when I take my foot off the pedal.  I tried Googling,,found nothing.. Does anybody know?  thanks

Do you have a tape in the machine?--sm
If there is no tape with dictation, there would be nothing for the machine to indicate. My Lanier has a counter but is not this model. This site has info on the 210--http://www.transcribesolutions.com/lavwmicama2.html

Hope this helps.

Don't know if this machine is broken or not...help?
Sorry to intrude here but someone in this crowd likely know the answer to my quandary(SP?)... I'm not a Transcriptionist but my neighbor wants me to sell these two machines he has. I learned trans back in high school (30 years ago!) but think these two machine "might" be broken. Both units are micro players (the Lanier VW-210 and Lanier P-101). Neither show the "units" or "location" in their digital displays... From my recall, the machine was supposed to tell you where in the tape you were (hence I believe the above indicators). Everything else works on the machines but if they're broken I don't think I should sell them. Any suggestions? I went looking for advice, online manuals, you name it. Whatever suggestions or advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated!
The machine does not actually transcribe. It
transcriber (far better title than AHDI's 'ist' word) is the living being that actually uses her ears to hear the dictation, her brain to sort is all out and make some sense of it, and her hand do the typing. The machine just records and plays back. And sometimes it doesn't even do THAT very well.
faxing without a fax machine

Several jobs I worked in the past allowed the capability to send a fax through the computer without using a fax machine.  However, I have no idea that program was set up but would really like something similar at home.  I can't figure out where to start.  Anyone know anything about this?


Microcassette Machine
Not sure if it will help, but I have a Sony M-2000 microcassette transcriber.  I know your sour on the Sony's, but I don't use this anymore.  Let me know if you are interested. 
white noise machine
I had a neighbor who had a dog who barked all night and also another neighbor who played music all night.  I bought a white noise machine for about $20.00.  I had a choise of ocean waves, birds chirping, rain hitting the house, thunder, so many more sounds and it worked..It would drown out the outside noises.I had tried ear plugs, calling the cops (the minute they left the dog and neighbor would start again), confronting the neighbors..nothing worked but the white nose machine..You can get one at any department store..
Need transcription machine recommendations please

I am an at-home MT and I have been using an Olympus Pearlcorder T1000 for the last several years. I am on my second one - the first one the hinge doesn't work correctly to insert/remove the microcassette tape but the machine still works (but I have to use something to flip/pry the lid open-lol) ! In fact, I am using it now because about a year or more ago I purchased another one (exact same model) as I felt it would be wise to have an extra machine). Anyway, the new one started pulling out the tape out of the microcassettes and won't backup/rewind like it should. It did this a couple months ago and I did the alcohol cleaning with a q-tip and that didn't work, so tried some silicone spray and finally it started working properly again but now I have run into the same problem. I tried all the above mentioned tactics but it didn't work this time. :( I hardly feel it is worth taking it in to have it repaired since they are not a costly machine, and BTW, I have an older Sony business quality transcription machine (around $500 over 10 years ago!) that I had so many problems with and had it in/out of the business machine repair shop several times (so additional $ spent) and still ended up with problems, so that is why I lean now more toward the cheaper models and if I get a couple years use out of them I am happy.

I am just wondering if there are any other machines that you might recommend around the $200 price range that you have had good luck with or should I just buy another Pearlcorder.


Stenograph Machine/Transcribing
I was in court reporting school for 3 years. I got to over 200 words per minute on the stenograph machine. The problem with using it for transcription is that it still has to be transcribed into typewriting. The system the machine uses is a machine ShortHand - combinations of letters form different letters of the alphabet. You do not produce readable text as we know it in typing on a stenograph machine.

This would be causing more work, not solving a problem. It is used to transcribe spoken words in a courtroom or medical conference, etc., as a tool only. You still must transcribe the stenograph Keystrokes into a typewritten, readable form that could be a permanent medical record or legal document.

My name (Gloria) in stenograph is a classic example of what the phonics system looks like. Gloria is a combination of these letters:

TKPWHR is the sound "GL";
O is the "O"
R on the right side of the keyboard is "R"
Then a second keystroke would be KWA for the sound "YA."

My name would read like this on the printout from Stenograph:


The letters print out in the same location and it is based on phonic sounds. Thus, it still has to be transcribed into readable typewritten English to be understandable.

Hope this helps. I dedicated myself to this system for 3 years of hard learning in College and then burned out in the end right after passing the Georgia Court Reporting exam.

Sound on my machine goes bananas--Please help
Hey y'all. The sound on my machine has been going from being totally OK to really sounding terrible--fuzzy, distorted, and killing my eardrums.

All else has stayed the same. It will be good for 2 days, then really bad, then good. Does anyone have any ideas? Please reply quickly, as I have a deadline. Thanks so much. It is Windows 2000.
If it has never been installed on another machine, then you are fine. sm
I have bought OEM software off or Ebay, came with registration numbers never used, and it was fine. I was able to register and access support.
Transcribing machine wanted
I was wondering if anyone has an old transcriber they wanted to sell, with the regular size cassette, not the mini. I live in Hawaii. Please email me if you have one you would like to sell.

Try a noise machine - we have one that lets you....sm
choose between the sounds of a waterfall, crickets chirping, and other sounds that I got my daughter for $10 at Target. Good luck!
Have you tried unplugging the machine for a few minutes
Maybe this would reset the machine. I have looked through my manual and did not find a solution for you, sorry.
I should add it works great with the fax machine too!
With Vonage I could never send or receive faxes.  I kept getting "poor line quality" error messages on my fax machine. 
I like fax machine as can fax permission slip to
True, we are just part of the machine, like PC,
check ebay for machine sm
I've gotten several things for transcribing from ebay and have been thrilled every time.  good luck!!
There is also E-machine, brand of computer, but sm
I have one sitting here in my office that says on it "NEVER OBSOLETE," but it so is. C-phone seems more likely, if it is transcription related..
fax machine versus computer
I just purchased just a fax machine. If I purchases an all in one, would that eliminate my printing it out and then faxing. Are there benefits from having a fax put on your computer versus the all in one? Just trying to figure out the best cost saving measure.
Once you train the speech machine ...
Once you train the speech machine to correctly transcribe any dictator, your services as a Transcriptionist will not be needed. So every report you clean up or trim down, takes a little bite out of your future in this profession. I have 30+ years of continuous acute care transcribing experience, and it only took me 2 months working with the speech machine to understand I was cutting away the very surface I was standing on. I quickly switched to a company that does not offshore and does not use VR. Just my personal opinion here... Wise
FYI, did you know that a transcriber is a machine and a transcriptionist is a person?

Elssa - Sony answering machine
You mentioned in your post that the docs called in on your Sony answering machine. Could you please tell me what model that was and how it worked for transcription.
Let your fax machine answer a couple times.
Court Reporting Machine Used for Transcription
Does anyone happen to use a stenograph machine (the kind used for court reporting) to do transcription?  If so, has it been much faster than typing?  What are the pro's and con's?  Have you developed your own set of (probably hundred's, no doubt) brief forms/abbreviations (since you I assume you don't have an Expander like InstantText or autocorrect/autotext as Word does)???  How has the wear and tear on your hands/wrists been?  Thanks......
Software used with Court Reporting Machine
What software do you use to transcribe with? What type of court reporting machine do you have? I have a Stentura 8000 and would love to use it, but I do not have software and really did not want to spend thousands of dollars on software. Any ideas?