Tips for making my own dictation files?

Hi.  I’m new to this forum so please forgive me if this question has already been answered.  Since I can’t seem to find any commercially available dictation audios, I thought I would make my own.  I’m a beginner so I wanted to start out slow (40 wpm or so) and go up from there as I progress.  But I don’t know how to get my timing right.  How do I know how slowly to speak to get 40 wpm?  And for howm many minutes should I dictate for an effective practice session?  Any pointers/suggestions?  Thanks.

(by leftiekim for everyone)

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  1. LeftieKim wrote:

    > Hi. I'm new to this forum so please forgive me if this question has
    > already been answered. Since I can't seem to find any commercially
    > available dictation audios, I thought I would make my own. I'm a
    > beginner so I wanted to start out slow (40 wpm or so) and go up from
    > there as I progress. But I don't know how to get my timing right.
    > How do I know how slowly to speak to get 40 wpm? And for howm many
    > minutes should I dictate for an effective practice session? Any
    > pointers/suggestions? Thanks.

    Have you tried either borrowing a metronome from a friend or using a
    software metronome (should be lots of freeware or shareware available)?

    ~ C

  2. Hi Leftie Kim   There's a great free "drill machine" at the following website:   It highlights the words so you won't have to count them and decide how fast you have to speak. I've found it quite useful for dictating at the right speed without the fuss of counting and checking the clock.   However, it does words at actual word count, so it does not line up with the material in your text book which is counted at a rate of 1.4 syllables = 1 word, so 14 syllables = 10 words.   I just find that so fussy to count, so I do my own audio at 1 word = 1 word.   There is a discussion or two that talks about it:   Figures for shorthand   Self – ish Dictation   Dictation   Billy (sidhetaba)

  3. <<1 word = 1 word is good enough for me.>>The Dictation  link gives you times for 1.4 syllables from 40wpm to 160wpm.  Some words are longer then others and for exmaple the word "is" would not be the same length as "specialty" which is why the difference in syllables.  And you don't have to count, just use a stop watch, which is what I do.  Have a copy of the time table (post its are good) and just watch where the little numbers or slashes are on the dictation material.  You can dictate onto blank tapes if you can find a tape recorder, which are still around in limited choices and quantites, or you can dictate on your computer.   Of course if you're dictating something else, like a newpaper article, then that would be hard to count, but could be done.  We do have a member here (ShorthandMarc I think) who use to actually count for the Gregg company.  He also has dictation speed CD's available you can purchase Progressive Speed Building CD – link.   Debbi  

  4. Yes, how timely of you to ask. Marc finally came out with a recording after yeeears of promises! I have one so far and it's great! I want to get another as a steno-gift for a friend. The nice thing about them is that the sets start out slow, and each minute slightly increases the speed. It's nice to have a recording timed to Gregg's wpm scale.

    I also have some old dictation LP's, but no record player. Anyone know how to convert them to digital? I guess I could look it up…
    Shorthand: isn't it about time?

  5. Thanks Debbie and John for the plug! Sales of the CD have been exceedingly sluggish.

    If anyone wants to write me and let me know why they haven't purchased (is there a problem?), I'd like to hear it!

    I did add PayPal as a payment option but no one has used it so far.

    And, before all the Canadians tell me again, I know I can ship to Cananda BUT what about customs? Is there a ton of paperwork involved? No one seems to know!


  6. Hi Marc.  I'm sorry to say that I have been keying in the address to the Transcribed section of your website monthly, thereby skipping the main page.  By doing so I wasn't aware of your CD.  Now that I do you will be receiving a money order from me shortly.  The Transcribed page has been great but actually hearing dictation will be even better.  Thanks so much for making it available.   Thanks John for telling me about this website.  I don't feel like I'm the only one trying to relearn shorthand now.  Have a great day everyone.   Bye for now, Joanne

  7. Hey, Marc, I didn't know you'd added paypal.   When I was taking a distance ed course from a school in Texas, the teacher used to send me CD's with the lessons on them. She didn't even put on the green stickie you get from the post office for customs and it was no problem.   Anyway, there isn't any fuss from you for customs, if Canada Customs thinks you're sending me something illegal they'll stop it and have me arrested. Luckily the onus is on them to prove it's illegal.    

  8. Hmm. As long as they don't arrest me. 🙂 I don't look good in stripes!

    I'm doing a test case of mailing to Cananda to see what happens. I'll let you folks know the results. . . . (But I still think my Post Office is going to require those miserable customs forms!)


  9. Wow!  Thanks, everyone for all the information.  Sorry for my delayed reply, but I've been away for a few days and just got back to my computer.   Marc, I have a question about your CD's.  Since I am just beginning, I haven't learned all the symbols, brief forms, prefixes, suffixes, etc. yet.  Are the vocabularies constrained on your slower dictations to allow for simpler words or not (similar to the way the Reading & Writing Practices in the early chapters of the book are)?  I'm interested in your CD's but I don't want to get frustrated by having material dictated that I haven't studied yet.  Thanks.  ~ Kim

  10. Hi Kim,

    The material is not "graded"; in other words, it's not controlled for vocabulary so I'm not sure it would be much help until one is finished with theory. Different versions of Gregg (and Pitman, for that matter) introduce words at different times. That would necessitate one CD for Pre-Anniversary writers, another for Anniversary, etc. . . and that's too darned much work!



  11. Sure no problem.  At least this is the way I understand it and have done it.  I could be wrong, but have been doing it this way forever.   For the 40wpm you find your text you want to dictate from.  It will have numbers or a / to mark the times.  Let's say it's a /.  So you dictate 30 second to the first /  (packing yourself to do so) then 30 more seconds (60 on a stop watch) to the next / and then you start all over at 30 seconds for the next / and so on   At 50 wpm you start at 24 seconds for the first / then 40 seconds you end at the next / and then at 12 you end at the next / and then 36 seconds for the next / then 60 seconds for the next / and then 24 seconds at the next / (starting over) and so on. So you will need to pace your self between the / because sometimes they have real long words or short words and it longer between the slashes or marks.   If you know the shorthand well enough you can figure out which words will take longer to write and the easier ones say quicker.  Of course when you're taking dictation from someone they won't know and so then you'll have to write faster then they talk, if that's your goal.   Did this make sense? Debbi

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