Shorthand vs Recording

OK, folks, I’ve posted a table ( to my site and am wondering if I left out anything important. The table shows, as honestly as possible, the superiority of using a shorthand writer as opposed to a dictating machine in the office environment. Of course, that table is from my standpoint when I was a secretary. Please let me know if I’m missing anything!


(by shorthandmarc
for everyone)

9 comments Add yours
  1. I don't think you mentioned the cost of training (and therefore hiring) a good stenographer. Anyone who can type can listen to the tape.

    Stenographers carry a sense of history.

    Originals can be filed more easily. Look at the hours in one notebook vs on one cassette tape.

    If the stenographer is also the producer of the minutes, she can edit at the time of the meeting. I learned to take minutes longhand, like lecture notes, so often consolidate as I take them. This makes transcription faster.

    A stenographer can put in non-verbal cues, such as who is being pointed to, or what document was passed around. Dictators may not think to do this, and it can interrupt a meeting.

    Much as I smile at the word dictator, I wonder if you intend the pun. Is there another word you can use?

    I like the list. It's something to show my friends who think I'm strange.


  2. This looks good.  I think it's pretty true.  The part about wading through trvial chatter is true.  When I did machine and shorthand (machine just in case I didn't catch something) I actually went back to my notes and transcribed from there to avoid talking that didn't go with the meeting.  I did the tape just in case.   For me, I would change the "out sick" part for the machine.  I would add "and if someone knows how to use the machine and is willing to give up their other duties to do this" … trust me in my office I think one other assistant knows how to use a dictaphone machine but the others don't and to get someone else to try would be a great accomplishment.  Sad but true.  So it's not "easily transcribed" it's "transcribed by someone who knows how to use the machine and is willing to do so.".  Well in my office. Debbi

  3. The one time I was asked (as a long-term temp) to transcribe from a machine, I found it easy enough to do. Then again, I'm technically ept.

    (I ended up doing all five letters while she was out. Took next to no time. Turns out she only wanted me to do one, and the rest were possibly things I shouldn't have heard. Nothing terrible, just things still under boss/secretary confidentiality.)

  4. Cricket, I do NOT think you're strange.    Thanks to you and Debbie for some valuable suggestions!  I'm trying NOT to skew the results towards the shorthand writer, but it sure seems the better way to go.   As for the word "dictator," the definition is "one who dictates."  I didn't want to say "boss" or "speaker."  I'm guessing that since you're not used to hearing that someone "took dictation" because it's not done much any more, the word has acquired a negative shade of meaning. . . .   Marc  

  5. You can consider the word "dictator" to be a term of art amongst the shorthand set.  In our sense of the word there is much less negative political context.  If anyone should ask about your use of the word "dictator", all you have to do is turn to them with a slight smugness and say, "it's a technical term."    We are a specialist group that has its own vernacular.

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