Speech To Text
What actually is Speech to Text Reporting and what are Speech to Text Reporters?
• A speech to text reporter (or STTR for short) is a person that types the spoken word on a Palantype or Stenograph machine; a Palantype machine is made in the UK, the stenograph machine is made in the US. Both, although they look completely different, actually produce the same output on the screen.
• The STTR uses a specially designed keyboard. It’s actually like playing a piano – a series of sounds are keyed in and the software converts it all into words – as if by magic! For example, on the Palantype system the word “systematic” is keyed in like this “SIS TEM MA TIC”.)
• The STTR types word for word what they hear, as it is being spoken. People speak at approximately 180 words per minute. An STTR can type more than 200 words per minute which enables them to keep pace with the speaker.
• The spoken word is displayed in a scrolling format and can be shown on larger screens or monitors, where suitable, for a larger number of readers.
• You may have seen the machine used on Television during court cases and, indeed, Perry Mason! The majority of STTRs started as Court reporters.
• A Court Reporter, however, cannot immediately start working with deaf users. There are rigorous tests required to become a trained STTR, and it is a fully regulated profession. Just as you would expect a mechanic/plumber or an accountant to be fully trained, so the same applies to an STTR.
• In order to become a Speech to Text Reporter, an STTR has to be able to type verbatim at a minimum of 180wpm with an accuracy of at least 97%, pass a Deaf Awareness exam and also be tested in a live situation. Once this is achieved the potential STTR can register with NRCPD or equivalent.
• An STTR works at a variety of places, eg, meetings, conferences, rehearsals for actors, interviews; basically wherever a deaf person needs to follow/interact with hearing peers.