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The Evolution of Court Reporting and Stenography

The following blog article The Evolution of Court Reporting and Stenography Read more on:

Stenography, also known as court reporting, is a very advanced technical profession. It takes years to master and very few can make the cut to become great at it. But where did court reporting start?

when did court reporting start? [divider style=’full’]

The word court reporting comes from two Greek words “steno” meaning “narrow” and “graphie” meaning writing.


history of stenography


Historical Beginnings of Shorthand Dates to 4th Century BC

Court reporting can be dated all back to the 4th Century BC where a stone slab was found at the Parthenon with shorthand scribed into it. Different forms of shorthand have been used throughout the centuries one being brachygraphy, from the Greek “brachys” meaning “short” and the other being tachygraphy, from the Greek “tachys” meaning “swift” or “speedy”. The use of the terms also depended on whether compression or speed of writing was the goal.


ancient steno machineThe first shorthand machine was invented in 1877 and later patented in 1879 by Miles Bartholomew. Since 1877 to the early 1970’s court reporters were required to transcribe their stenographic writing off of the paper tape they created form the steno machine or dictate it back for typist.

From the mid 1970’s shorthand evolved when computer-aided transcription systems were invented. This enabled a more streamlined transcription process by allowing the court reporters to record simultaneously to a paper platen and a magnetic tape, which was then read by a mini computer.


1980s apple computerBy the 1980’s computers systems were developing into personal computers and software was created to help transcribe their shorthand. The use of computers helped court reporters expand their services to providing closed captions for television broadcasts. Closed captioning has helped millions of people over the years by giving them the experience of understanding every spoken in context with their entertainment.

Continuing Evolution of Steno into The 1990s

In 1992, George Bush senior was president, the Soviet Union became the Russian Federation, and captioning had developed into realtime captioning.


This mobilized captioning known as Computer-Aided Realtime Translation, or CART, is now referred to as Communication Access Realtime Translation. The mobility of this setup enabled stenographers to provide realtime translation of the spoken word in most all venues, including the courtroom, seminars, sport stadiums and conventions.

Expert realtime court reporters are trained in writing an accurate and complete verbatim translation of the spoken word within any setting.


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