The Stenomask – Your Court Reporting Nighmares Realized
The stenomask was developed in the 1940’s by Horace Webb, who was employed doing shorthand. Webb wanted a more time efficient way to take verbatim notes; shorthand took an hour to transcribe every two hours of dictation. After experimenting with new ideas for technology, Webb invented the idea and application of the stenomask.
The stenomask technology was immediately adopted by the United States Navy and is still seen today, outside the courtroom, in military usages when engine noises are too heavy.
The stenomask is a sound proof mask worn over the mouth and nose that contains a microphone. The court reporter’s voice is the only noise captured by the microphone.
The court reporter repeats every word said during the court case, including notes on tone and gestures, as well as other transcription notes. Stenographers perform real time transcriptions and “voice write” the court proceedings as they occur.
Transcripts often have extremely long turn around times; the stenographer may have to transcribe thousands of pages of testimony. The stenomask alleviates that production time, giving legal council the opportunity to question a case immediately. The court system also maintains ownership of the transcript document; court reporters no longer have to be held accountable for maintaining databases of old cases.
A trained stenomask operator, whose equipment is hooked up to recognition software, can voice write over 180 words per minute with extreme accuracy. Stenomask technology is also used to produce real time captioning.
Benefits of the stenomask:
- Fast, accurate transcriptions
- Transcripts produced immediately
- Ownership of the case sensitive material not owned by stenographer
Improvements to the mask over the years have made the device smaller and lighter, though the device is still quite cumbersome and must cover a percentage of the users face. It is an odd looking piece of equipment that makes the wearer, who is trying to be indistinct, a spectacle.
Dissentions of the stenomask: