Speech to text

Speech to text reporter

Speech-to-text reports (or STTRs for short) are able to produce a word-for-word record of what has been said.  They use a phonetic keyboard which produces words instantly on a monitor or screen.  The STTR provides a complete rendering of the words spoken as well as environmental sounds, e.g. laughter, applause or other background noises.


A trained report will write down, word-for-word, what is a being said on a Palantype or Stenograph keyboard.  They are not typing letters but words, phrases and other note-taking shortcuts, thus enabling them to keep up with the spoken word.  Special software then adapts this into English, which will appear on a screen.  It should be noted that the software is not a dictionary, so when new words are entered it will change this to what it thinks is being said, thus appearing phonetically.

Note taking

Note-taking is a means of writing down information from oral discussions at meetings or lectures, for example.  The notes of a meeting are normally referred to as minutes.  The initial format of the record may often unstructured and informal and utilises shorthand which allows large quantities of information to be put on paper.  This is a useful skill for students, but professional note-takers can provide access to information for people who cannot take their own notes, e.g. the deaf and hearing impaired.   Electronic note-taking often involves the use of special software.  Professional note-takers can be found in colleges and universities, but are also used in meetings, appointments, conferences and training sessions, and are usually educated to degree level.  In the UK they are very much expected to have specialised qualifications, such as those on offer from the Council for the Advancement of Communication of Deaf People (CACDP).

Electronic note taking

Electronic note-taking is regular note-taking aided by a laptop computer or e-tablets.  The advantage here is theat they can usually get more information down because typing is faster than writing.  Some use specialist software with speed text, predictive text or stereotype and this allows them to interact with the client by linking their computers together or to other hardware.

Electronic note-takers should not be confused with speech-to-text reporters who employ phonetic keyboards and provide a verbatim service.  Electronic notetakers offer a more précis service.

Manual notetaker

Manual note-takers produce an accurate written summary of what has been said using paper and pens.  The manual note-taker highlights important points of texts, link this to his/her briefing and handouts, and will ensure the client is alerted to any issues arising in the meeting.

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