"Cattywampus, onomatopoeia, and antidisestablishmentarianism"
April 3, 2015 2:57 PM   Subscribe

But seriously, have you ever seen the magical powers of a stenographer? Nigel Hayes and his Wisconsin Badger teammates were quite taken by the skills of the stenographer at a recent post-game press-conference.
posted by Lexica (20 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Huh. This is from way back on the 21st. There has been a more recent development.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:04 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

OK Sys Rq, this was initially rather cute, now it's adorable.
posted by stoneandstar at 3:08 PM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yes. That was super cute.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:19 PM on April 3, 2015

Excellent use of sesquipedalian.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:36 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

If they really wanted to test her skills, they could have just dropped random Wisconsin town names into their answers, being careful to use all spellings of Menomonie (town in western Wisconsin)/Menomonee (river in Milwaukee)/Menominee (northern border with Michigan UP); plus Oconomowoc.
posted by LionIndex at 3:48 PM on April 3, 2015 [15 favorites]

They did something like this in the Christmas episode of TOFOP--they decided at one point to get a stenographer because their podcast has a tendency to ramble. Then they actually hired one, brought her on stage and kept asking her to repeat various things during the course of the show.

I was amazed that she should keep typing as Wil and Charlie talked crap about everything AND was a pretty decent foil to their ramblings. When I was in college, my roommate and I had an idea to write a sitcom about a couple of notaries public, but we really should have thought more about stenographers.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:03 PM on April 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

Stenographers really are amazing - I was once a Youth Participant (read seat-filler) for a small charity board, and glanced over at the notes of the Sister who was the secretary for the meeting. She had been recording the meeting in shorthand of some variety, which I took to be Inuktitut for some reason.

Pitman shorthand is of course, beautiful.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:41 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

As a Minnesotan, I just have to ask: Wisconsonites haven't seen a stenographer before?

*shakes head* What a buncha rubes...
posted by wenestvedt at 5:49 PM on April 3, 2015 [5 favorites]

This is freaking adorable. Thank you!
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 6:35 PM on April 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I love you Nigel.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:26 PM on April 3, 2015

This is truly lovely. I love people who are genuinely curious about the things around them.
posted by arcticseal at 9:20 PM on April 3, 2015 [9 favorites]

Nigel Hayes is such a wonderful human.
posted by lauranesson at 10:14 PM on April 3, 2015

Pitman shorthand is of course, beautiful.

I have an instructional book on Pitman shorthand from (I think) the 1880s, and it's one of the most baffling things I've ever looked at.

Anyway, stenography is really neat. I'm always surprised there are still people doing it - text-to-speech keeps getting better, and training to be a stenographer is really difficult. Plus, those machines are ludicrously expensive (I've checked, heh heh).
posted by teponaztli at 12:18 AM on April 4, 2015

Oh man, he even manages to tweet about that mic slip adorably:
Apologies to @debrabollman for "accidentally" verbalizing her pulchritude. I meant no disrespect ma'am.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 12:34 AM on April 4, 2015 [8 favorites]

Anyway, stenography is really neat. I'm always surprised there are still people doing it - text-to-speech keeps getting better, and training to be a stenographer is really difficult. Plus, those machines are ludicrously expensive (I've checked, heh heh).

I'm really glad there are people doing it - speech-to-text is terrible. Try watching random youtube videos, autocaptioned, with the sound muted; you'll find a few that are comprehensible (though with errors) and a ton where there's not a single word that's useful, and that's the best we can do with uncontrolled audio.

Now, I've heard it's possible to do better with a trained operator - that you can put a trained person with a mic-in-a-mask in a room and have them re-speak everything they hear into it and produce a transcript (or live captions) that way. I'm a bit skeptical about how well it deals with unexpected input and homophones, but I have not actually ever seen it in the wild, so who knows.

Stenography, on the other hand, is awesome. I didn't learn ASL until I was in college, and I wasn't fluent enough to rely on it in an academic setting until about a year before I graduated - but college was also where the material got hard enough that I couldn't get away with faking it anymore, with bluffing covering for my (by that time, pretty limited) residual hearing. So, I used CART, which is what stenography is usually called in the US when it's being used to provide live captioning for a deaf/hard of hearing audience*, for communication access in all my classes. I got to work with a really talented bunch of folks.

* Or non-native speakers of English in the audience, I've seen it be really well-received at conferences by non-native speakers. And native speakers, though that is kind of a different dynamic.

Steno seems to be getting a lot of mainstream attention lately, which is awesome - lots of tech conferences - StenoKnight's blog is another fantastic place to read about this kind of thing, and the Plover project she started has created open-source steno software (with a pretty darn affordable DYIish keyboard).

The story in the OP here is cute and funny and whatnot, but I do feel kinda obligated to mention that you should be a bit careful about playing with the stenographer. Often they're there because they're somebody's access into the speech around them. So ... while stenographers are often happy to answer questions and do demos when they're off duty (and for whatever cultural or training-related reasons this seems to be less fraught than doing the same with ASL interpreters), they also have a job that is pretty important, and if they're busy doing that, let 'em. They and we (their audience, clients, consumers) both appreciate it.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 2:23 AM on April 4, 2015 [12 favorites]

posted by bq at 8:15 AM on April 4, 2015

My bracket was a mess by the Final Four, so I adopted Wisconsin after the stenographer delight. Now I just want them to keep winning so they keep having press conferences, Wisconsin player insists 'all we care about is our suckoffs.'
posted by gladly at 8:24 PM on April 4, 2015

No mention of the t-shirt?
posted by desjardins at 6:22 AM on April 5, 2015

This story makes me smile. Love it.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 3:42 PM on April 5, 2015

I am a court stenographer and this had me laughing out loud. It's nice to be appreciated!
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 7:32 AM on April 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older (Financial) Literacy by the people, for the people   |   Up for a game of thigh-fencing? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments