Tool or Crutch?
Many stenographers, probably the majority of stenographers that are not captioning, use audio in one form or another. Recently had the opportunity to see someone post up that they had taken their first medical, and that he or she could only hear themselves on the audio. Needless to say, this can be a nightmare for any stenographer, because there’s nothing to check against. It’s now the stenographer’s notes versus the world, and that can be a daunting situation.
Do we consider it a tool or a crutch? Both! It can be both! On the one hand, it is a fantastic tool in situations where you took down what you heard and want to double check. Many a stenographer use a KHEBG KHEBG stroke to tell themselves they’ve got to look at it again. But the audio problem reveals itself when we let ourselves drop completely and don’t teach ourselves the necessary skill of interrupting.
What do you do? You’re left piecing it together from stenographic strokes and memory! It is such a terrible nightmare to drop and then realize the audio is off. No matter how careful one is, there is an inevitable chance that you forgot to turn it on or check it on every single job, and so the best practice is always to learn the art of interrupting, and don’t be afraid to speak up, because everyone in the room will be much more upset if the deposition has to be redone because you missed something important than they will be with a polite, professional request for a repetition.
In the bottom right of the vast majority of computer screens (Windows 10, 2017) there is this little sound icon. If you right click it, nine times out of ten it says volume mixer, recording devices and playback devices. If your sound is not working and you cannot hear, you should check your volume mixer and playback devices. If your recording is not working, you should check your recording devices. In these menus, you may select your default microphone, disable a microphone if you do not wish for it to work, or enable a microphone you have previously disabled.
Ensure that your microphone does not have its own mute button or feature. A microphone may seem like it is working, the audio bar may go up and down with your voice, but if you have it muted on the microphone, it will muffle everything and fail to record anything useful.
If audio is of particularly terrible quality, you should try to use an audio program like Audacity to try to boost the volume or slow speed.
Never back down from a challenge. Always work on making yourself a little bit better. Seek help or guidance from a confidant in situations where you need help or guidance. Never let a mistake scare you out of improvement. Problems happen to the best of us, and we are remiss if we do not encourage all to make the best of bad situation, stand back up and perform better next time.