Stenonymous Propaganda is Now Automated*

You will steno and be happy.
AI will enhance the human.
Happy writing is key.
A complete calendar is a happy calendar.
The newest technology is required.
A compliant court reporter is a happy court reporter.
The future is inevitable.
Resist. You can’t win if you don’t play.
The newest in court reporting technology.
The best technology in tilting tripods brought to you by the Stenographic Society of America.
Together we are stronger.
Conform. Trust the system. It’s always been this way.
The working court reporter. Confident and assertive.
The court of public opinion.
Take care of your hands. They are your money makers.
STRONGer Together
The happiest reporters work for big box.
The OpenSteno Flatsy is taking the world by storm.
If you don’t keep up with your software updates you won’t be at the top of your game.
Brought to you by

*None of this is real. It’s a project called Stenonymous Satire Weekends, designed to get into search engines and expose corporate fraud in court reporting. This one’s a little more performative than usual, but I hope you enjoyed it.

P.S. The artwork is so bad because it’s AI art. Now seeking independently contracted artist for stenography propaganda posters with equal rights to share and distribute given to us both. Request 1 image per month at $100 per poster image and 90% of support purchases. (Images will be made public, but there will be a designated space on the site for people to buy the image to support your work.) Estimated term of arrangement is one year. Terms negotiable. Write

SCAM ALERT: Fake Anir Dutta/Stenograph Scam

It’s come to my attention that there may be texts circulating claiming to be Stenograph President Anir Dutta.

Scammer attempting to fool CaseCATalyst/Stenograph customers by claiming to be its president, Anir Dutta.

Mr. Dutta called me not too long ago (Sunday), and this was obviously not his area code. Nobody should be fooled by this dishonesty, it’s a common gift card scam.

It’s notable that these attacks are frequent on prominent organizations. The data to commit these scams is usually scraped off of organizations’ websites, and as far as I know, not usually the result of any breach.

It’s my sincere hope that more law enforcement emphasis gets put on scam detection, investigation, and prosecution. FTC data shows consumers losing over $8 billion to scams in 2022. That’s over twice the size of our entire industry. Double the money every single court reporter made in 2022.

If you or anyone receive this scam, remember not to fall for it. Respectable people like company presidents and association board members will not randomly ask for gift cards.

Stenonymous Satire Weekends is back with a vengeance tomorrow. We’ll be poking fun at AI art.

EchoTheSavage Reviews Stenonymous Songs

Have you ever wondered what somebody might say about the Stenographers Song?

EchoTheSavage reviews Stenographers Song

Personally, my favorite facial expression in this video was…

Stenonymous’s favorite EchoTheSavage expression during the Stenographers Song review.

EchoTheSavage was pretty close in the beginning part there. He says the lyrics were written by me and performed by somebody else, but Anonymous actually wrote and created the song, which really impressed me when I first commissioned it. All I gave was creative direction. The crazy thing is toward the end of the review, he mentions how everybody’s voice can be tinkered with via AI. So he knows exactly what we’re trying to get out there when we talk about voice cloning being dangerous for legal proceedings without knowing a damn thing about us.

Now, I get pretty deep and political here, so if you just want a light read, stop here, close me out, go enjoy your day. Otherwise, keep reading.


If you follow my politics, you’ve probably figured out that I’m against corporatism. I think it threatens American capitalism. I think there’s a strong corporatist streak in both major American parties, and that the failure of government to enforce the laws equally is due largely to the fake media circus that Congress uses to distract Americans from the fact that they’re not doing their job and writing laws that would make Americans’ lives better and siphon more of the economy to working people. If they’d budget more money for things that are meant to keep markets fair, like the Federal Trade Commission, we’d see a fantastic shift in the state of the country and an explosive expansion of the middle and upper middle class. You think it’s not that easy? Look how tech went from AI Winter to being this omnipresent thing in our lives. What happened? Investors dumped money on it. When we dump money — no, when we invest in the people that keep this country running, from the cleaning people, to the cops and firefighters, to the doctors and lawyers, what do you think happens?

Why do you think the people in power rely so much on the “money is not the solution” line of thinking? Say something enough and it becomes truth. I have learned the media game and how left and right leaning people are being divided through the behavior of our leaders. I suspect it’s related to the Milgram experiment, where we learned that people are willing to put other people in danger if an authority figure tells them to. Authority figures have more or less directed us to fight amongst ourselves over things that really aren’t important while corporations continue to consolidate and more wealth flows into fewer hands. After the Citizens United ruling, unlimited money came into politics, and politics became a game of who had the most funding for their campaign. Who had the most money to give politicians? So now those fewer hands get to write our laws.

If you’ve ever had a pair of thieves steal from you, it’s a very similar scheme. One comes up to you and chats you up while the other one grabs your money or valuables out of your backpack. This is the rich man’s version of that. “Hey everyone, fight about nothing while the richest organizations in the country rob you blind.” It doesn’t have to be this way. We can unify. We can make a change. I feel so strongly about this I had a song commissioned a song called Patriots Against Corporatism.

EchoTheSavage reviewed that too.

EchoTheSavage reviews the Patriots Against Corporatism song.

I liken it to court reporting. People have told me nobody’ll read my work and that I won’t make a difference. We can argue about degrees of success, but they were wrong. And if people so sure of themselves could be wrong, and most of us are within the same range of human intelligence, then perhaps the people that think they rule the world are wrong too. And maybe the people who think that their voice doesn’t matter will realize that they might be wrong too.

And for as long as you’re alive, no matter how wrong you are, you have a chance to make a change.

Massachusetts Court Reporters Association Publishes Open Letter to Stenograph (Town Hall Response)

An open letter by the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association was published to their Facebook page today, May 25, 2023. It is my understanding it will be sent directly to Mr. Anir Dutta, president of Stenograph later today.

Jill Kourafas, President of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association, publishes an open letter about the May 20233 Stenograph Town Hall Meeting.

It points out many of the things I mentioned in my blog yesterday and asks Stenograph to give more control of the event to the stenographic community.

Open Letter to Stenograph by the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association, Part 1.
Open Letter to Stenograph by the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association, Part 2.

It’s a big question how Stenograph will respond, if at all, to the letter. But if you’d like to show support to the MCRA on this brave move, share this today, and consider a donation to the association!


The open letter was edited after the original post and the links have changed. Link 1. Link 2.

Stenograph Town Hall To Be Held on May 31, 2023

In an email received at about 3:11 p.m. today, Stenograph announced the date of its town hall meeting and distributed an invite link. Participants are asked to send their questions to by May 30, 2023.

Stenograph May 2023 Town Hall invitation.

I’ll start with something positive. I think this is a step in the right direction. Customers have been asking for a little love and attention for a long time, and this is definitely trying to give them what they asked for. The petition went out last week. Mr. Dutta’s public comments were discovered this weekend, and here we are.

There are some problems with the way this is being done. First, Stenograph being in control of the questions means that some questions may be disregarded. If you send in questions, consider saving evidence that you sent them and then letting me know if any of your questions were ignored afterwards. We can at least create a record of what wasn’t asked if my paranoia over Stenograph’s control of the event turns out to be healthy skepticism. Overlapping with that concern, there are questions about whether any live questions will be taken or whether the town hall will be exclusively limited to questions sent to the email provided by May 30. I have to admit, I believe that Stenograph should take some questions beforehand because it’s a company and it’s hard to answer questions on the fly about a company with no prep as to what those questions will be. But I also believe a healthy town hall would have some live question component.

Another problem that arises is that at 6 pm EST, it’s 3 PM PST. Many stenographers will be working at the time of the event, and if it is not recorded and distributed, they will miss it. Participants could record themselves using Open Broadcast Software or their phones or whatever, but it’s an extra step many won’t take. And again, paranoia strikes. What if low attendance is used to support the shortage narrative pushed by Stenograph, Veritext, US Legal Support, and the Speech-to-Text Institute? In my heart, I hope the company wouldn’t do that, but I’ve learned to stop thinking with my heart and understand that people play games.

If there are questions you want to ask that you don’t feel comfortable sending to Stenograph yourself, please comment them here. I will send them and keep a record of what I send. I will not send anything overtly inappropriate.

I’ve said many times before that if Stenograph admits that the Speech-to-Text Institute was wrong about the stenographer shortage being impossible to solve, it will make court reporting history. That’s what I’ll be looking out for. I have other questions about the percentage of revenue that goes into their R&D budget and what percentage of that is specifically spent on stenographic technology, but other than that, I haven’t yet decided what to ask.

For what it’s worth, if anybody from Stenograph is reading, thanks for doing this, but these are honest concerns court reporters have.

Court reporters, if you fight, you will win. You wanted a town hall and you got one. Make the most of it and remember this moment the next time someone tells you something cannot be done.


I messed up the times in the original post. It’s 6 PM EST, 3 PM PST. May 31, 2023.

Could ProctorU Be Bad News For You, Stenographers?

While scouring social media, I came across an interesting post by Nancy Silberger. It mentioned the Better Business Bureau reviews for ProctorU.

“Last night, something compelled me to Google ‘ProctorU Reviews,’ which brought me to the BBB website. OMG, I went back over 2 years of reviews (2021-May 2023) and there was not ONE SINGLE positive review. Every time someone made a complaint about their testing experience ProctorU responded with a curt ‘it’s your fault’ type of response. Positively sickening that RTC still uses this platform. There has to be a bazillion other proctoring services out there. NCRA, RTC, WAKE UP AND LOSE THIS PLATFORM!!!” – Nancy Silberger

This is not entirely surprising. I think most people only complain to BBB when they feel mistreated by business. But some of the complaints were striking. I know the only time I used the BBB was when Naegeli threatened me. It wasn’t helpful, but it does create a record.

Anyway, people came forward to discuss their feelings and ideas regarding testing and ProctorU.

“Every single thing about how NCRA certifies professionals needs to be revamped. From the test itself reflecting how we actually do our job to professional evaluation of feasible test content and procedure to RTC and ProctorU. We’re screaming that we need to get people out there. We recruit, they go all the way through school, and they can’t get over the finish line leading some to leave the field after that long journey. We’re sure loud and quick enough to pull them in with A to Z, but COMPLETELY dead on the testing disaster.” -Dineen Squillante

What Dineen had to say really resonated with me. I personally believe AudioSync has massively deteriorated the interrupting skills of court reporters. But at this point, we have to contend with the reality that it is widely used on the job and using it effectively is part of the job for most court reporters and scopists. Even limited use would probably upgrade our pass rate significantly.

Just for the sake of completeness, I glanced over the BBB reviews too. Better Business Bureau isn’t infallible, but It’s pretty horrifying stuff for tests far less technical than ours.

“This is a scam…” -ProctorU review on Better Business Bureau.

As I was preparing for this post, a reader sent me an old Speech-to-Text Institute article with Marybeth Everhart, Realtime Coach. With hindsight, I can say that this supports the assertion that we need change. The ProctorU problems aside for a moment, I’ve been looked down on at times because I won’t refer to digitals as button pushers or recorders. Well, someone from the platform we use for our testing was pretty openly digital friendly.

Excerpt from Speech-to-Text Institute materials.
Excerpt from Speech-to-Text Institute materials demonstrating the 11,000 shortage number again.
Excerpt from the Speech-to-Text Institute materials.

And, unfortunately, as we later learned, the Speech-to-Text Institute is a propaganda outfit and corporate construct meant to manipulate the court reporting & stenotype services market. So, not to say that RTC is guilty of the same fraud I’ve alleged against Veritext et al, but for a field that used to care very much about bias or the appearance of bias, it does feel like all the major players, including ones we rely on for passing our students, are pretty biased in favor of expanding digital reporting, a position that is kind of strange to have if stenography is the gold standard and we haven’t tried other methods of alleviating the shortage, like asking lawyers to schedule with us in advance instead of the day before.

Even worse, digital proponents attack our testing procedures from the other direction, with Stenograph President Anir Dutta having stated in a letter, “…the national and state recognized process to certify a machine shorthand professional is unnecessarily arduous and, in our informed assessment, is designed to keep the number of stenographers entering the market artificially low.” I missed that line when I first reported about it, but I do find it kind of funny that while I have basically accused the companies under the Speech-to-Text Institute umbrella of manipulating the market to increase the number of court reporters create a market glut, depressing reporter incomes, they turned around and alleged that someone designed the state and national testing process to artificially reduce the number of stenographers. Since the National Court Reporters Association is basically the national test process, I think it’s safe to assume what organization they’re throwing shade on here, and it makes me rethink Anir’s NCRA comments a little bit more than I was thinking about them after he apologized to me.

In the hopes of a better tomorrow, I’m amplifying this discussion. Perhaps our next step is to have a serious look into which online proctoring companies have the best reviews and consider asking NCRA to make the switch.

Ai-Media Claims LEXI 3.0 Rivals Human Captioning at a Fraction of the Cost

Ai-Media acquired Alternative Communication Services in May 2020. According to the recollection of one source, there was a little buzz about it at the time and there were some who were concerned about the replacement of captioning providers and some that didn’t believe such a thing would happen. Well, they’ve been touting something called LEXI 3.0.

“…uses the power of AI to deliver results rivaling human captions, at a fraction of the cost.” – Ai-Media
“Sad to see this. Rivalling human captioners? You have (or had) an amazing team there — please don’t sell them short in the name of profit.” – Mike Rowell, RDR

This wasn’t the only post done on the matter.

“…AI to deliver results rivalling human captions, at a fraction of the cost.” – Ai-Media

So, I guess I really have to say to captioners what I have said to court reporters. If I get some funding behind me there’s a lot we can do. We could sponsor independent studies into the accuracy of AI versus human transcribers/captioners. What we have so far in that department is promising.

But even short of that level of funding, we could do more advertising to increase public awareness about misleading technology claims and perceptions, something that is hitting mainstream media right now. After all, as I reported on this blog, Microsoft said they had achieved tech as good as human transcribers back in 2016. Then it flopped in the Racial Disparities in Automatic Speech Recognition 2020 study. Verbit flip-flopped between its series A and series B funding, first talking about saving on manual labor and then saying that they would not take the human transcriber out. So now when Ai-Media claims its LEXI 3.0 is rivaling human transcribers, it makes me wonder if this might be just another claim that they’re using to sell, sell, sell.

The best part? They don’t even have to lie to mislead. Check out the post above. “The world’s most advanced and accurate automatic captioning solution!” This is what’s referred to in legal circles as puffery. Even if it’s BS, it’s probably not false advertising. “Watch our video to see how LEXI 3.0 uses the power of AI to deliver results rivalling human captions, at a fraction of the cost.” Well, anybody can declare something rivals something. I declare apples rival oranges and Stenonymous rivals Veritext. It doesn’t mean anything. At the end of the day, if the AI gets 40% and captioners get 90%, they still rival each other, it’s just that one would be a really poor rival. At a fraction of the cost? Does that mean all of the cost savings are passed directly to consumers? It sure isn’t a guarantee.

This is why I’m so forward about educating reporters on marketing tricks and propaganda techniques. We are all subjected to media that influences our thoughts, and those thoughts go on to influence our actions. If a person is constantly inundated with the message that technology is exponentially growing and that it’s coming for all the jobs, they won’t seek out information that challenges that belief, like all the links I posted above that most people probably skip over out. Thanks confirmation bias and busy schedules.

Meanwhile, there’s a totally alternate reality where we start dumping money into calling out these companies and working out exactly how true their claims are so that we can share it with the world.

Captioners, Stenonymous is on your side.

And yes, that’s an example of propaganda. But it’s also true.

Stenograph President Anir Dutta Calls Stenonymous Intellectually Challenged and Crazy…

First, thank you for the readers that alerted me to these posts. Anir Dutta, president of Stenograph, posted some shots of Advantage presumably at AAERT and poked fun at those that feel outrage over Stenograph’s digital lean. These posts were on Facebook and Instagram.

“LOL let’s see how outraged the intellectually challenged at Stenonymous and their Steno STRONG buddies are about this.” – Anir Dutta, Stenograph President
“That’s just rude.” “Sure. Thank you. This is the first time I have spoken in after two years of abuse by them.”

First, to be totally honest, some rough things have been said about Anir. Memes have been made of him. It hasn’t been pretty. I did not personally direct a lot of that stuff, but my blogging probably led to it, and I’ve seen it myself, so I can appreciate it if there’s some animosity there. Anything that he has to say about me is fair comment, even where I might disagree.

“Let’s see how outraged the crazy at Stenonymous and his NCRA buddies are about this!” – Anir Dutta, Stenograph President

His point is kinda valid. Advantage is leaning towards digital. I wrote a short post about that. I don’t agree with the shots at NCRA and my audience, so I wrote him a comment on Instagram. He seems to have me blocked on Facebook, so I couldn’t there.

“But this thing you’ve got going on with STTI, Veritext and all them, it’s not just against the available science, it also threatens the livelihoods of the new court reporters we mentor. What would you do if you spent years helping people up close and personal only to find out that their futures were threatened by a business consortium’s agenda?” – Christopher Day / Stenonymous

Shortly after my comment on May 20, 2023, the post was deleted or hidden. Mr. Dutta later denied his comments about NCRA.

“not with NCRA. It only speaks about Stenonymous the blog.” -Anir Dutta, President of Stenograph

From a self-aggrandizement perspective, I don’t think there’s ever been better evidence that I’m under the skin of the multimillion dollar corporations. You all want to take this to the next level? Throw me some funding. And thank you to those that have. Stenographers fund NCRA to the tune of $3 million a year. We shook these big money types with about $10,000, activism from all of you, and a blog. It’s not hard to see that given just a little more support, they would be cremated and stenography would carry on like they never existed in the first place.

After all this went down, a court reporter sent me the Stenograph Code of Conduct. It was before Anir’s time, but it’s a worthy piece of history. Thanks for sending it!

“Does it protect or preserve my reputation or the reputation of the company?” Stenograph Code of Conduct.

I don’t have any delusions here. I’m in a much easier position than Anir. I can say what I want, do what I want, and nobody says a damn thing. Anir makes one off comment and suddenly everyone is rallied against the multimillion dollar corporation bullying Christopher Day and the NCRA. But I’m human. Watching Anir backpedal is fun. I had more screenshots passed to me.

What can I really say? We knew Advantage had a digital lean. But more than that, the National Court Reporters Association loyalists now know exactly what Stenograph thinks of them. And NCRA is not perfect, it has loyalists that are feeling the burn.

“Personally, my mental health suffers when the membership organization I pay $800 a year to maintain my certification has a board, president, and executive CEO that does not respond to email.”

That said, NCRA has an important role to play in stenographer advancement. It is ready for education vendors that want to change the game and keep stenographers informed on everything from social media to linguistics.

As always, I admit that I could not be here without those of you that have supported this blog through monetary or information donations.

But the major point here is that power does not care much about what you think until you start speaking with others about it. So if you have ever wondered how to make a difference in the wide world of court reporting and the advancement of this profession, it might be as a simple as a like, a share, or an uncomfortable discussion.

I would like to release the letter I wrote to Anir Dutta in November 2021. Perhaps it will be important someday, errors and all.

To Anir Dutta, President

Stenograph LLC

2626 Warrenville Rd., Downers Grove, IL 60515

Mr. Dutta, I am writing today to explain myself to you in the hopes that our industry can go down a better road.

It’s no secret that Stenograph wants to build its digital reporting and ASR business. It seems obvious to me that this push to “the future” is based on what occurred at Kodak. Kodak did not change fast enough and it was swept away. But to equate the two is dangerous in our field. There was a study that came out in early 2020, Racial Disparities in Automatic Speech Recognition. This showed ASR accuracy from 25% to 80% dependent on who was speaking. Some of the largest companies in the world were studied, including Apple, IBM, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. IBM makes something like $73 billion in revenue. Stenograph, according to various estimator sites, estimates Stenograph’s revenue to be about $20 million. Succinctly, if we are to equate this moment to Kodak, the path you are on is promoting the “new” digital photo if that photo had only captured 25% to 80% of the pictures people took. The company is trying to promote a product that companies 3,650x larger have not been able to perfect. Just look at VIQ Solutions and its $10 million loss last quarter to see how well digital reporting does.

I have previously published videos showing that US Legal and Veritext, two of the largest companies in our field, both inflated shortage numbers (required enrollments) by a factor of 6. I must now also point to STTI. It is not a safe source of information. In at least one of its infographics, it did not account for any of the recruitment initiatives 2013-2018, and it grossly misrepresented the current situation. If STTI information was reliable, over 16% of all jobs would currently be going uncovered. My preliminary research shows that fewer than 5% of jobs are going uncovered. We also know digital recruitment has not been sufficient to cover the gap because USL is advertising for a digital reporter every single day.

You’ve been lied to. You are basically waiting for a drop in supply and a rise in demand that was artificially exaggerated to build a market for digital reporting. You would do much better to throw support behind stenographers. They’ll love you for it and the company will see sales rise. We are here, but we are done being treated like numbers on a balance sheet because of our collective predisposition towards silence.

I publish the Stenonymous blog. Much of the evidence and arguments I rely on are housed there. Consider it an extension of my memory. As things occur, I write, and I rely on my past self to be honest so that my future self can rely on the numbers there. I’ve taken the time out to step away from the media personality that you’ll see on Stenonymous and give you the deepest insight into our field you’ll ever get. A very large percentage of this industry reads my blog, and if Stenograph will not support stenographers, and only stenographers, then I will be the first to let them what to do about it. “

My errors in the letter aside — Maybe he never got my letter. Or maybe he threw it in the trash. Whatever the truth, we have the head of a multimillion dollar corporation that felt justified in calling me crazy and intellectually challenged. Who knows? Perhaps I am intellectually challenged. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s in my teens. And that’s something I didn’t share with many out of fear. But I have always been honest here, because it is also part of my strategy. As I told Anir in the letter, if past Chris is always honest, future Chris can always rely on past Chris’s findings. I cannot possibly remember all of the things I have written, but I can remember that I was always determined to be truthful. And here’s the honest truth:

We were told the shortage was irreversible by the Speech-to-Text Institute, which Anir Dutta, and by extension, Stenograph, were a part of and in the leadership of. This was incorrect. For example, we were supposed to have a shortage of 11,000 by 2023. Our entire field is 18,000 to 30,000 people depending on whether you use Bureau of Labor Statistics stats or NCRA stats. A shortage of 11,000 is over half of the field if you take the 18,000 number. So about half the jobs in the entire United States should be going uncovered right now. That’s not happening. I’ve asked agency owners and they’ve said “nothing goes uncovered” or “less than 5% goes uncovered.” Less than five percent is about the same as it was “pre-shortage” times.

I go back to the question I asked Anir. What would you do? You spend years helping these kids so that they have an easier time than you did — only to find that the people in control of millions of dollars that should be fighting for these kids are actively working against them. That’s who I am. You go back on my YouTube and you’ll find me dictating to students for free. What would get an introvert like me to stop doing that and start doing all the things I did after?

Cold. Hard. Truth. As things stand, I believe in this field and believe it is worth improving. If there was a magic technology that could do what we do in the same egalitarian way that we do it, I would, somewhat begrudgingly, give up my job. But that’s not where the science goes. Testifying While Black study told us we’re twice as good as newbies and 1.5x as good as lawyers at taking down the AAVE dialect. Juxtaposed with TFB, Racial Disparities in Automatic Speech Recognition study told us we’re up to 3x better than AI/ASR depending on who’s speaking.

Hopefully soon Anir Dutta realizes the crazy at Stenonymous is onto something.


Stenonymous Satire Weekends is canceled this weekend because this is way better.


In the evening on May 21, 2023…

“We agreed to have our disagreements but we appreciated each other’s perspective.”

On May 22, 2023, a video was posted to the CaseCAT Users Group showing Anir Dutta apologizing, explaining that he let his emotions get the better of him because of personal attacks he’s had over the last two years, and ending in stating that we’d be hearing from him a town hall, as petitioners recently asked him to. If all this is true, I think that’s really big of him. Handled it way better than I would’ve. It’s the best news we’ve had in a long time.

Stenograph Customers Start Petition for Town Hall

A petition has been made asking Stenograph to acquiesce to a town hall meeting.

After Stenograph’s actions in Texas and Illinois, as well as the reports of declining service from the past and its questionable partnerships with TransAtlantic and TranscribeMe, Stenograph would ultimately be doing itself a favor to start reuniting with its stenographer base. In my view, all it would take for any of these companies under the Speech-to-Text Institute to sway stenographers back to their side is admitting that the Speech-to-Text Institute got it wrong with regard to the impossibility of solving the stenographer shortage.

Stenographers, now’s the time to make your voice heard. The petition only aims for a thousand signatures, but according to Stenograph’s own numbers, as I recall from the Illinois article, the number of Stenograph customers is much higher, in the 20,000 ballpark. The more we can do to spread the word, the more pressure Stenograph will feel to accept.

There’s a big question about who would moderate, but my money’s on Joshua Edwards. He’s always been fair and professional. He’d ensure no nastiness. Even I’d behave.

I assume they won’t accept. Then again, I’ve learned to never say never. I was told people would never read the blog. Now at least a thousand visit every month. Stenographers have a real chance at being a part of positive change by trying, so go sign today!

Court Reporting is Now a Side Hustle

How court reporting companies are getting away with charging top-shelf prices for undervalued work…

The overpriced court reporter page is something that comes up occasionally in legal circles. All through my early career, law firm owners I worked with mentioned how their firms were stuck with expensive court reporter bills. As a young stenographic court reporter, I was paid very little, and later learned that court reporters in my city were about 30 years behind inflation. This set me down a path of skepticism when it came to what court reporters are told about themselves, their industry, and the public’s perception of them. How could lawyers be paying so much when I was making so little and such a large part of the transcript creation was on me?

Years later, as it turned out, some of the largest court reporting companies would get together using a nonprofit called the Speech-to-Text Institute (STTI). That nonprofit would go on to mislead consumers about the stenographer shortage to artificially increase demand for digital court reporting. Tellingly, while a U.S. Legal Support representative had no problem using the word “libel” on one of the female members of my profession, USL and the other multimillion dollar corporations never dared utter a word about my eventual fraud allegations. The companies wanted to trick consumers into believing stenographers were unavailable due to shortage and force digital court reporting on them, where matters are recorded and transcribed.

This set off alarm bells in the world of court reporting. Stenotype manufacturing giant, Stenograph, also represented in STTI’s leadership, shifted from supporting realtime stenographic reporters to shoddy service, and began to call its MAXScribe technology realtime. Realtime, as many attorneys know, is a highly trained subset of court reporting that often comes with a premium. These bait-and-switch tactics on the digital court reporter side of the industry caused a nonprofit called Protect Your Record Project to spring up and begin educating attorneys on what was happening in our field. But as of today, the nonprofit has not reached a level of funding that would allow it to advertise these issues on a national scale — this blog’s in the same boat.

So as more of the workforce is switched to digital reporters / recorders and transcribers, we’re seeing companies use influencers and other media to lure transcribers in for low pay. In short, digital court reporting is now synonymous with side hustle. These companies are going to take the field of skilled reporters that law firms and courts know and love, replace them with transcribers, and go on charging the same money. For the stenographer shortage, these folks were dead silent for the better part of a decade. Now that they need transcribers to replace us, they’re going all out to recruit.

Shopify talks about transcribing as a side hustle.
Shopify talks about transcribing as a side hustle.

TranscribeMe, by the way, just entered a partnership with Stenograph.

“What do I care?” That’s what a lot of lawyers and paralegals might be asking at this point. Well, I may not write as well as Alex Su, but I’ll do my best here. First, there are egalitarian concerns. In the Testifying While Black study, stenographers only scored 80% accuracy on the African American Vernacular English dialect. This was widely reported in the media, but what was lost by the media was the reveal of pilot study 1, which showed everyday people only transcribe with an accuracy of about 40% (e226). When we’re talking about replacing court reporters with “side hustle technology,” we’re talking about a potential 50% drop in accuracy and a reduction in court record quality for minority speakers, something courts are largely unaware of. According to the Racial Disparities in Automatic Speech Recognition study, automation isn’t coming to save us either. Voice writing is the best bet for the futurists, and it’s being completely ignored by these big companies.

There are also security concerns. When we’re talking about utilizing transcribers, we’re talking about people that have an economic incentive to sell any private data they might gain from the audio or transcript. If transcription is outsourced, a bribe as low as $600 might be enough to get people acting unethically. Digital court reporting companies have already shown they’re not protective of people’s data — in fact, companies represented in the Speech-to-Text Institute. This also leads to questions about remedies for suspected omissions or tampering. Would you rather subpoena one local stenographer or teams of transcribers, some possibly outside of the jurisdiction?

Finally, there’s an efficiency issue with digital court reporting. Turnaround times can be much slower. Self-reported, it can take up to 6 hours to transcribe 1 hour of audio. By comparison, 1 hour of proceedings can take a qualified stenographer 1 to 2 hours to transcribe. That’s 3 to 6 times faster. Everyone here knows stenographers aren’t perfect and that backlogs happen. Now imagine a world where the backlog is 3 to 6 times what it is today. In one case, a transcript took about two months to deliver. If we’re going to hire teams of transcribers to do the work of one stenographic court reporter, aren’t we going backwards?

This is eerily similar to what went on in medical transcription. Competing interests played games to nobody’s benefit.

Consumers are the ones with the power here. They can demand stenographers, utilize companies that aren’t economically incentivized to lie to them, and spread awareness to other consumers. Consumers, lawyers and court administrators, decide the future. Knowing what you do now, do you want a court reporter or a side hustler at your next deposition or criminal case?


Written by Christopher Day, a stenographic court reporter in New York City that has been serving the legal community since 2010. He is also a former board member of the New York State Court Reporters Association and a former volunteer for the National Court Reporters Association STRONG Committee. Day also authors the Stenonymous blog, the industry’s leading independent publication on court reporting media, information, data, analyses, satire, and archiving of current events. He also appeared on VICE with regard to the Testifying While Black study and fiercely advocated for more linguistics training for court reporters in and around New York State.

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A posse ad esse.


By sheer coincidence, an article on the side hustle was released the same day as my post. NCRA STRONG’s Lisa Migliore Black and Kim Falgiani really hit it out of the park with this one. Apparently FTR and Rev say they have security in place to prevent sensitive data from being shared. But FTR is known for selling “deficit products,” and Rev is known for its massive security breach. So check out the article by Chelsea Simeon linked above and enjoy!