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  1. #1
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Anyone here know shorthand?

    I conduct (or am meant to conduct) lots of interviews in my new job. When I take notes during an interview, I find I have trouble keeping up with the flow of conversation. The interviews are generally recorded, but going back over audio files is tedious. Shorthand seems like a possible solution, so I must ask: does anyone here have experience with any shorthand system like Teeline, Pitman, or Gregg?

    The searches I've done seem to indicate that there's a bit of a Campy vs. Shimano (vs. SRAM) debate here, with defenders of each system saying theirs is the only way. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who uses or has used one or more of these systems. Any tips on how to learn (online courses seem strangely expensive!) would also be very welcome!

  2. #2
    awaiting uci approval tombailey's Avatar
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    Could you just take someone in with you? Whenever I have to conduct a large meeting/training session/interview I ask someone (could be my boss, could be someone's assistant) to come in and take notes for me. That way you can just get the key points down and have the other person get details.

    Just a thought.

  3. #3
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Not really... I'm working as a journalist in a small office, which means I'm responsible for my own stories and can't get much in the way of assistance. A lot of these interviews are conducted over the phone, and I need to be able to write down exact quotes... that's why I'm thinking that learning shorthand seems like a good idea.

    I've never officially trained as a journalist, and am picking things up on the fly. I assume shorthand is something they might teach you at journalism school, but I have to figure it out for myself!

  4. #4
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    I took a few courses in probably the 80's, had an elderly boss at the time (and I was also a secretary) - and the courses could be used for my degree I was after at the time <cough> - changed my major prolly 4 times . Took Gregg - got up to 85+ a minute on it --- and he was the only person I've run into that wanted it used. Saw a couple other secretarys who used it for their own purposes versus taking notes for someone.

    I used it for taking notes in the courses I took and found it extremely useful. And then I stopped using it so much ----- but there are certain common words that I still use shorthand for - so notes to myself, etc are usually a mixture of shorthand, etc. hehe, and not legible to anyone else but me.

  5. #5
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbcb View Post
    I conduct (or am meant to conduct) lots of interviews in my new job. When I take notes during an interview, I find I have trouble keeping up with the flow of conversation. The interviews are generally recorded, but going back over audio files is tedious. Shorthand seems like a possible solution, so I must ask: does anyone here have experience with any shorthand system like Teeline, Pitman, or Gregg?

    The searches I've done seem to indicate that there's a bit of a Campy vs. Shimano (vs. SRAM) debate here, with defenders of each system saying theirs is the only way. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who uses or has used one or more of these systems. Any tips on how to learn (online courses seem strangely expensive!) would also be very welcome!
    My mom learned Gregg's shorthand in high school and up until recently used it for an old-school boss (now retired). I can copy your post in an email and see what she says.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  6. #6
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tude View Post
    I took a few courses in probably the 80's, had an elderly boss at the time (and I was also a secretary) - and the courses could be used for my degree I was after at the time <cough> - changed my major prolly 4 times . Took Gregg - got up to 85+ a minute on it --- and he was the only person I've run into that wanted it used. Saw a couple other secretarys who used it for their own purposes versus taking notes for someone.

    I used it for taking notes in the courses I took and found it extremely useful. And then I stopped using it so much ----- but there are certain common words that I still use shorthand for - so notes to myself, etc are usually a mixture of shorthand, etc. hehe, and not legible to anyone else but me.


    Cool... Ok, so you took Gregg because your boss required it specifically? How long did it take to get up to 85+ a minute?

    I've been reading a bit about the different systems, and it seems that Pitman might be the fastest, but takes a long time to learn. I don't really understand the point of being able to write 300 wpm, which some people can apparently do with Pitman... apparently auctioneers only speak at 250 wpm! I think being able to do around 85-90 would be enough.

  7. #7
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    My mom learned Gregg's shorthand in high school and up until recently used it for an old-school boss (now retired). I can copy your post in an email and see what she says.
    That would be great, Donna! Thanks

  8. #8
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    As I understand it, shorthand is a bit of a dying (if not nearly dead) art form, though I don't know what it's been replaced by. Tape recorders and typing, I guess.

    Which isn't to say it isn't something to look into or learn. It's even cooler now that it's so obscure.

  9. #9
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    I learned Gregg shorthand when in high school. I got up to 150 wpm in a few months, but I was considerably faster than most of the others in the class. I never used it in a job, so I've forgotten most of it. It isn't hard to learn, but the problem is that you are focusing on recording the words, and not listening to the meaning behind the words.

    Great for secretaries, not so great for a journalist.

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  10. #10
    Spelling Snob Hobartlemagne's Avatar
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    Why not get voice recognition typing software?
    Of course you'll have to correct its mistakes, but
    it still could save time.

    The first rule of flats is You don't talk about flats!

  11. #11
    Blasted Weeds Tude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbcb View Post
    Cool... Ok, so you took Gregg because your boss required it specifically? How long did it take to get up to 85+ a minute?

    I've been reading a bit about the different systems, and it seems that Pitman might be the fastest, but takes a long time to learn. I don't really understand the point of being able to write 300 wpm, which some people can apparently do with Pitman... apparently auctioneers only speak at 250 wpm! I think being able to do around 85-90 would be enough.
    Gregg was all they taught at school.

    And I clocked 85 after 3 semesters --- but was actually doing pretty well after the first semester (simple words, etc

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    I took one year of Gregg in HS. Got up to 120wpm for one minute with no mistakes, 100wpm for three minutes with no mistakes, and 85wpm for more than three minutes.

    Maybe which you learn depends in which language you will be taking dictation. I don't know. I picked up Gregg pretty easily, but had the class on alternating days with an advanced typing class for the whole school year.

    I could probably pick it up again if I needed it, and I did use it in college some, but, like any language, it gets hard to use without frequent use.

    If you're taping the interviews, why not just pay someone to transcribe the tapes? Would probably be cheaper, less time-consuming, and less prone to error than learning and using shorthand....

  13. #13
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    goobs:

    my mother still uses shorthand to take notes at church meetings, etc. I will ask her about Gregg, as I know that is what she uses. Supposed to see her this weekend.

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  14. #14
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
    Why not get voice recognition typing software?
    Of course you'll have to correct its mistakes, but
    it still could save time.
    The problem is the accuracy would be atrocious since every applicant has a different voice.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  15. #15
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Lots of good responses here... thanks! Seems that everyone uses Gregg. I've heard it is the most common system in the US (apparently Teeline is the standard for journalism students in the UK). Voice-recognition software isn't an option, partly because I'll be interviewing subjects with a range of accents. Getting someone to transcribe interviews for me might be an option... we'll see. But I'm also interested in learning shorthand for fun!

    East Hill: that's interesting what you say about focusing on the words rather than their meaning. Not something I'd considered.

  16. #16
    phony collective progress x136's Avatar
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    Even if you get shorthand down, it seems that it'd be a good idea to record the interviews anyway, even if just for redundancy's sake. You don't want to miss or mess up that special quote, and I'd think the stress level would be much lower if you know you can revisit the interview at a later date. Recorders these days, if I'm not mistaken, record directly to MP3 (or at least WAV), so you can just copy them to your computer for safekeeping/backup.

  17. #17
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too... I wouldn't use either exclusively. As I see it, doing both recording and writing shorthand notes would be better than either one on its own.

    I have to say that despite the comments about Gregg, I'm beginning to lean toward Teeline... it's the standard in the UK, apparently, and is supposed to be the easiest to learn. Still need to figure out how to learn it well without spending lots of money on a course. Amazon may have the answer...

  18. #18
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    My mom learned Gregg's shorthand in high school and up until recently used it for an old-school boss (now retired). I can copy your post in an email and see what she says.
    Here's what she wrote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donna's mom
    I advocate Gregg, only because I found it easy to learn (the symbols are phonetically-based)--but many people I know learn other forms of "speed-writing," instead, and find them very easy to learn, as well.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    I learned Pitman Shorthand in India when I was in college during 1995. I have since moved on to a totally different profession. But I still vividly remember it and can write it whenever I want. It is permanently carved in my memory.

  20. #20
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Thanks, Donna

    CL, how long did you study Pitman?

  21. #21
    #5639 robertkat's Avatar
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    I remember they tried to teach us some short-hand stuff in junior high as a study aid. To me it just made ' .

  22. #22
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    gbcb: It took me a few months I think. When I quit, I had passed 120 WPM exam.

  23. #23
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Cool -- well, thanks for all the replies. It's reassuring to hear that at least two of the systems are reasonably easy to learn, and give you pretty good results.

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