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NCRA - NVRA 2004
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CONVENTION 2004 OF NCRA (National Court Reporters Associations) and NVRA (National Verbatim Reporters Association)
by Fausto Ramondelli
Click here for additional photos and news about
the NCRA Convention
On behalf of the Intersteno Board I have
participated from July 29th to August 7th at the annual
conventions of National Court Reporters
Association (NCRA), in Chicago, and National Verbatim Reporters association
(NVRA), in Charleston, with the aim of favouring the relationship with
professionals of USA, who represent a vanguard in reporting.
As Virgene Biggers introduced me, I have been
able to meet the new NCRA President, Duaine Smith, some other directors and
representatives of the Court Reporters Foundation, a no profit body which is
willing to find an autonomous position for carrying on plans for which does not
exclude a direct cooperation with Intersteno. NCRA leaders expressed
appreciation for Intersteno activity and guaranteed to improve links, starting
with the presence of one of the director, Mark Golden, at the Helsinki CC
meeting, together with the official delegate.
With incredulity and bitterness we have learned
that a large majority has rejected once more the amendment for admitting voice
reporters as members of the NCRA. It seems that the vote has been helped by the
delegates reaction to the further Boards proposal of allowing the vote for proxy in next
conventions. The opinions of reporters
coming from New York and from Texas, traditionally against the voice
technology, have also had a crucial weigh.
The meeting in Chicago has enabled me to
promote next Intersteno Congress in Wien, where we hope to receive further
American reporters from either side. The circumstance that differently to the
Rome congress we have not agreed on the Congresss date and that the NCRA and
NVRA conventions will take place close (one and two weeks later) to the Wien
Congress will not help. It is indeed necessary that Intersteno leaders contact
American colleagues in order to agree in anticipation upon the dates of next
international meetings, so that they are scheduled with an at least two weeks
break between each other.
Then I flew to Charleston, South Carolina,
where the voice reporters convention was going on. The welcome for the
Intersteno representative has been very warm (as the temperature!). President
Linda Drake expressed words of hope on the new relationship which will enable
NVRA to improve its international attitude. The more limited audience has
favoured the dialogue as well as affected the confronting, so that it was
possible understanding from the live scene which are the professions problems,
from the voice reporters point of view. NVRA is doing a strong action in order
to make voice reporters rights recognized by the authorities. In fact, the
technological gap is now completely consumed, since they can easily produce,
for instance, the closed captioning for hearing impaired either in the TVs or
in seminars, which represents a decisive test for witnessing the efficiency of
technology. Of great interest are the developing steps of programs from Advantage Software (Eclipse)
and Procat (leader in the reporting field), which help the recognition and text
production. It is also meaningful that these programs admit as input either
shorthand machine or speech recognition. Plus, the tests (Certificate Voice
Reporter and Certificate Realtime Reporter) are given at higher level of speed
compared with those of NCRA and include
a silence skill test to proof the ability of dictating in the so called
steno-mask without any noise.
Great attention is paid correct! to
education plans, upon which the future and success of voice technology rely.
There is the awareness that the shorter time needed for learning the technique
should not push to shortcuts in the training and that cultural and language
skills are crucial, particularly as far as the juridical and medical
terminology are concerned. It is also interesting that Stenograph, the famous company producing
steno machines, has presented its own proposals on reporters (not
stenographers!) education and training.
Seems that the Chicago vote has not created
particular emotion among voice reporters, apart form disappointment, of course.
Many also former stenographers and a former president of NCRA who has taken
the floor - have said that it is absurd to distinguish according to the means
which is used in the profession, whereas the demand of reporters is growing
everywhere and the supply cannot keep up with it.
Lets consider that in USA 50% of States admit
voice reporters as court reporters, but in the remaining States a juridical and
even constitutional struggle is going on. Recently two further States have
admitted voice reporters: Wisconsin (which produced a report on steno
reporters shortage) and Utah.
The vendors behaviours are a meaningful index.
Stenograph (educational plans), Esquire Deposition (Legal and para-legal
services), Advantage Software and ProCat (Computer Aided Transcription programs
producers), and Audioscribe (main voice technology promoter) exhibited their
products based on the reporting experience in both conventions, what means that
business do not deny any opportunity, despite resistances of not wise
Its been said that the admittance of voice
reporters as members of NCRA is rather a problem of that Association itself,
whose leadership would have liked to absorb the phenomenon. Voice reporters on
their side are tuning the quality of their skills, that nowadays represent a
valuable alternative solution. Besides, admittance could determine a loss of
identity and a lower push for voice technology. For such reason many have
sincerely welcomed the Chicago vote.
My speech in Charleston has been received with
great interest (see speech on other page). I met Judith Marcowitz, consultant
in the voice technology field who expressed deep and interesting arguments,
explain that instead than fearing new technologies and imagining that they can
negatively affect out profession, we must catch the positive elements of
evolution, which open new opportunities for all professionals.
I have expressed to NVRA directors the
consideration of Intersteno for their activity, which is correctly oriented
toward international fellows, as it is demonstrated by the Dave Rogala proposal
of changing the name of the association, in order to introduce the reference to
the international movement of reporting, or the interest showed for opening
contacts with the South American reporters, where either for the language
(Spanish is very well recognized by the speech recognition engines) or for the
technological transition expected in that area, we can see many traces of
business development for reporters and companies. In such a direction the renewed
relationship between Intersteno and FIAT (Federation Ibero-Americana de
Taquigrafos, which will meet in Punta de lEste, Uruguay, next November) will
have an indubitable value.
Together with President and other directors of
NVRA we have conveyed upon few initiatives that I put forward the Intersteno
Board and Central Committee, for a discussion before the Wien Congress in July
2005, an event for which NVRA has guaranteed the largest promotion and the
participation at the highest level.
Above all the idea of holding in Wien the tests
to be passed for being Certificated as a Verbatim Reporter, that in USA allows
to access the court reporter profession. NVRA will hold the same test for
international voice reporter, as far as they are using a silencer for dictating.
In such a way a Intersteno NVRA certification will be awarded.
In the same direction is the proposal of
giving in charge to NVRA the organization of Intersteno shorthand competition
with speech recognition: I have anticipated that it is my intention to propose
Intersteno to foresee separate rooms for speech and shorthand machine
competitors, so not to give any reason for raising struggles about noisy
dictation which could damage the Intersteno credibility. In such case two
different dictation will be done, with reciprocal checks, besides the
international one. Details are to be decided on suggestion of the International
Jury after the Helsinki meeting.
A NVRA representative, the brilliant Dave
Rogala, will attend the Helsinki CC meeting. He will shortly present NVRA and
will start entering in the Intersteno atmosphere.
Chad Theriot, of Audioscribe, assumed the
duty to address the Intersteno Congress with a lecture on the following topics:
the speech recognition frontier, how the program Eclipse affect the speech
recognition, the educational plans in USA and the expansion of profession in
Ultime dagli Stati Uniti - Convention NCRA
Karla Wollin Boyer è ancora una volta la campionessa nazionale americana di
ripresa del parlato consacrata nelle gare che si sono svolte a Chicago
nellambito della annuale Convention della NCRA, lAssociazione americana dei
resocontisti stenografi. Questa volta Karla ha ottenuto il primo posto del
podio non solo nella tradizionale competizione di velocità ma anche nella gara
di ripresa in real time.
Si tratta di un
risultato che conferma la bravura e la tenacia pluridecennale di questa
professionista che da molti anni onora anche le gare internazionali organizzate
Lincontro di Chicago, al quale partecipano circa 2000 soci, ha affrontato,
fra laltro, anche la spinosa questione dellammissione quali membri
dellassociazione dei resocontisti che usano il riconoscimento del parlato. Purtroppo, malgrado il parere favorevole sostenuto dal gruppo
dirigente, ha prevalso ancora una volta la linea della chiusura. Lala più conservatrice, che preferisce
lisolamento rispetto ai colleghi che utilizzano il riconoscimento del parlato, ha
respinto lemendamento con 309 voti contro 151 voti favorevoli.
Il deludente risultato sarà senzaltro commentato, la prossima settimana, a
Charleston (Nord Carolina), dove si apriranno le assise della Associazione
nazionale dei resocontisti vocali, appunto. Lì si potranno vedere da vicino
anche gli sviluppi della tecnologia dedicate al riconoscimento del parlato e la
diffusione di questo metodo a livello di formazione e di professione. È
interessante che molti degli espositori presenti a Chicago (Stenograph, Procat,
Eclipse) parteciperanno anche alla convention di Charleston, segno che gli
affari per fortuna hanno una flessibilità e un intuito maggiori.
LIntersteno ha inviato il Vice Presidente, Fausto Ramondelli, a partecipare
alle due manifestazioni per testimoniare linteresse e la considerazione a
livello internazionale verso questi eventi di rilievo nel panorama della
resocontazione che, nel bene e nel male, trova negli Stati Uniti un punto
sicuro di avanguardia e di stabilità.
Foto di Fausto
Ramondelli - 30 luglio 2004
qui per ulteriori informazioni e foto sulla convention NCRA
Gli applausi alla vincitrice in occasione della cena
di gala. Spicca l'elegante e sgargiante mise di Michael
Rodriquez, sempre presente anche ai Congressi Intersteno.