Plover – An Easy and Cheap Way to Learn Steno

There are over 48 million of deaf and hard of hearing people in USA, but only about 300 certified CART writers are available to provide real-time captioning services for live events. Obviously, it is not enough for those people, especially that majority of them know little or no sign language to benefit from interpreters.

CART writers are originally trained as court reporters, and this profession is one of the fastest growing. Sadly, not many people are aware of this when considering career options. Also, it costs money to spend on two-year programs and especially on steno machines with expectations to type at 225 wpm in order to graduate which causes high dropouts. Even with that speed, a CART writer needs to also maintain the minimum 98% accuracy and may still cause some delay because many speakers speak faster than 225 wpm. Mirabai Knight, a NYC-based CART writer, explains in details in her article, Is CART Easier Than Court Reporting?

However, don’t let those dropout rates and high speed and accuracy rate requirements scare you if you are interested in stenography. There are people who are good at typing and may be right for those jobs. If a financial issue is your concern, there’s a good news – Mirabai has created an open-source program called Plover. It’s free for you to learn stenography – the only expense is on a regular keyboard with an N-key rollover.

Plover is great not just for those who want to learn stenography and provide real time captioning, but for anyone who wants to type faster and avoid repetitive stress injuries. It’s faster to use a steno machine than a QWERTY keyboard. Mirabai explains more benefits in her articles.

To better understand about Plover and stenography in general, below is a video of the great presentation by Mirabai at PyCon conference:

Video: Mirabai’s Presentation at PyCon 2013.