What is the Difference between Taking Minutes and Stenography?
Have you ever wondered whether you require minute taking or stenography for your business or service? Do you have regular meetings which need to be recorded and are not sure which service best meets your needs?
The two services meet very different purposes and are practiced by highly trained professionals. In this blog, we explain and compare the differences between the two services, highlight the times in which you may need each service, and through this process, assist you to make the right decision on the type of service you require for recording meetings.
What is Stenography?
Stenography Services are the practice of accurately recording the spoken word to produce a written transcript of an event. Stenography is used in courts, tribunals, hearings, meetings, and top-tier law firms to produce verbatim (word-for-word) transcripts of events.
Stenographers attend events in-person to produce a written transcript of all that is said. This is particularly important for highly confidential and delicate events where audio recording may not be permitted, for legal purposes.
Stenographers use various shorthand tools and skills to record the spoken word. Today many stenographers use a customised stenotype machine, which is pre-programmed with specific word conventions or abbreviations particular to that individual stenographer’s requirements.
Stenographers type in syllables, rather than letters, enabling them to type extremely quickly. A typical stenographer can type 200 -300 words per minute, compared to a typical touch typist, who can type 80 words per minute. This is important when taking into consideration the speed at which many people speak – an average person speaks 150 – 250 words per minute.
Prior to the event, the stenographer requires a full list of attendees, and preferably access to relevant documentation, such as a list of questions that will be asked, an agenda, or a list of specific terms (such as technical terms or acronyms commonly used) relevant to that industry.
What is Minute Taking?
Professional Minute Taking Services involves the production of a brief and accurate summary of a meeting. Minutes are used by government departments, private companies, clubs, and community associations, to record key decisions and actions that participants have agreed to.
- Who attended,
- What was discussed (agenda items),
- What was agreed (decisions), and
- What actions need to be taken, by whom, and by when.
Meeting minutes do not include a record of every discussion. They are not a verbatim transcript of every conversation; instead, they provide an accurate record of the decisions and actions participants agreed to.
Meeting minutes are circulated to meeting participants soon after the meeting and serve as a reminder of the decisions and commitments made by participants during the meeting. Many groups choose to outsource this service to free up participants so they can actively participate in and concentrate on contributing to the meeting, rather than stepping back to take accurate notes of meeting decisions and actions.
Minute takers do not always need to be present to take minutes; for example, some of our minute takers Skype in, to sit in on meetings. In some circumstances, it is appropriate to make an audio or video recording of the meeting and provide the audio or video file to a minute taker for transcribing, offsite. To assist with accuracy, minute takers require a list of attendees, an agenda, and any other documentation which is relevant to the meeting.
As a guideline, for each hour of meeting, a verbatim transcript would comprise approximately 20 pages; whereas minutes would comprise 2-3 pages.
Which Service Best Suits My Needs?
If you need a verbatim transcript of an event, ask for our stenography services. If you need an accurate record of the decisions and actions of a meeting, without details of each conversation, you require professional minute taking services.
For more information on Pacific Transcription’s services, please get in touch with a quality provider of transcription services Australia wide! Call us on 1300 662 173 or contact our team online today!
Posted by Catherine Byrne.