May 22 2014

Steno & Ballet: Part 1

Ballerina Misty Copeland describe her study of dance in a manner that I can relate to the process of mastering steno:

“All these years later, my technique is very secure, clean, and strong. Yet I still go to ballet classes daily. Dancers understand. It’s because, while we know we’ll never achieve perfection, we have to keep trying. Dancers have to keep studying, practicing, and striving until the day they retire.

It’s what makes ballet so beautiful, that razor’s edge of timing and technique that is the difference between leaping and landing perfectly, or collapsing to the floor…

‘You’re still taking ballet class?’ a childhood friend once asked me incredulously,

The question used to make me weary. But no more.

‘Yes,’ I answered. ‘I’ll be taking ballet classes forever.’” -Misty Copeland

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May 21 2014

Steno Foodie: Plant Sources For Iron

Iron is an essential nutrient that can help boost energy. According to, approximately 10% of women between 20 and 49 years of age are iron deficient.

The health source states that iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, both mentally and physically. The website also states that, “Great plant sources of iron include beans, lentils, spinach, and sesame seeds; eating them with vitamin C-rich foods can boost iron absorption.”

Personally, from time to time. I like to have a small meal of spinach for a late afternoon snack. I saute my spinach with coconut oil with minced garlic.

Love, Speed & Accuracy,

Elsie Villega

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May 19 2014

Rules Of Grammar: Gray vs. Grey

For the most part, gray spelled with an “a” is more commonly used in American English (think “a” for “American”). Grey, spelled with an “e” is said to be more commonly used in the English language outside of the United States. Both of the words have the same meaning although they are spelled differently.

According to the website Grammarist, “In the U.K… grey appears about twenty times for every instance of gray. In the U.S. the ratio is reversed.”

Grammarist also points out a couple of exceptions to the words being interchangeable, “Greyhound, for the breed of dog, always has an e, while grayling, which refers to several types of fish, always has an a.”

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May 19 2014

Medical Monday: Mitral Valve

Mitral Valve is defined as: “a valve in the heart that guards the opening between the left atrium and the left ventricle, prevents the blood in the ventricle from returning to the atrium, and consists of two triangular flaps attached at their bases to the fibrous ring which surrounds the opening and connected at their margins with the ventricular walls by the chordae tendineae and papillary muscles.” The mitral valve is also known as bicuspid valve and left atrioventricular valve.

Machine Briefs:
Option #1: mitral= MAOI/TRA*L
Option #2: mitral= MAOIRLT

Option #1: valve= VAFL
Option #2: valve= VAL/*F

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May 18 2014

I Love Steno: The Student Edition- The Different Types Of Q & A

Q & A testing can be a very varied experience. The test can be a variety of short answers, long answers, multi-syllabic words, short words, medical terminology, etc. To be prepared you should practice a variety of different Q & A formats. I compare it to being a runner who can marathon, sprint, and hurdle jump.

Below is a list of different types of Q & A formats. From experience, I think that you should have practice takes that include, or represent, all of the following formats that are contained in the list. This is something that I have learned through creating my own study curriculum to help me advance through my steno goals. Hopefully, this will also help other students.

Love, Speed, and Accuracy,

Elsie Villega

Types Of Q & A Formats:

1) Short questions with long answers, or long questions with short answers. With this type of Q & A, be prepared that the writing of the designations will not be as rhythmic as it is in popcorn Q & A (see below). Be sure not to drop the short part of the exchange if you happen to be trailing the speaker on the long part of the exchange.

2) Long questions with long answers. These can be comparable to a literary take sometimes.

3) Literary like Q & A. This can contain long questions and/or answers that are chock full of multi-syllabic words. You might find your mind wandering to question to yourself, “Is this a Q & A or a lit?” Lol. Fight the urge to wonder, and just write!

4) Popcorn Q & A. A succession of short questions with short answers. This format is pretty rhythmic in its back and forth exchange. However, it can also feel a lot speedier due to the fact that designations have to be rapidly made. If there’s anytime for laser-like focus, it’s during popcorn Q & A.

5) Technical/Expert Testimony. You’ll hear a bunch of multi-syllabic words that are familiar only to people who are well acquainted with a certain industry or profession.

6) Medical. Hopefully, you’ve gotten yourself a medical dictionary or medical textbook. I have a textbook that came with a CD that contains the proper pronunciation of medical terms. However, keep in mind that due to the high syllabic nature of a lot of medical terms, you may hear a term pronounced a number of different ways. Don’t let this throw you off. Write what you hear. It will be highly likely that you will be able to transcribe the term correctly if you get most of the syllables down. This is a plus for multi-syllabic words. The exception is if there are word derivatives and you don’t write the proper ending. That’s always a downer! All those strokes for nothing. Smh. Lol.

7) Date repeating Q & A. There are question and answer exchanges in which the date of the incident comes up a million times. I learned this trick from one of the awesome reporters that I interned with: Write the date out a couple of times, and then have a one-stroke designation that you use every time the date comes up after that. Brilliant! I also have added on to that great advice by creating a designation for the date when it recurs sans the year. For example, you may hear, “On the event that occurred on, February 3, 2014…” and, you may also subsequently hear, “At the time of the incident on, February 3,…” Have a designation to denote both dates, one with the year and one without.

8) Q & A where a list of items is constantly repeated.

9) Repetition of clichéd phrases. For example, you may hear, “At the time of the accident…” numerous times throughout the Q & A. As a matter of fact, a majority of the questions may be prefaced with the statement. These Q & As are great if you have a brief for the phrase cemented in your memory bank, and not so great if you don’t.

10) Choppy Q & A. Q & A where the answers make no sense, or the questioner keeps interrupting themselves to rephrase the question. Arghh!! Don’t fret, just be ready to hit your dash designation. There’s nothing more confusing than trying to transcribe this random collection of words without your dashes.

11) Q & A with frequent interruptions. Speaking of dashes, be dash-ready for this type of Q & A. If you’re not dash-ready in this type of situation, you may erroneously think you dropped chunks of dictation when you in fact got everything down perfectly. Nothing tests you faith more with your writing than when you leave out a dash and you’re trying to decide whether you dropped, or left out a dash.

12) Include- heavy Q & A. Mark this, fill in that, or take a break here, etc. Be sure to be well acquainted with your include designations for this type of Q & A.

13) Colloquy ridden Q & A. You don’t have to worry about this with 2-voice, but 3-voice and up, be sure to have you multi-speaker designations well practiced.

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May 17 2014

Random Briefs

migrant= MAOINGT
migraine= MAOIG
equivalent= QIF
equivalence= QIFS
equivalency= QIFZ
millimeter= MAOERMT
mixture= MURX or MIXT
fixture= FURX
voracious= VOERBS or VORBS
superstition= SPR-IGS
superstition= SPRIRBS

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May 9 2014

Friday Phrases: New York Phrases

I love New York phrases because the “N” and the “Y” being stacked on top of each other makes for easy phrasing.
New York City Police Department= NYPD/NYPD or NY*PD/NY*PD
New York City Transit= NYORKT
New York City Transit Authority= NYORKTS
New York County= NYOINT
New York City Housing= NYOURKS
New York City Housing Authority= NYOURKTS
New York University= NYU/NYU

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May 6 2014

Random Briefs

math= MA*T
mathematical= MA*LT
mathematics= MA*KT
media= DWRA
mediate= DWRAIT
mediates= DWRAITS
mediated= DWRAITD
mediation= DWRAIGS
metabolic= BLOKT
metabolism= BLIFM
metabolize= BLAOIZ
metabolized= BLAOIDZ

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