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Verbatim Careers Institute

Voice recognition is set to be the become the standard for court reporting, and Verbatim Careers Institute is ready to train the next batch of professionals in the field. Founder Ardith Spies chats about getting in on the ground level.

Speech recognition software has come a long way since the early days of mangled translations and spotty performance. Now, voice recognition is set to be the become the standard for those who do captioning and court reporting, and Verbatim Careers Institute is ready to train the next batch of professionals in the field. Founder Ardith Spies chats about bicycles, software, and getting in on the ground level.

How did Verbatim Careers Institute get started?

For some, typing is to voice recognition what VHS is to DVD, or what a bicycle is to the car. They’re all necessary in today’s world, but one is certainly more efficient than the other. This fact, coupled with my entrepreneurial spirit and life experience, is how the Institute began.

What does the Institute offer for students?

We certify individuals on Speech Integrated Software (ISIS 2003), a state of the art voice-to-text professional tool that recognizes up to 800,000 words. Unlike first generation voice-to-text programs, ISIS 2003 is laptop-compatible with high-speed accuracy, and an ability to analyze text. It is groundbreaking not only from a technological standpoint, but also in cost availability, and offers a unique certification process.

Why do you feel there’s a need for what you’re providing?

There’s certainly a high job-demand. The FCC has mandated a captioning phase-in program that must be completed in the United States by 2006, and Canada next year. Because of the lack of trained stenographers in the world, and the amount of training time required to produce more, Verbatim Careers Institute is a necessary option to meeting FCC mandates through training.

It is estimated that there are approximately 250 machine shorthand captionists today and there is an ever-increasing need for additional captionists. Training new captionists can take three to four years when training with machine shorthand.

Why do you think there’s a shortage of qualified stenographers right now?

I believe one reason for the shortage may be attributed to the time involved in training traditional stenographers. It is difficult for many to be a student for four years when financial responsibilities linger. Likewise, there is an immediate need for voice writing. Additionally, over the last several years the demand for captioners has increased so drastically there is a glitch in the supply/demand factor opening a wide market. This new job source is mainly contributed to FCC mandates, Internet news stream, and other relatively new industry sources we experience everyday in this virtually paperless world.

What kind of challenges do you find in doing voice-to-text software training?

There are few challenges I face in training because the software is so incredible and not a great deal of skill-level is required. An individual must, however, have a clear speaking voice and a solid understanding of the language. A laptop/computer system is also vital.

In this current economic climate, how is the company faring?

In the United States and across the world, services providing real-time news translations are even more important during these economic and politically difficult times. And, to many deaf and hearing-impaired citizens, captioning is their only link to the outside world. This fact along with the general need to efficiently and accurately record daily history helps insure the success of the Institute.

What do you like best about what you do?

It is so exciting to be on the ground level of something so huge. And, feeling I am a part of helping someone accomplish the skills that will reward him or her not only monetarily, but also with a great sense of helping others. It is a wonderful way to make a living.

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