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International Federation for Information and Communication Processing INTERSTENO

The present situation of Korean stenography

presentation by Mr. Seung Chul Lee (Korea Stenography Association)

Prague, 30th September 2012

Before I start, I would like to give you all some small souvenirs.

Now it is my honour to introduce the present situation of Korean stenography on behalf of Kyung Sik Lee, the chief director of the Korea Stenography Association. Maybe you already know him. He says hello to all the IPRS members. I would also like to introduce the Korean delegation. Hak Sun Kim is an editor in the Stenography Department of the National Assembly. Myung Soon Jung is Section chief in the Stenography Department. Finally, Goang Sik Seo, from the Kyongnam Province local assembly, is in charge of the proceedings of the local assembly.

I am freelancer and also an adviser to the Korean Stenography Association. I was a stenographer. Now I have retired from the National Assembly.

Now, let me introduce the present situation of Korean stenography. In Korea, stenography began to be used for keeping records of the National Assembly from the year 1948, three years after World WarⅡ. The Korea National Assembly, the Constitutional Parliament, has begun in that year, and we stenographers took notes of all proceedings from the opening day till now.

Concerning the shorthand technology, we began with pen shorthand, but from the late 1980s machine shorthand was introduced. At first, there were two kinds of style, regular PC keyboard and chord keyboard style, but now the Computer Aided Steno-machine (CAS) is the main stream of machine shorthand in Korea. CAS is a popular brand name in Korea. Almost all of the stenographers in Korea now use CAS.

From the early 1980s the demand for stenographers became slow. But around the late 1980s, the local autonomy was carried into effect and the demand for stenographers for the local assembly rose quickly. At the same time, the demand for transcription services in the courts and the demand for captioning and subtitling in broadcasting companies increased rapidly. Consequently, the gradual decrease of the demand for stenographers in the early 1980s was reversed, in late 1980s, to rapid increase, with the introduction of CAS, the new shorthand technology!

Stenographers in the National Assembly of Korea record the Plenary Sessions and the meetings of the 18 standing committees. For the Plenary Session, House Steering Committee, and the Special Committee on the Budget and Accounts they make verbatim records. They deliver the records on the next day, early morning. For the other standing committees and special committees, they also make verbatim records, but the delivery of the records takes 2 to 5 days after the closing of the meetings. In the National Assembly records are produced in a remote manner, not in real-time manner.

We have about 1700 stenographers and 3300 students who have learned or are learning machine shorthand in Korea. 1700 stenographers are working in various fields, such as in the National Assembly, the local assembly, the court, and the other public and private institutions. Especially, about 80 stenographers using CAS are working for the captioning and subtitling service in the broadcasting companies. They produce captions in real-time.

I have read a writing of the President, Fausto Ramondelli, from the E-news 52. “From the President’s Desk” was the title. He puts the emphasis on “Automatic speech recognition technology”, and “Parliament reporting” as the expecting themes of the 2013 Intersteno Congress in Ghent, Belgium. These two outstanding problems raise the same questions in Korea. The rapidly increasing workloads of stenographers and the budget saving trends lead us to consider another new technology to cope with these increasing parliamentary reporting workload with insufficient budget. So we have deep concern with the speech recognition technology and the other new technologies taking notes more effectively. Today we saw presentations of new technologies. I am very interested in these technologies.

As I mentioned before, there are 1700 stenographers working in Korea. But, it is also true that they neither have so much satisfactory income, nor have much chances to promote themselves in their institutions. These make the young stenographers’ working period short, and that is why we can see little young male stenographers in this working field today. But the demand for the stenographers is steady, and more than 3000 students are learning stenography now in Korea. So, we still have hope in this working field.

Now, I am closing my presentation and I would like to address my special thanks to our Czech friends, Board member Ms. Rian Schwarz, IPRS Steering Committee Chair Ms. Lida Horlings, Ms. Marlene Rijkse, and Ms. Patti Calabro for allowing me to make a speech in this IPRS meeting.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Ms. Patti Calabro thanks Mr. Seung Chul Lee for the gifts.

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