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The Senate at Work

History of Reporting Tecniques

The first parliamentary reporting activity in Italy dates back to 8th May 1848: as early as the first sitting of what is known as the Subalpine Parliament (the first form of Italian Parliament), the importance of expeditious and accurate reporting was acknowledged: Prime Minister Cavour himself took personal care of the organisation of this service. At first, shorthand was used, mainly resorting to the then scant group of parliamentary journalists, until when, in 1880, a completely new specially designed machine allowing for the typing of all phonemes and syllables utterable in any language with maximum speed and accuracy was officially presented and introduced.

Since then, Parliament after Parliament, this tool has given constant and exact account of Italian parliamentary life at all stages until the present time.
The machine currently used is still based on mechanisms which do not differ much from those resorted to at the end of the 19th century, though state-of-the-art electronic technology has been applied so that, by means of computer-aided transcription, stenotypy notes are turned into written Italian in real time. The transcription software applied, actually, completely processes all data entered, and it also digitally records the spoken language, in synchronicity with the text transcripted by the computer, which allows for the immediate check of the words pronounced by each speaker.

The functions and potential of this software are numerous and in constant development: for instance, the possibility to send the transcription of stenotyped speeches, using a LAN or the Internet, to other PC's in real time or create subtitles for hearing-impairedpersons.
In addition, for some activities connected to summary reporting - in which case the stenotyping keyboard is not used - a specific voice-recognition software called Dragon naturally speaking, is used to transcript a person's oral words into an immediately readable text.

Moreover, each stenotypist has a digital recorder which guarantees computer digital recording as well as back-up recording, in the event of problems arising with the tools used, and a portable printer to put the text stenotyped with the keyboard on paper.

Additional informations