via NY Magazine
A decent typist can do 80 words per minute. Mark Kislingbury can hit more than four times that speed. He’s the fastest in the world, and getting faster. The 53-year-old Texan holds the world record for the “fastest real-time court reporter,” a standard he set in 2004 when he transcribed a staggering 360 words in one minute, with 97 percent accuracy.
If you’ve ever watched a trial in a courtroom, you’ve probably seen a court reporter, sometimes called a stenographer, sitting near the witness stand and quietly typing away, making an official record of every word that’s uttered.
In order to keep up with the speed of human speech for hours on end, court reporters use a special keyboard — a steno machine — that allows them to type whole words and phrases in single strokes. For years now, Mark Kislingbury has been the master of the craft.
Kislingbury is the most decorated champion of the annual competitions put on by the National Court Reporters Association, the winner of seven speed contests and four “real-time” contests — a slightly slower event focused more on accuracy. Between 2001 and 2010, he won the championship seven times, becoming known as the Michael Jordan of court reporting.
Now, 12 years after he set his world record, he’s gunning for another history-making run. He’s training to go even faster, and hoping to hit 370 words per minute in the near future.