A stenotype, stenotype machine or shorthand machine is a specialized chorded keyboard or typewriter used by stenographers for shorthand use. In order to pass the US Registered Professional Reporter test, a trained court reporter or closed captioner must write speeds of approximately 180, 200, and 225 words per minute at very high accuracy in the categories of literary, jury charge, and testimony, respectively. Some users of this machine can reach 300 words per minute. The website of the California Official Court Reporters Association gives the official record for American English as 375 wpm.

The stenotype keyboard has many fewer keys than a conventional alphanumeric keyboard. Multiple keys are pressed simultaneously (known as "chording" or "stroking") to spell out whole syllables, words, and phrases with a single hand motion. This system makes realtime transcription practical for court reporting and live closed captioning. Because the keyboard does not contain all the letters of the English alphabet, letter combinations are substituted for the missing letters. There are several schools of thought on how to record various sounds, such as the StenEd, Phoenix, and Magnum Steno theories.

The first shorthand machine (the word "stenotype" was not used for another 80 years or more) punched a paper strip and was built in 1830 by Karl Drais. The first machine was made in 1863 by the Italian Antonio Zucco and was in actual use since 1880 in the Italian Senate. An American shorthand machine was patented in 1879 by Miles M. Bartholomew. A French version was created by Marc Grandjean in 1909. The direct ancestor of today's stenotype was created by Ward Stone Ireland in about 1913 or so, and the word "stenotype" was applied to his machine and its descendants sometime thereafter.

Most modern stenotype keyboards have more in common with computers than they do with typewriters or QWERTY computer keyboards. Most contain microprocessors, and many allow sensitivity adjustments for each individual key. They translate stenotype to English internally using user-specific dictionaries, and most have LCD screens. They typically store a full day's work in non-volatile memory of some type, such as a floppy disk, hard drive, or non-volatile RAM. These factors influence the price, along with economies of scale, as there are only a few thousand stenotype keyboards sold each year. As of April 2008, student models such as a Stentura 400SRT sell for about US $1,500 and top-end models sell for approximately US$ 5,000. Machines that are 30–40 years old still resell for upwards of $350. Currently there is one opensource adaptation for home use, PLOVER, which allows the user to type and translate using an inexpensive anti-aliasing keyboard such as the Microsoft Sidewinder gaming keyboard.

Read more about Stenotype:  Keyboard Layout, Example, Manufacturers