There are records for everything. Tallest man. Shortest woman. Longest fingernails. Longest human tunnel through which a bulldog named Otto can ride a skateboard. Now, as illustrated at the recent convention for the National Court Reporters Association, there is a record for fastest court reporter. Guinness World Records awarded that distinction to Mark Kislingbury, who types at an astonishing 360 words per minute.
To be clear, that is typing steno shorthand, which looks like this. Normal typing, like on a computer, averages around 40 words per minute. (Want to see how you measure up? Take a free online typing test and see how you measure up!)
According to WGNO, Kislingbury has 35 years of experience using a stenomachine, also known as a stenograph machine. For those unfamiliar with these devices, imagine a keyboard with a smaller number of keys that can’t possibly add up to the 26 letters of the alphabet. That’s because the machine employs shorthand. Stenographers often invent their own shortcuts, which is how Kislingbury types so inhumanly fast (with 99% accuracy).
If you watch the video, it doesn’t look like he is doing anything particularly speedy. He hits the keys with purpose, but the process isn’t rushed. He can even hold a conversation while he does it. Now he holds a Guinness World Record alongside people like Malala Yousafzai (youngest Nobel Prize winner) and Robert Wadlow (tallest man ever).
Kislingbury noted that court reporting is a great career path now, considering the nationwide shortage. Programs generally last two years. Salaries can reach $70,000 during the first year, and demand is high.