In Issue 1/2020

This is the first issue of Tiro – The Journal of Professional Reporting and Transcription. Tiro is an online open-access journal published by Intersteno, the International Federation for Information and Communication Processing. We publish concise professional articles on the various forms of speech capturing, including court and parliamentary reporting, professional and academic transcription, speech-to-text interpreting, conference and TV captioning, and minutes and note-taking. Our aim is to contribute to the development of these professions by publishing innovative, high-quality articles on the written representation of speech in different contexts. We want to create a constructive forum for professional discussion on a wide array of topics, such as the different techniques and technologies used, professional principles and practices, training methods, conference reports, book reviews – and much more.

Our journal is named after Marcus Tullius Tiro (94 BCE to 4 CE). Tiro was a slave of the famous Roman philosopher, orator and senator Cicero (106–43 BCE). He served as Cicero’s secretary, taking down his speeches in a special form of early shorthand that he created: the Tironian notes (notae Tironianae). Tiro also edited Cicero’s manuscripts. After being freed by Cicero in 53 BCE, Tiro remained his friend and went on to collect and publish Cicero’s works after his death. The Tironian notes were the first standardized and widespread Latin shorthand system. It remained in active use for more than a thousand years and had a great impact on future stenographers. It is thanks to Tiro and his notes that many of the celebrated speeches of Cicero have been preserved until this day. For these lasting accomplishments, Tiro is a celebrated figure among his successors – the modern scribes who continue to capture and preserve spoken communication in written form.

The world has gone through astonishing changes since Tiro’s days, but professional reporting and transcription are far from things of the past. They have continued to evolve with the times, embracing new technologies and professions until this day. These new frontiers in speech capturing are represented strongly in this first issue of Tiro: Tatsuya Kawahara, Shoko Ueno and Masaya Morikawa write about the use of Automatic Speech Recognition in the production of the official report of the parliamentary sessions of the Japanese Diet; Daniele Casarola and Giulia Torregrossa describe an Italian open-source software for machine stenography; and Henk-Jan Eras, Germ Sikma and Deru Schelhaas take an in-depth look at recent technological advances and provide an ambitious prediction on what the future of parliamentary reporting might be in the next decade. These articles demonstrate that, despite their long roots into the past, professional reporting and transcription will also extend their branches far into the future.

In recent times, a key concept within the speech-capturing community has been accessibility. Milestones such as the directive of the European Parliament and Council on the accessibility of public digital services (2016) have emphasized the importance of speech-to-text professions in providing equal access for everyone to the public information and services of the European Union. D’Arcy McPherson writes about providing accessibility through the use of machine stenography in the senate of Canada. Selma Hoogzand, Marleen Petrina-Bosch and Michiel Haanen present accessibility as the key motivation behind the recently established live subtitling of parliamentary sessions in the Dutch House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Rocío Bernabé and Estella Oncins show that understanding and guaranteeing equal access has been one of the foundations of the new international training programme on real-time intralingual subtitling that they describe in their article. The authors argue that professionals in the world of reporting and transcription have become essential in securing access in our digitalized world.

One important aim of Tiro is to bridge the gap between the speech capturing professions and academia. In the first issue, this challenge is seized by Lauri Haapanen who presents the main findings of his recent research on newspaper and magazine quotations. In his article, he shows that, despite their reputation as being direct and accurate, quotations undergo considerable editing in the journalistic process. Carlo Eugeni, chairman of the Intersteno Scientific Committee, also contributes to this popularization of scientific findings; in his regular scientific column, he provides us with a new typology of reporting and transcription professions which he calls “diamesic translation”. His categorization helps us to see not only the differences between the various fields but also the similarities that unite all speech-to-text activities.

Tiro’s purpose is to spread and preserve knowledge about professional reporting and transcription in all its variety. Our devoted editorial team – Rocío Bernabé, Henk-Jan Eras, John Vice, Carlo Eugeni and myself – encourage you to honour Tiro’s legacy and to share your views and experiences of this field with your peers around the world.

Eero Voutilainen is the editor-in-chief of Tiro.

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