I am trying to renew my skills and return to reporting after a 20 year absent. Would like advice on what to do after I purchased a machine. Do I practice my speed first, or build my dictionary; have no money for software. The technology has changed quite a bit and a little overwhelmed.

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Practice speed first. Get writing. That will go a long way towards making you feel like you are back in the game.
Get some speed tapes (cds) and start with 160 and work up to 225. Don't worry about a dictionary right now until you feel you can write. Get an old theory book if you really have to. But start writing. I was off for a while, and it didn't take too long to get the hang of it.

If I can help in any way, let me know.

Hi Colleen,

I would work on building speed, but at the same time back up and save all of what you've done from the RAM on your writer. That could help you in building your dictionary. I know that Eclipse has a generic dictionary you could start with, and I'm sure the other CAT systems probably do, too.

I don't know if you're comfortable with eBay, but here's a link to someone selling software, very cheap. The bid is $150 right now.


It looks like it's a student version, but you could probably build your dictionary.

I'm doing the same thing. I am getting my practice material through speedbuilders.com. It's $30.00 for twelve weeks of dictation. If you can afford it, get Realtime Coach for a year. You really can't build a dictionary until you build your speed.

Financially, I am in the same boat. I would suggest a Smartwriter. (I bought a Stenoram II). You can use a Smartwriter for depos, and when you have better finances you can get a better writer and use the Smartwriter for backup.

DigitalCat Student is a good choice. You can use it for FREE FREE FREE FREE. Hear that, FREE. I think you also get to use professional for six months for free too.
Just to let you know, if you want to spend the money on one year of Realtime coach, it's about $180(?). You can use it without being on CAT. I already checked on that.
Hi Colleen,

I just sent you an email at your personal address on your page. I live very close to you and would be happy to share some dictation material, etc. I too just returned to reporting after a 12-year hiatus.



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