Shorthand Transcription Service

Pitman’s New Era Shorthand - Other Stuff




 I recently helped to design a tattoo!  I translated a phrase into shorthand.  It's not often I'm called on to do it the other way round but my client told me this phrase had special meaning and that she, her mother and grandmother were going to use my shorthand symbols as the template for a tattoo.  I find it amazing that a subject which a lot of people consider out-of-date or just plain boring can have some pretty unusual uses!  Anyway, there's the photo ...



Here is an interesting enquiry that came from Germany and has introduced me to the world of Geocaching.  Its a form of hi-tech treasure hunt -

Anyway, I was asked to transcribe a clues written in Pitman's Shorthand and the coordinates would lead to the final cache - hopefully!  I have just received a photo of the cache which I have posted here together with the clue.  If you want to know what it says you will have to translate it yourself because I've been asked not to post the solution because it will ruin it for anyone else looking for this same cache.  You live and learn!


I think these postcards were written in Pitman's Centenary and I've nearly worked out what they say ...

" I am sorry I have not been able to write to you, I did make a start to last night but was fetched by Jack and Jim to go down town with them. They might as well have left me alone for it rained the whole time. They told me that Mr McCormick will be going to Worcester today and very likely I shall see him. I am alright therefore for a bit of ... Jim said that you intended going to Worcester yesterday and I suppose the weather upset arrangements. You may be in Worcester tonight, I hope so. I shall not be able to write to you I expect until Sunday, so bye, bye til then. Hoping you will please excuse ... ..."

 Still trying to fill in some of the gaps.


 " I have just seen Jack and he tells me that Jim is coming to Wick today and that he is returning here tomorrow and that being the case very likely you will be coming too. I got a few flowers to send you and had not intended posting them until morning but thinking for the reason above they might miss you, I sent them by this post hoping you will get them alright. "



Whilst I was trawling Ebay the other day, I saw these lovely postcards for sale.  They are written in Pitman's shorthand and the date stamp is 1905.  The pictures themselves are glamour type (not like Page 3 of the Sun!!!!) highlighted in gilt.  I only bought them because I wanted to know what they said and I thought they would look really rather nice on my study wall.  When I got them I was very pleased - but then really surprised to see that the stamp was at a very precise angle.  I discovered (thanks to the Antiques Roadshow) that the Victorians had a way of sending secret messages - have a look at this and then check out the stamps on the postcards.  A form of sexy texting for Victorians?



In February 2012 I was watching the BBC News (BTW if you're learning shorthand, taking down the news is a good way to improve your speeds!) and was surprised to hear this story.  It's about a 1917 diary which has been written in Pitman's shorthand.  Check it out, here's the link -


LinkedIn Recommendation

I have received the following recommendation following a job I did for a lovely lady I met through LinkedIn ...

Dear Tracey,
I've written this recommendation of your work to share with other LinkedIn users.

Details of the Recommendation: "Tracey completed a difficult piece of work, translating and transcribing. She completed the work with great results and kept me informed at each step. Ever helpful and reliable. I would recommend Tracey without hesitation."
Service Category: translation
Year first hired: 2013
Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, On Time


I enjoy researching my ancestor’s involvement in the American Civil War. I recently contacted another descendant of this regiment, the 85th Pennsylvania Regiment Volunteers, who had placed a 150-year old  letter written in Pittman shorthand on the website

 I found Tracey’s website and sent her an email, asking her if she could help us. Tracey was a godsend. Within a week, she took on the task and was able to decipher most of the letter, which helped us to establish when and where the letter was written. We cannot thank her enough to taking the time to help us in our quest of discovering more about the history of family’s involvement in the Civil War.

 Mae West used to say, “I have always depended upon the kindness of strangers.” Tracey was willing to help us even though we live a continent away. She has done a wonderful kindness us.

Dan Clendaniel

Teacher in Residence

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Triangle, Virginia, USA           Received 13 June 2013

From Norman - April 2013]

Re Tracey Jennings

Tracey has just completed a progressive, seven month task of translating shorthand diaries made before, during and after the First World War by a serving soldier.  Her task was not easy; the dairies were very small and the characters minute.  The original shorthand was written by a person with a regional accent who frequently recorded the names of foreign locations.

Tracey addressed these difficulties with admirable thoroughness.  She presented the translations promptly and in clear digital format.  I was delighted with the results and more than happy with the way she kept me informed of progress throughout.

Tracey handled the delicate diaries with care and ensured their safe return.   

I found her fees to be very reasonable. I would recommend her service without reservation.

Norman - Cumbria - April 2013

From Michelle, March 2013
Michelle reference
From: martin
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 5:03 AM
Subject: Re: Is This Pittman?
Dear Tracey,
One word--fantastic!  Thank you so much for unlocking a story of my Father's past that I had not heard before.  I will be sharing this with my family this Christmas; four brothers and four sisters.  This fills in a gap of my Father's life.  A time in his life of which he did not, understandably, talk about very much, if at all.  He has been gone now these past 12 years.  It was a treat to "hear" his voice again.
Merry Christmas and thank you very much for a job well done.

Two references from Michael in Australia!  He was obviously happy with what I did for him at the beginning of 2012!
From: Michael
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2012 11:31 PM
To: Tracey J
Subject: Re: Diary transcription
I have recently had a diary (1968) of my late wife transcribed by Tracey.  I could not have been happier with the results Tracey achieved a 99% + success rate.  I can highly recommend Traceys transcription ability to anyone who may need such a service.
From: Michael
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 10:58 PM
To: Tracey J
Tracey has been able to translate my late wifes Pitman shorthand (circa 1966) notes accurately, promptly and at a very reasonable cost.  I have no hesitation in recommending the service Tracey provides.

Reference John Arizona

My good friend Suraendra Ben has been making some shorthand videos which you can see on YouTube - check out -


Taking down the BBC News is a terrific way to improve your speeds.  The BBC  newsreaders speak at a steady (but fast!) speed.  My mum and I used to do this and it really works. 


Here's a special lesson for you all.  My laptop recently contracted a virus.  Instead of just crashing out and shutting the computer down, I tried to cancel the page.  That made matters worse.  I could not clear the page and even when I did shut down the computer, I still couldn't get rid of it.  I knew it was scuzzy - bad spelling and bad grammar!

I made a frantic call to my webmaster friend who guided me through a clean-up procedure which entailed taking  my machine back to factory default settings.  I had to buy another memory stick (lost the first one but found it the next day when it was too late!) and transferred onto it all my photos and website stuff, also anything else that could be helpful.  I spent the whole of the next day downloading software and getting things set up again - what a nightmare!

I had a lot of trouble with my email - accidentally deleted all my new emails and history.  Please don't take it personally if I haven't responded.

I have now rebuilt my laptop (it's not quite what it was but I'm sure I will get used to the current set-up.)  I have learned a very valuable lesson (and learned a lot about how computers actually work in the process!)

So it you haven't got it - get protection!!


Morgan Hendry - he sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal about the lack of people who can transcribe shorthand and it planted the seed in my head which has evolved into the monster that is my website.  I now spend all my spare time thinking about what to put on my site and how I can make old-fashioned text books seem more up-to-date.  My life is not my own any more!  I'm losing my mind.   Thanks for that, Morgan!!

My good friend Steve Brown - thank you for sorting out my website and providing me with the tools to hopefully not make a mess of all your hard work!

Russ Briault - my WW1 expert! You are just soooooo helpful! 

And, of course, my Mum!!

If you would like to know more, please contact me: