The Steno Life
CAT Comparison

Stenograph - Case CATalyst Interview

1 - Cost concerns are always at the top of the question list for students. Why does CAT software cost what it costs, which many students/reporters say is too much?

(Judy Wolf - Marketing Product Manager) When I tell anyone outside the court reporting industry about the cost of CAT software, their usual response is “It costs that much?  You’re kidding!”  They are astounded to learn that professional CAT software costs as much as $4,000!  It’s completely understandable that students are equally surprised to learn that the student version price is $495; even though that is only 12% of the price of the professional version.

The facts behind these prices lie in the cost of developing complex software like Case CATalyst; which is actually more complex than something like MS Word, for example. That’s the cost side of the equation.  The revenue part of the equation is that the total number of prospective buyers for CAT software like Case CATalyst is in the low thousands; rather than the millions who buy MS word. Consequently each buyer has to pay for a bigger piece of the cost of software development. 

However, the benefits of CAT software are so huge for court reporters that they can easily justify the cost. Their productivity, i.e., how many pages of transcript they can produce in a given month with CAT software is a multiple of as least ten over traditional methods of word processing or dictation.  A court reporter may have a monthly payment of say $150 for their CAT software, which means that the first fifty pages of the month covers their payment.  The other 300, 500, 1,000 pages a month pay their income! 

Case CATalyst student software is $495 and has a 100% guarantee upgrade to full software when the student is ready to go to work. Many students don’t have the cash at hand, so there are payment programs available for as little as $100 per quarter, about a dollar a day.  Call Stenograph’s Education Specialists to find out more about it at 800.323.4247. 

2 - Often there is a difference between student versions of your CAT software and reporter versions.  Can you tell us the student software limitations, if any.

Case CATalyst professional software and student software are identical in every way except these:  Transcript size limited to fifty pages; a pre-set footer prints on each page indicating that student software is being used; and while you can play AudioSync, you can’t record it.  You can make ASCII files, use powerful artificial intelligence, dictionary building and briefing features and editing shortcuts just like a pro. You can even write realtime captions to an encoder for television which is important for students who want to prepare for that job while they are still in school. 

3 - Compatibility is a big issue as well.  Are there any steno machines that your CAT software IS NOT compatible with?  How about operating systems?

CATalyst is compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista 32-bit Operating Systems. Hold off on installing CATalyst on a computer with Windows Vista 64-bit Operating System until new USB drivers are available for Stentura and elan machines, which are expected in a few days to weeks.  They’ll be posted on, downloads, when they are released.  You can even run CATalyst on an Apple® computer with an Intel processor and Boot Camp™ which is wonderful for people who love their Mac’s!

On the topic of steno machine compatibility, just about the entire electronic machine spectrum is compatible with CATalyst.  If a student wants to buy an older machine, they might want to check with us first to make sure that it can write realtime.  It’s rare that it won’t.

4 - Sticking with compatibility - is there any chance that different CAT systems will be compatible at some point - or at least allow you to convert work from one software into another?

The most valuable part of using a CAT system is the personal dictionary that you use and enhance while you work.  The CAT vendors have co-operated to provide RTF-CRE (which stands for Rich Text Format-Court Reporter Extension) to exchange dictionaries. You can also exchange transcripts using RTF-CRE, but there is usually a little more work in cleaning up formats when doing so.  Stenograph's Dictionary Specialists will assist licensed student users with converting their dictionaries from other software; and there’s no extra charge for that. This is part of the "total package" that students get with Case CATalyst that Stenograph provides.

5 - What kind of support do you offer for those with student versions of your software?  Reporter versions?  Prices?  24/7 support? 

Students are entitled to Technical Support as part of their purchase.  Stenograph encourages all our users to first use CATalyst Help, which is awesome and easy to use; and our Internet Help Desk for further information. While we won’t turn away a student who really needs help, we encourage the use of these resources. 

6 - Is there a charge for upgrades?  About how often are upgrades done?

Significant upgrades are issued annually, usually in the first quarter of the year.  Student licensees are encouraged to update their software to keep current; there is no cost to them to do so. 

7 - If a student or reporter wants to try your software for 30 days, would they have to pay for that? 

We offer Case CATalyst installations at no charge to approved institutions for on-campus use by students.  Therefore, any student should be able to try out Case CATalyst on his or her school campus through this program without making an additional investment for the try-out period. Students who wish to try out their own Case CATalyst at home are encouraged to do so through our installment purchase plan, which costs $100 per quarter, building equity towards ownership.  We support this approach because we want the student “put some skin in the game” and make a commitment to using it. We don’t have a formal trial program, though, since CATalyst is used by thousands and thousands of schools, students and reporters and is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be an excellent tool. 

8 - What kind of training do you offer for your software, and at what cost?

Case CATalyst training is available from a network of certified training agents around the world. Additionally, students can purchase a first-class reference book, “Learn to Use Case CATalyst” for only $59.95.  This book is especially helpful for online students because of how easy it is to follow and understand on your own.   

9 - What sets your CAT software apart?  Why should a student/reporter consider your software over others?

Stenograph itself sets is apart from the others with it’s the best technical support department in the industry, ready to help you when you need it most. Stenograph has a history of being there for students and schools and will be there for you as you progress through your career. 

Case CATalyst includes “sizzle features” that save time and effort; along with reliability and sustainability at a competitive price.  CATalyst’s extensive use of artificial intelligence, slick dictionary building, realtime captioning, and seamless outputting directly to other applications are just some of these. Another feature that everyone is talking about it is Brief It! which is a realtime feature that gives you briefs for words or phrases that you write out.  Both students and working reporters love Brief It! because it means they can write faster and more accuracy with fewer strokes. 

Another important differentiator is the architecture of the software itself.  Stenograph’s software designers don’t take the easy route.  They  don’t use “freeware” to cobble together features; they develop reporter-centric code that performs well and is entirely their responsibility to maintain and enhance.  You can depend on it!

Look at Case CATalyst’s approach with “Output to Steno Keys.”  Write realtime and simultaneously display the translated text directly to another program on your computer screen.  Use Steno Keys to write directly to your e-mail, chat window, and even to MS Word or other programs. You’ll not only get in more practice time, but you’ll get to add more vocabulary to your dictionary.  Unlike some other CAT products, it’s built-in and you don’t have to run macros or create special set-ups. Steno Keys just works!

To see other hot features in CATalyst, follow this link:
Case CATalyst 9 Web Tour. You will also see the vast resources available to Stenograph customers, both students and working professionals.  We’re there for you!