I received some transcripts from others in recent times, and I needed to look them over for consistency, proof them with the audio, make edits, et cetera.

In over 50 percent of the transcripts, I felt as though commas were missing. I realize everybody may have style differences when it comes to commas.

I bring this thread in the General Discussion category because I have read posts on this forum in which I thought commas may be missing, and this is THE most intelligent forum I have ever encountered in this industry, bar none.

Some universities and colleges are requesting students now to only use one space after the period or question mark. In fact, the software of this forum automatically removes the second space after the period, but I am wondering about commas.

Here are some examples of what I am referring to:

EXAMPLE A. Thank you sir.
EXAMPLE C. Well we will be on our way.
EXAMPLE D. Mary look at me when you speak.
EXAMPLE E. Oh yes.
EXAMPLE F. Please answer the question John.
EXAMPLE G. Look at me Henry when you answer the question.

In the above examples, should commas be inserted or not? Please advise, and let me change the error of my old-school ways, if need be. My eyes see eight commas missing.

What say you? TIA!

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I completely agree. There should be eight commas.

Is this part of the same trend as the 'down style' for not capping as much?

Jennie, do you mean that students are being instructed not to use commas in these instances? Looks just plain wrong to me.
Hi Jennie,

I may be old school, but that looks terrible! That looks plain lazy to me.

I feel so much better now after reading these replies. Thanks, Janet, Allison, LeAnne, and K.C.

You know what, I am still learning, even in the autumn of my career. Well, I hope it's the autumn of my career. Sometimes I feel like I have an axe hanging out of the middle of my back from sitting at the computer so many hours.

Again, thanks for the reassurance, Comrades! :-)
Then someone doing then transcript does not have a grasp of grammar. People think I'm STRANGE when I go on about grammar. We start learning it by third grade. It should be fairly simple. I got Florida Teacher Certification for English 5-9 and English 6-12 without even trying (my Bachelor's is in Business Administration).

I'm looking right at what you have, and the commas are screaming at me.
EXAMPLE A. Thank you, sir.
EXAMPLE B. Hi, John.
EXAMPLE C. Well, we will be on our way.
EXAMPLE D. Mary, look at me when you speak.
EXAMPLE E. Oh, yes.
EXAMPLE F. Please, answer the question, John or Please answer the question, John. (If there is a pause after the oral speaker says, "Please," then put a comma.
EXAMPLE G. Look at me, Henry, when you answer the question.

If you get a typist, scopist, friend to do your work, and they miss the commas, do not use them again - ever. If you get someone to do the work, and they ARGUE with you about grammar, then don't use them.

One real problem I have with gramma is the , going inside the " ". I think it's wrong, but the Grammar God created it. Such as Exhibit "A," "B,".
Mary Jo, I like your style. I agree with you about the commas for sure.

There is a line in the sand when it comes to punctuation going inside the quotation marks. You're either on one side or the other.

I hasten to say that I think I am on the other side of the line on this one, mainly because that is the way I was taught. I also follow the GPO Style Manual for most of my jobs, and Example A is the style that is used.

Example A. They used to call me "Sunny."
Example B. They used to call me "Sunny".

I have met many people who say they were taught the Example B way to punctuate, and they would rather fight than switch.

I guess if I was working for a client who preferred Example B, I would do it and be consistent throughout the transcript. I've always been able to swing both ways when it comes to punctuation. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, as they say.
I proofed for a reporter who didn't want commas around I mean, you know, like, etc. Drove me nuts, but she was paying the bill!
Hi, Jennie. I agree, 8 commas missing. I do like this forum as well -- lots of different ideas and perspectives. I think other forums that might pride themselves on being the best are basically rule-followers. Nothing wrong with that ... you can't be wrong by following the rules. But I don't think those rule-followers are very open to rule-breakers. I think this thread proves there are lots of ways to skin the cat, and most don't even matter in the end. In litigation, anyway, in 32 years, I've never ever had any feedback that had to do with a comma, semicolon, dash, punctuation or sentence structure of any kind. I wonder if anyone else has.

Hi, Mary Ann. I agree with you. I do not think clients see the same things in transcripts that we do, and I am pretty sure they may not realize and/or appreciate how much research is involved in looking up name spellings, et cetera.

If I have to split up a large job of one-on-one interviews (client-provided audio and not legal), I like for each transcript to be consistent.

For example, if one person capitalizes Federal Government and another one does not capitalize federal government in the same job, I don't like that. I want them to all look alike. I provide a style sheet to each transcriptionist, praying they will follow it. I did not think I would have to have comma placement instructions in the style sheet for things like "Thank you, sir."

As such, the comma problems stick out like a sore thumb. In recent times, I am seeing more and more people not use commas for things like "Thank you, sir" or "Please pass the peas, Mary" or "Well, it is time to go." Instead, they write "Thank you sir," "Please pass the peas Mary," and "Well it is time to go."

After reading this thread, I am comforted to know that there are some things that are just plain wrong and must be done a certain way, like those commas in the previously mentioned examples.

I guess what I am trying to say is when everybody is working on the same job, it would be helpful to have everybody singing from the same song sheet. :-)
You make an excellent point, Jennie ... consistency. I never, never, never like to split jobs. Of course, I like doing all the work myself, including same-day deliveries. If I use a scopist, it's consistent. However, when splitting up a job, unless both reporters use the same scopist, there is going to be something lost by doing that. I have an assignment coming up where the job is being split, and because of other things that make it appealing to me, I'll do it ... but I foresee no consistency day to day, and it might not bother others, but it sure bothers me. That's it!

My first thought the other day was the scopist doesn't have a grasp of basic grammar. While just making a sandwich I started thinking about the few crappy typists I had (non computer). One was so bad, her transcripts were literally SPEED DRILLS on how fast she could get done and go on to the next one.

In my situation, I finally had it. I took the transcript back and made her redo it. She had to go through that thing (about 60 pages), line by line, to fix errors. It wasn't even commas. It took her more time to do that than it did the first time she did it.

The person who is doing your transcripts is doing the bare minimum necessary. Your transcripts are her SPEED DRILLS - meaning she wants to get one done, go on to the next one - then spend her free time counting how many pages she did and how much she will get paid.

Someone suggested giving her a grammar sheet on what you expects. Remind her if she doesn't follow it, she doesnt' get paid.
I hear you, Mary Jo. It is difficult to find like-minded people.

It is a shame that some people are only interested in how many pages they can bang out an hour. I would rather work with people who want to produce quality pages.

At the end of the day, the only person I can really depend on is myself. I cannot keep up with my deliverables sometimes, requiring me to seek outside help.


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