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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Jennie, am I glad to see this thread. Just very recently I scoped a job for a very nice young man who could be my son. Admittedly I had a technical problem with accessing my audiosynch that has since been resolved. Without getting into all the details, since that tech problem of mine caused him to be late turning the transcript in, he was (understandably) very angry with me and proceeded to tell me what a horrible job I had done, MAINLY having to do with punctuation, MOSTLY commas!! Mind you I have been reporting since 1977, been a realtime certified reporter since 1986, did solo dailies for about ten years straight, never used a scopist nor a proofreader. The way you punctuate is EXACTLY the way I would have punctuated every one of those examples but that young man would not have. He basically told me that I was completely wrong and even told me that all of his teachers in school taught him not to use commas where I used them. He's been reporting for about two years. I INSISTED that he not pay me for the job because I felt so bad about the tech problem. I read another thread where a reporter similarly was badmouthing a scopist for 27 errors and wondered if she should pay the scopist. By the way, this was an overnight job. I just wanted to put my two cents in and say that reading your post helps me to not feel so bad. I have just recently started to scope after retiring, and learned a valuable lesson from that experience. Granny
I agree with all the commas except in the "oh yes" example. I think that one depends on meaning. If there was kind of a pause and the meaning was "well, yes," then there would be a comma. But if it was an exclamation, like I was so happy, oh yes! -- then I wouldn't see a need for a comma.
Keith, after reading Cynthia's post and then reading your post, I am beginning to wonder if my old-school ways need to be updated. I am an old dog but willing to learn new tricks. :-)

I recently had a new gal working with me, and her transcript was EXCELLENT, with the exception of two things. One was, as you might guess, what I thought was a lack of commas, and the other was one space after the period. Today, the schools are teaching the youngsters to only use one space after the period and question mark, and that is exactly what this transcript had in it. I did a global search-and-replace to insert two spaces to make it consistent with my other transcripts on this job.

I am now second-guessing my commas. I am compelled to put a comma after "oh" in "oh, yes," but maybe I need to rethink this.

Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts and opinions. This helps me to be the best that I can be. The more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know sometimes, and this forum has been very helpful.
This has been an interesting thread to follow. Conveying meaning of the spoken language is much more of a challenge than writing a thesis where the rules can more strictly apply.

I like to learn and keep up with new ways of doing things, but for now, I think, I will stick to using the comma in the above examples. I should say, as long as the reporter or transcript requestor has the same thoughts. It just looks better and reads better, at least for me. Two spaces after the end of sentence punctuation looks better too.
Admittedly, I had a technical problem

Mind you,I have been reporting since 1977

The way you punctuate is EXACTLY the way I would have punctuated every one of those examples, but that young man would not have. (yes he would.)

He's been reporting for about six months

I have just recently started to scope after retiring and learned a valuable lesson from that experience.
One point not brought up, is the person doing the accusing, the one being accused is always going to be defensive, and argue to be right, even if they are wrong. Even at age12 I have mostly excelled in writing and grammar, and I am sensitive when someone tries to tell me I am wrong (mostly because I probably am not wrong, and very mostly that's my turf, don't mess with it).

But if someone does your transcript and you think punctuation is wrong, try to see the other side first - get a grammar book; and if it really is wrong, and you like that scopist, then discuss it; but if the scopist has that personality where he/she is going to defend his right to be right, dump him.
Lest we do ourselves a disservice. This response is not about whether a comma is needed or not. This post is not about grammar.

I say comma away. More characters per line, more lines per page, more pages per transcript all equals more money for me!!! If you put two spaces after the period, might drop that next word down to the next line, ditto for the comma. If you drop it down to the next line, might drop the sentence down to a new a page.

But seriously, I don't understand why they're teaching one space after the period. Do they really think attorneys are sitting around counting spaces after periods. Lord, I'd be pissed to be paying an attorney to sit around and count spaces after periods. One space, two space, does it really matter? I think in this case, you should go with whatever the reporter wants. The reporter should go with what the agency wants. I personally like two spaces after my periods. See above paragraph.

Commas. Correct punctuation is always good. Unfortunately, we punctuate the spoken word, not the written language and sometimes, I think there is wiggle room. Commas do matter.

And communication between scopist and reporter matters as well. So if they want a comma after the beginning now, also, so in the sentence, then that's what the scopist should do, unless it's clearly wrong. If the scopist cannot conform to your requests after discussion, then perhaps it's time to move on.
The dilemma of one space or two after a period is actually tied to what font you are using. Most fonts nowadays are what are called proportional fonts. Most CAT programs use Courier, which is a fixed-space font. I am assuming the schools are now teaching only one space at the end of a sentence since hardly anyone uses Courier anymore.

I actually wrote this reply with two spaces in between the sentences, but after posting this, I noticed the program has actually taken out the extra space.
Kyung, I agree, communication is always the key to any kind of relationship in this world, whether personal, business or otherwise. Also, understanding that there can be different viewpoints without one being absolutely wrong is important as well. Maybe in this busy world of court reporting and the need to meet deadlines that is so very critical there is really not enough time to 'communicate' -- from a reporter's standpoint -- with (new) scopists as to what exactly they want because the reporter is obviously under tremendous time constraints. As I said in my prior thread, I am a newly retired 'reporter' with 30 years of experience in one of the heaviest courts in the country who is now getting into scoping for other reporters. Granted, no one on this site knows me personally nor have they seen the quality of my transcripts over the years, but they must have at least been 'okay' for me to have sustained my assignments for so many years.

Jennie, like you I am an 'old school' reporter and I agree that I may need to adjust my old school thinking to conform with the 'new' way court reporting students are being taught to punctuate to be as successful as a scopist as I was as a reporter, because, after all, as a scopist, I realize it is important for me to produce the best transcript for the reporter, the way the reporter wants it done.

I responded to the original thread because I had just very recently had a similar experience where I was left with the feeling that my whole career as a CSR, RPR, Certified Realtime Reporter (since 1985) was bogus and all for naught.

Let me just end this thread by saying that communication, understanding and patience between reporters and scopists and notereaders would do us all some good, especially in these current times of rush, rush, rush, and that ALL of us, 'old school' and 'new school' should be willing to learn something from each other without being critical of one another. Cynthia
Cynthia, that is very good advice and food for thought. Communication is important. What I try to remember is that NOBODY is going to punctuation exactly like I do. I do hand out a style sheet to those sharing a job with me and pray that everyone follows it, so we're all singing from the same song sheet, so to speak.

We could do an experiment on this forum by giving out a 5-minute audio link to 10 different people. I'll bet there will be no two transcripts that are the same. In fact, this might be a fun exercise to do someday.

In the words of a famous billiards player, "If you knew what you didn't know, you wouldn't not know it." LOL

I like the way you think! Legitimately getting as many pages as possible is good for reporters and scopists alike.
I really hadn't heard of any schools teaching one space after period. My school certainly doesn't teach that, and I don't know anyone who does it. I have Case CATalyst. The default on there is two spaces, and I certainly stick to that. As for the commas, you might be interested to know that I have scoped for a couple of experienced reporters, and I put more commas in than they want. They think I am a comma-crazy kamikaze!


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