We live in an era of instant information, autocorrect, and shortcuts. It’s no wonder we feel like spelling and grammar are second to texts and social media updates. When it comes to the final transcript we deliver to our Raleigh court reporting clients, we understand that proofreading matters.
The sign says violators will be toad and find $50.
We’ve all seen the memes about poor grammar and punctuation.
Violators will be toad.
Let’s eat, Grandma vs. Let’s eat Grandma.
Or the one made famous by Ross on Friends after reading Rachel’s letter, “Y-O-U apostrophe R-E is YOU ARE. Y-O-U-R is your!”
While these mistakes make for a laugh, for court reporters and attorneys making these grammar and punctuation errors can make or break our business.
English is a challenging language even when it’s our native tongue. Homophones, words that sound the same but different meanings, can make a difference in the meaning of the transcript so it’s important to select the right one in the editing process.
Violators will be towed and fined $50.
Let’s eat, Grandma. (At least we hope that’s what was meant!)
You’re the best. Your concern is noted.
The Name Game
This can be among the most challenging for our reporters. Whether it’s an unusual spelling of a once-traditional name (David, Dayvid, Davyd) or an unusual name (Braxton/Braxten, Armani/Armany), it’s our job to get the spelling correct.
We recommend our reporters request a witness list prior to deposition and caution that even with a list, they may need clarification. This is especially true in estate law cases where names are similar or have been passed down generations.
- Don’t assume father and son are senior and junior, respectively. They may actually be Edward V. Doe and his father Edward R. Doe. The elder may be referred to as Ed while the younger is Eddie or they may both be Ed making it especially challenging to keep the facts straight.
- Ask for clarification of middle initials and suffixes like John F. Kennedy, Jr. and his father John F. Kennedy, Sr. or uncle William L. Smith and his nephew William P. Smith.
- Never assume an older woman is a Mrs. when she may be a Miss or Ms.
- Middle names matter. Rosemarie may spell her name RoseMarie or Marie may be her middle name as in Rose Marie. The witness may actually be referred to as their middle name but for legal reasons needs to be noted as their full name throughout the transcript.
However the name is played, it always ends with witnesses and attorneys being referred to the same way throughout the transcript. This is easy to miss if you’ve read through versions several times.
Once you’ve spent a significant amount of time reviewing a transcript, it’s quite possible you will miss changes that need to be made. While your client may catch some, we encourage you to have a proofreader review before sending a final copy to the client. Why? Because a proofreader hasn’t spent hours, days, or weeks working on one case so they can look at it with a set of fresh eyes.
In a time when shortcuts and autocorrect are gaining in popularity, we still value taking time to properly review transcripts for clients. It can make the difference in a case or in retaining that attorney as a client. It’s a win-win for everyone.