I have been reading the raw realtime transcripts of two court reporters who want to go to the next level of reporting, and I find it surprising (worth blogging about), both of them leave out most of the commas, periods, and semicolons in the body of a question/answer or colloquy. I am thinking they learned somewhere to leave out punctuation to save strokes, and I believe that is a bad habit and one that needs to be broken.
If a person is leaving out punctuation, obviously it is going to take twice as long to scope/edit the job. Plus when you want to write realtime, it is not going to look good for the client. It is possible to create briefs, if necessary, to put in commas or semicolons if they always come up. For instance, I suggested to one reporter to create a brief for comma, Doctor, comma. So when you have a question, “Well, Doctor, what was the diagnosis?” you can have the phrase with the punctuation in one stroke.
What is most interesting to me is one of the reporters that I am reading the transcript of has been reporting for over a decade and is a good reporter.
No matter where we are in our court reporting career, we can all be better. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking classes, webinars, and keeping up with the technology of our CAT software. Many court reporters are sad they are not getting more work or better work. I challenge those reporters to shift and use the time available to be better. I promise you, one day in the near future there will be more deposition work for court reporters than you can handle. Be ready for it. Be great.
Please leave any comments – we can all help each other be better than ever!