In a day and age when information is available almost instantly, we know that as court reporters, we’ve got to take time and pay attention to details. Whether it’s the spelling of a witness name or choosing the correct homophone, we’ve got our work cut out for us! Our clients rely on us to produce an accurate record, not a comedic commentary of events.
There’s a big difference between Let’s eat, Grandma and Let’s eat Grandma.
Correct punctuation saves lives (just ask Grandma) and it’s why proofreading matters. The witness may have said the words, “She was crazy in love with him it was unbelievable,” and meant, “She was crazy. In love with him? It was unbelievable!”
Or she could have meant, “She was crazy in love with him. It was unbelievable!”
The meaning of the sentence changes depending on the punctuation.
The child needed the bread is not the same as the child kneaded the bread.
We’re trained to write what we hear but if we choose the wrong word, even if it sounds correct, we can change the meaning of the sentence. Words that sound the same like heir and air or need and knead are called homophones. Getting them incorrect in the transcript can change the meaning of the entire testimony so we’ve got to get it right.
You may not notice punctuation or homophones until you’ve proofread the document. That takes time, patience, and accuracy. Spell checking is great but you’ve got to use common sense too.
Rushing won’t make it better.
Deadlines loom. Clients are calling asking for their copies of transcripts. It’s tempting to forget the last read-through and hit send but your client won’t like it if there are errors. If you’re working for an agency, they may not send work your way if they know you’re not taking time to proofread.
If you’re new to court reporting, take heart. None of us were perfect on our first cases. With experience we gained accuracy and speed and you will too. Take your time, no matter your level of experience, because proofreading matters.
Are you an Oklahoma attorney in need of a court reporter? Contact us today!