Unlearning and Relearning

One of the things that I’ve had to do is accept that I’m not in charge of the transcript anymore.  I have to follow the templates my clients choose.  Not easy.

But I’m willing to do it because that’s good customer service.  To that end, I traveled up to Massachusetts this past weekend to attend a seminar on punctuation.  Yes, you read correctly.  I said punctuation.  The program was six hours of remedial English.  But for someone who hasn’t really been in an English grammar class since, oh, I don’t know, 1983, it was needed.

Some things have changed since then.  Most alarmingly, the comma before “also” and “too” at the end of a sentence.  Trauma.  I’ll live, but it was a humbling moment when she said something along the lines of “you’re aging yourself if you use it” in your work.  Well, drat.

Then there was the Oxford comma.  Me, I’m a fan of the serial comma.  I believe that it’s important, if you are talking about three things, that you can differentiate each and every one.  You know, Tom, Dick, and Harry.  Unless, of course, you think Dick and Harry are currently in a relationship.  Then the comma can go.  (who knows, they may be.)

But there are rules that I had to reacquaint myself with.  Some rules that only apply to court reporters because we have to take the SPOKEN word and put it to paper; we’re not dealing with pristine English, oh, no.  People don’t always speak well.  We have to make what they say make sense and read well to the person who sees that end product later on down the road.

We received a 500-page resource book this weekend.  I’ve not even scratched the surface of it.  I’m sure it will be sitting on my desk as my new best friend for a long time to come.  And I bet if I have the chance to take the seminar again, I will do so.  It’ll take some time for me to unlearn some of the things I thought I knew.