Thursday, July 27, 2006

I got interested [courtesy of Instapundit] in Eugene Volokh's criticism of Slate's "Bushism" transcript quote, mainly because I deal all the time with stenographic transcripts. You know, depositions and such.

So I called a friend who is a court reporter/stenographer, and asked for an opinion of the "offending" transcription. My friend's response: stenographers often use their judgment when there is a misstatement or "space marker" in a particular bit of testimony. Thus, if a word is cut off, or if the speaker says "uh," the stenographer often will cut the blip, if it does not appear to be substantively significant. I can say that such non-substantive cuts are done routinely, in almost every deposition transcript I have ever read.

My review of the president's statement suggests -- to me -- that cutting the following: "the c--" changes the substance of his statement not one whit. My friend agrees, and concludes with the comment that whoever is wasting their time criticizing the corrected transcript should "get a job, because he needs to be doing something important."

I agree, especially because I have just spent 45 minutes thinking about this, talking to my friend, and posting this comment. I guess I'm one of those people to whom my friend was referring.

UPDATE: I fixed the two grammatical errors correctly identified by the commenter. I'm embarassed by them, especially because I hate it when writers wrongly switch off "there" and "their." My only explanation is that I was posting in a hurry, and Blogger is not the easiest interface for proofing. Apologies to all, and thanks to the commenter for pointing out the goofs.


Anonymous said...

"to WHOM my friend was referring."

Anonymous said...

"...their judgment when their (sic) is a misstatement..."