Do you hesitate as you read back or transcribe because you cannot figure out where a sentence begins or ends?
If you are already punctuating as you write, congratulations! If you are not punctuating now, start doing it.
Whether you decided early on in school that using punctuation is unnecessary and writing words is what matters, or someone told you punctuating is not important, it’s time to change your belief. Not punctuating will bite you later.
As a CSR, you or your scopist may spend hours editing a transcript, trying to figure out where to add periods, for example, in run-on sentences for a witness who does not appear to know when to take a breath. The more time you spend on a transcript, the fewer jobs you can take and the less money you will make.
Think about it: Do you want to hand over responsibility for your writing to someone else? And pay her/him?
Points to Ponder:
- Punctuation creates a buffer before you drop. If you punctuate as you write, when you write above your ability, the first thing that you will drop is punctuation. This is a warning sign that you are about to drop words, followed by phrases and sentences.
- If you are planning to write realtime or be a broadcast or CART captioner, punctuation is crucial.
- It is easier to punctuate as you are listening to a speaker because you can hear the change in inflection. Eliminate frustration and uncertainty when you can’t remember exactly how something was said later by punctuating as you write.
- If you do not have good punctuation skills, ask a teacher, tutor, mentor or coach for assistance.
NOTE: In California, court reporting school directors and students report that the Court Reporters Board is clamping down on punctuation errors for the CSR dictation exam more now than ever before. Save yourself the frustration, time, energy and cost of re-taking the CSR by punctuating as you write TODAY.
Golden Rule #2: Punctuate As You Write is an excerpt from Part 2 of my e-book, 0-225: Your Guide to Writing Mastery (October 2015).
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