Rare Situations Supplement & Word List
Updated September 2017
1 Rare Situations
1.1 Two (or more) speakers have the same name
1.2 Someone is spelling out a word
1.3 Long quotes
1.4 One-sided phone conversation
1.5 Memo dictation
1.6 Speaker labels for spliced-together footage
1.7 Speaker labels for children
1.8 Math, coding & other technical content
If two or more speakers have the same name but different spellings, such as Chris and Kris, no adjustments are needed. Follow the normal speaker labeling guidelines.
If two or more speakers have the same first name, spelled the same way (or if you don't know how they spell it), then use those speakers' full names, if known, in their speaker labels throughout the transcript.
If you don't know their last names but have initials (and the initials are different), use first name plus initial in their speaker labels throughout the transcript.
If you can't use last names or initials, use roles instead of names for their speaker labels. Follow the normal guidelines if you need to add gender or numbers to distinguish between people with the same role.
If you don't know last names, initials, or roles, use numbered Woman or Man labels.
The above guidelines apply whether or not the speakers with the same name are the same gender as each other.
Follow the usual guidelines when choosing labels for other speakers in the audio.
Be sure to leave a comment to explain the situation any time your work departs from the standard style guidelines.
Spelling out names or other words in conversation
Spell the word out in your transcript, too. Use all caps, and separate the letters with hyphens, but no spaces. If more than one word is spelled out, separate them with a comma.
My name is Jack Sprat, J-A-C-K, S-P-R-A-T. I eat no fat.
If the same word is spelled out multiple times in the same sentence or paragraph, treat it as a false start; spell it out once and omit the repetition.
If the same word is spelled out in different parts of the document, treat each case separately and spell it out again.
Spelling out email addresses or websites
Type the website or email in its correctly spelled form, without spelling it out letter by letter. The address or URL will be converted to a live link in the delivered document.
If a direct quote goes on for more than one paragraph, insert paragraph breaks as needed. Open quotes at the beginning of each new paragraph, but only close them at the end of the whole quote.
"This is a long quote, a very long quote. It's so long it goes on for more than a paragraph. Surprisingly, we don't close the quotes at the end of this paragraph, but we do -- and this is the tricky part -- put new opening quotes on the next paragrah. Weird, right?
"Most people find this surprising, but it's actually standard English punctuation. My personal theory is that we don't close them mid-quote because that would indicate that we're done quoting, when we're not. I think we reopen them on the next graph to remind the reader that she or he is in fact sill reading a quote."
Very Important Note!
The guidelines below ONLY apply when the phone conversation is an "aside" to the real content. If you have a job that contains a one-sided conversation in any other context, that is a red flag for a technical problem that must be addressed by support. See the Main Style Guide section 7.2.4 "One-sided conversation" for details.
If someone interrupts a conversation to take a phone call or speak to someone in another room, and you can only hear one side of the conversation, tag the pauses where they are listening and insert a paragraph break when they change from addressing the person on the phone to the person in the room (or vice versa).
Interviewer: My last question...
Chris: Sorry, I have to take this.
Chris: Hey, good to hear from you. Listen, I'm in the middle of something. Can I call you back in 10?
Chris: Good deal, thanks.
Sorry about that. Your last question?
Unless otherwise requested in customer notes, label the speaker according to the usual style guidelines.
If they dictate headers, treat each one like a paragraph; caps on the first word, terminal punctuation, with a blank line between each.
It is tempting, but do not use a colon followed by a space in dictated headers. Use commas instead. It is OK to capitalize the word after the comma in this case.
Memo to, Same crew.
Re, Construction in Abu Dhabi.
If the customer notes say not to spell out words, then take note of any spellings provided (and verify if possible) and just spell the words correctly without giving the letter-by-letter.
If the customer notes do not mention spelled-out words, then transcribe according to the instructions in section 1.2, above.
If the speaker requests a new paragraph, insert a paragraph break at that point. You should still break paragraphs elsewhere as needed, if the speech is running long.
If other instructions are included, follow them if possible. Do not transcribe these "stage directions" (including "begin memo" or "end of memo").
Sometimes an editor will cut together brief statements from many people into a single rapid-fire series of responses.
For example, we may hear five one-liner testimonials in a row, or the responses from a series of interviewees who were all asked the same question.
When a series of pre-recorded responses are cut together into a single piece of footage, it's not really a group discussion, but it's also not possible to identify each speaker individually.
In that specific situation, the various speakers usually all share the same role, and that role, plus gender, can be used as a generic label for the rapid-fire speakers. Other speakers in the piece should be labeled according to the usual guidelines.
Robin: Let's see what folks at the rally had to say about the candidate.
Male Supporter: She's got my vote.
Female Supporter: She really understands my concerns.
Female Supporter: She's great.
Male Supporter: She's looking out for the little guy.
Speaker labels for children follow the same general rules as adults:
Use the child's name, if known.
If you don't know the child's name, use their role.
If you don't know the child's name or role, use Child as a generic label (like you would use Woman or Man labels for an adult). If you can tell the child's gender, then please include it (Female Child, Male Child). However, it can be hard to tell a child's gender based on their voice, so if you're not sure it's OK to just use Child.
"Student" is considered a role, and will be your most likely label in a classroom setting. If there are just a couple of students and you can track them individually, then follow the normal guidelines regarding gender (if possible) and numbers to distinguish between them. If it's a whole class and you can't track each voice separately, then use Student without gender or numbers, the same way we use Audience Member in an audience setting.
Technical language should follow the standards or common practice of the relevant field or industry.
For example, a medical professional discussing dosages may say what sounds like "migs per kig," meaning milligrams of medication per kilogram of body weight. This is written mg/kg.
If transcribing a discussion or lesson involving computer code, it's worth searching on the terms mentioned, or if possible finding a general reference sheet of common terms. Coding often involves unusual capitalization and spacing, and these need to be researched and transcribed accordingly.
If a speaker gives a mathematical formula or equation, use numerals and symbols only; don't spell anything out. Symbols include:
|*||Times (never "x")|
|/||Divided by (also use for fractions)|
|√||Square root of|
|^||To the power of (see exponent examples below)|
Five to the power of seven = 5^7
Three squared = 3^2
Four cubed = 4^3
Eleven to the seventh = 11^7
Type all variables in lowercase unless the speaker specifies caps.
Some formulas use both uppercase and lowercase letters as variables. For example, the area of a trapezoid is sometimes written as A = (B + b)h/2.
Keep any individual variable consistent throughout the transcript; don't change from upper to lowercase in different places. If you need to change a variable's case, remember to go back and change it anywhere else it may be mentioned.
These are some commonly misspelled words, or words that may have more than one spelling in general use.
Capitalize any of these (except the Apple products) when starting a sentence. Aside from etc., if a full word is spoken don't type its abbreviated form.
Please note that any word may be spelled or styled differently if used as part of the name of a company, organization, event, etc. so do a search to verify spelling in those types of cases.
|à la carte|
|a lot||Allot is a different word with a different meaning. Alot is not a word.|
|acknowledgment||Use US, not UK spelling|
|all right||Not alright or other variations|
|because||Never 'cause, except on verbatim, and never 'cos or cuz no matter what|
|cache||Temporary storage space on a computer, or in general speech a collection of hidden items|
|capex||Capital expenditure, may be styled capex, CapEx, or CAPEX. If possible verify the style used by the organization in question; otherwise use lowercase.|
|color||Use US, not UK spelling|
|coq au vin|
|correspondents||People who send letters|
|crème de la crème|
|dialog||Use US, not UK spelling|
|ensure||To make sure of -- see also insure|
|etc.||Not et cetera or other variations|
|fintech||A portmanteau of finance and technology|
|gray||Use US, not UK spelling|
|in lieu of|
|insure||To cover with an insurance policy -- see also ensure|
|insurtech||A portmanteau of insurance and technology. Sometimes also spelled insuretech, so if you know the company or organization in question, check to see how they spell it.|
|IoT||Internet of Things|
|iPod, iPad, iTunes||All Apple products have a lowercase "i" and caps on the next letter|
|its||Possessive (the cat washed its face)|
|it's||It is (it's time for dinner)|
|Judgment||Use US, not UK spelling|
|loose||Opposite of tight (also, looser)|
|lose||Opposite of win (also, loser)|
|MiFID||Markets in Financial Instruments Directive. Also discussed: MiFID II, MiFIR|
|mm-hmm||Means yes (omit in non-verbatim unless needed for context)|
|mm-mm||Means no (omit in non-verbatim unless needed for context)|
|MOOC||Massive Open Online Course|
|OK||Not Ok, ok, or okay|
|Qur'an||Not Quran, Koran, or other variations|
|Segway||A two-wheeled vehicle|
|Shih Tzu||A dog breed|
|their||Belonging to them|
|theirs||This is already possessive; there's no such word as their's|
|there||A place (also used in there is, there are)|
|traveling||Use US, not UK spelling|
|tsetse||An insect, and the disease it transmits|
|turducken||A poultry dish|
|Ubuntu||Always capitalized when referring to the Linux OS distribution|
|uh-huh||Means yes (omit in non-verbatim unless needed for context)|
|uh-uh||Means no (omit in non-verbatim unless needed for context)|
|versus||Spell out in general speech. Abbreviate to vs. or v. as appropriate for the names of court cases or in the title of a movie or other media|
|Web||Always capitalized when referring to the World Wide Web|
|Wi-Fi||Use caps and hyphen; this is a trademarked term|