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Being a Perfectionist ....having to put up with myself
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Being a Perfectionist
.... having to put up with myself
by Danielle (Dani) Gordon, CET

It's not easy having a type A personality, "anal" I call it. My OCD kicks in at the most inopportune moments. Relaxing on the couch in the evenings watching television is bound to get me in trouble with the family. We like a lot of the reality shows like Swamp People and Duck Dynasty, Survivor, or maybe it's just me that likes them. Anyway, invariably there are going to be times during the show when they put captions at the bottom of the screen to make sure the viewer knows what's being said, whether because of an accent, or mumbling, or whatever.

It's at this time that my perfectionist attitude is at its worst. Why do they not proof or have proofed what the transcriptionists are typing for those captions? There hasn't been a single show where I haven't found errors in what was said versus what was typed for the caption. And while I'm yelling at the TV, my family is yelling at me to shut up. For a long time, I worked for the main provider of TV show caption, and I am embarrassed that they let even the little errors get published. It is disheartening that the work ethic of this industry has gone so far afield.

I sit at my computer day in and day out proofing transcripts for the Maryland courts, depositions, Workers' Compensation hearings, Department of Motor Vehicles hearings, etc. The transcriptionists I work with have called me nitpicky, rude, wrong, and, well, we won't go into the names I've been called. But I can't help it. What is so wrong with wanting things to be correct when they leave my desk? We are the ones whom the clients are relying on to produce an accurate record of what was said and done during a proceeding, so why don't more of us take pride in our work and get it right the first time?

When I run across a newspaper article that is chock full of errors, I write the editor. When I see a business sign that has a misspelling in it, I go find the manager. Does this make me a bad person? Does it show that I care about how others are perceived, or does it mean I'm just rude? I don't do it to be a know-it-all. I don't do it to be rude. I don't do it to be insulting. I do it because I'm just wired that way. I've been doing it my whole life.

When I proof someone for the first time and the audio is crystal clear yet they have dropped words, added words, mistyped words, I try to be constructive in the initial feedback. I bring to light the errors I found, show them my corrections, and then my first suggestion is that they try a different headset if they aren't hearing what I'm hearing. I absolutely recommend to every transcriptionist in the biz to use the stethoscope-type (plastic or metal) headsets that were designed only for voice, not music. What I hear in response is, "But I have Beats," or, "I have the best sound card on the market," but what they don't have is a setup just for voice. Maybe they're just showing off that they have more dollars than "sense." I have been using the stethoscope type headsets for more than ten years now, and I would never use anything else. I have received many thank yous over the years after having suggested these headsets to others.

So I guess in order to stay on track with my title, I would end this article by saying, please try to keep the proofreaders off your backs, make their lives a little easier, take pride in your work. Change your headset. If none of these things work, then as much as I don't want to be rude, you're probably in the wrong profession. Transcription, first and foremost, is all about the "ear."


Danielle has lived her whole life on Kentucky Lake in far western Kentucky. She has two children, a boy and a girl, ages 10 and 24 respectively. Danielle is a paralegal by education, but has been working at home as a transcriptionist/proofreader since November 1, 2000. Her hobbies include camping and fishing and just about anything outdoors. Danielle obtained her CET in October of 2014.

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