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Punctuation is Powerful0116
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January 2016
by: Antoinette Franks, CET

Sic 'em!!!


In our world of legal transcription, you spend a great deal of time listening to court proceedings and transcribing the nuances of speech for each individual and making sure you accurately type what they said and in the appropriate context it was said. But have you ever come across that part in a sentence where you hit your foot pedal a couple of times, because there's no way they said that and you must be hearing it wrong? If you're actually listening to your audio and the content, although your reaction may not always be quite that strong, you have definitely run into this issue in a courtroom. So when that happens what do you do?


You type it, of course. But then what? You read the sentence over and over, and it obviously makes no sense for one reason or another. How is the reader supposed to know YOU didn't actually lose your mind and make an error, as opposed to your witness or attorney having a slip of the tongue? Well, this is where your little friend, sic, comes in. Who is sic you say? Sic is the Latin adverb, actually short for sic erat scriptum and means "thus was it written". And this lovely little adverb is used to notate when something seems out of place or strange, or clearly erroneous in context, but was written intentionally and verbatim. When used, it is inserted into your text, in parentheses, and immediately following the verbiage of contention in your transcript.


You will find sic follows behind anything from a horrendous misstatement to something as common as a mispronunciation of a name or word that someone uses, or even mixing up a number or date you just heard the speaker give. So now, when you have those moments that cause you to blankly stare at your screen in disbelief or cause you to put your headphones down because you need a moment, now you can just shake your head and keep typing. Just be sure to sic'em every time!! I promise you, it will definitely help you to maintain your own personal sanity in the everyday chaos of the courtroom!

By Antoinette Franks, AAERT Certified Electronic Transcriber


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