A World of Speculation

War stories are the best part of learning a new job. We had our Christmas party at school last evening, and after a half-hour of jollity went back to our workstations to continue learning the theory of realtime transcription (it’s hard to express that without any brand names). As frequently happens at such events, we had a hard time actually getting back to work, and some of the more advanced students sidetracked our teacher into the sort of job knowledge you don’t get from books.

Like the time the reporter, an attorney and the witness in a phone-conferenced deposition were all named Dave, and so every time someone on the other end of the wire said, “Hey, Dave,” three people answered.

Like the time a deposition question about the witness’s adult beverage of choice veered into a social discussion of, “So, what do you like to drink?” After a couple of minutes of this, the reporter reminded them all that they were still on the record and wondered if that was OK with them. With the approval of both attorneys (either one could veto the decision), he backed up to the original question and answer and deleted the chitchat.

Like the fact that some court reporters have declared themselves offended by the language and subject matter that goes into depositions and refused to record it. To tell the truth, suspecting that I would be likely to be offended by the subject matter of TV is one reason that closed captioning is low on my list of applications for my new skill. What happens in court proceedings is real life. It somehow falls under the “I’m just repeating what so-and-so said” exclusion I learned in grade school.

One thing I was concerned about, going into this, was that a lot of depositions would be blah, blah, blah, 47%, $50,000, blah, blah, party of the first part, etc. But our teacher says that most depositions bring something new every day. Some people are jerks, he says, which, to my mind, makes them blog material. But by and large the conversations are educational and surprising (“Divorces are fun,” he said, which makes me think he must be a writer at heart).