by Kieran Healy on February 10, 2004

Eugene Volokh “notices an error”: in a transcript. My friend “Bethany”: had a bunch of interviews transcribed professionally for her dissertation and now offers “Transcription Bloopers: 29 Reasons Not to Waste Your Money.”: Choice examples include:

table(fig). {font-weight:bold;center}_|As Spoken|As Transcribed|
|(. 20th century |((. Planting some tree |
|(. Class oppression |((. Fast depression |
|(. Enrich each other |((. Rate each other |
|(. Serbian oral epic |((. Servient oral ethic |

Errors of this sort in transcripts are at the intersection of “Mondegreens”: and the strange phenomenon of the media always happening to desperately misreport stories you know something about personally.



dave heasman 02.10.04 at 9:05 am

There’s a transcription error in the first line of the “Mondegreen” link :-

“They hae slain the Earl o’ Murray ” I imagine should be “Moray” as in eel and river..


chris 02.10.04 at 9:53 am

My father once dictated a memo, “… we should consider some new displays in the reception area…”

This was duly typed up, “… we should consider some nudist plays…”


Daniel Ray 02.10.04 at 10:26 am

My personal favorite: I dictated “…enrollment will be significant.” It was transcribed “…in Rome it will be significant.”


Mrs Tilton 02.10.04 at 1:44 pm

Without in any way wishing to denigrate the noble tradition of Serbian oral epic, I must say that I find ‘servient oral ethic’ a culpa very felix indeed.

I mean, for the sound of it. Now the sense has kicked in, and it brings with it an unwelcome but unavoidable thought of Ms Lewinsky’s philosophy for getting on at the White House.


rea 02.10.04 at 3:56 pm

Possibly not funny, but I was once involved in a couple of years of litigation over whether the judge had REALLY instructed the jury (as the transcript indicated)to find the defendant guilty if they had a reasonable doubt.


nnyhav 02.10.04 at 4:12 pm

Amanda Green, did you say?


Munch 02.10.04 at 11:41 pm

I remembered this occurring in real life, but here is a link too:


One day in 1976, president Jimmy Carter met with reporters to discuss the affairs of the nation. The official transcript of the meeting, which distinctly referred to “a GNC,” had everyone baffled, racing around trying to figure out what this new agency was for. Twenty-four hours later the White House Press Office issued a correction. “A GNC,” it explained, should in fact read “Aegean Sea.”

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