A Day in the Life of a Transcriber — Part 01: Parts Shouldn’t Have Names

Being the second half — named “Part 01” in succession to “Part 00”. If you missed the introduction, here’s yet another link to it. If you’re too lazy to read, the long & short of it is this: I do transcriptions as my main income source at the moment and this blog is a good place to vent my frustrations by having a laugh at some people’s terrible communication skills. Please note, these are all native English speakers so they have no excuse for these abominations they call communication.

I never even knew nothing about it […]. Or I did, but I think it was like, pushed to the back of my head. Like, consciencesly [sic] I knew that […], but it wasn’t a thing that I took much notice about […]. I knew, but I didn’t know, if that makes sense, like.

Where do I start? Not at the beginning, that’s a little overused. We’ll start with a very interesting word — in the loosest sense of the word.

consciencely [sic]

I’m not too sure of the spelling, so I’ve typed it phonetically. I’m not too clear on the definition, but it would appear to imply a moral manner in which something occurs or is performed. Use cases may include performing surgery. One performs surgery “consciencely” when one does it carefully, considerately and not under the influence of substances. In this context, though, I think the word you’re looking for is “consciously” — to be aware in one’s conscious mind instead of only the subconscious. Now, note how we spell it. Yes, similarly, but without the N-sound. Minus twenty points for stupidity. Next:

I never even knew nothing about it

That roughly translates to, “I have never, not once, known nothing about it.” This can be further simplified to, “It’s always been been something I was knowledgeable about.” Minus fifty points because it’s such a well-documented, commonly-known mistake. I don’t not condone double-negatives if they’re used cleverly. Onwards:

Let’s look at the next part and the last part:

Or I did, but I think it was like, pushed to the back of my head.

I knew, but I didn’t know, if that makes sense, like.

Basically they both add up to exactly the same idiocy. We’re ignoring all other issues and just concentrating on the meanings. First off, you give the listener the choice of whether you know something because you used “Or”, which implies that they have the option of whether or not you knew. Since you’re the one doing the knowing, that’s something nobody else can decide. Secondly, you either do or don’t know something. You can’t know and not know something simultaneously, at least without entering the paradoxical land of Quantum Mechanics. Minus another fifty for stupid, but plus twenty for making me laugh. Seriously, that has to be in the top ten most idiot statements, yet I hear a surprising number of people spouting stuff like this. So, for the sake of anyone reading this who has ever said something along these lines, you either know something or you don’t (with the exception of quantitative contexts). Too confusing? Don’t worry, I’ve prepared a pocket-sized cheat-sheet below to illustrate exactly how it works:


You can print that (there’s a button below this post), cut it out and laminate it so you can carry it around as a reference card. That way, whenever you’re in doubt, just check the diagram to clarify.

That’s all for now, but here’s a preview of things to come: An internet avatar becomes aware she’s actually being controlled. Everything she says and does are the result of involuntary obsessive thoughts that manifest as ticks. The only time she can truly know her thoughts are her own is when the person controlling her sleeps. How will she break free? Who is controlling her? And what is the outside world that everyone call “reality” really about?

Well, that’s my little rant done. Any comments, shares, likes, hates, and even death threats are welcomed.


A Day in the Life of a Transcriber — Part 00: Prologue

I wanted my next post to be something meaningful. A poem, a short story, or even the first chapter of a blog-based novel. Alas, my muse fails me.

Transcription is my main income source at the moment. It’s a terrible job, despite what you may hear or think. There is no fun in listening to people barely capable of articulating themselves over the background noise of a shopping mall, a bus station, an eatery, or a busy household. There is no fun in trying to filter out screaming children, blaring televisions, and the ambient hum of other people, especially in a recording made with a smart-phone. There is even less fun in the verbal discourse itself which ranges from topics such as dental hygiene to the endless incumbent ramblings of elderly interviewees about arthritis, ingrown toenails, and chest problems.

Transcription seldom, if ever, involves interesting subject matter. There are no psychiatry sessions with the future Jack the Ripper, nor interviews with scientists and creators breaking new grounds. Just the repetitiveness of barely-audible and unforgivably dull conversation.

There are two perks to the job though. Firstly, it doesn’t require leaving home, fighting the the rush hour traffic and dealing with colleagues and customers you want to strangle. Secondly, you get to laugh every now and then because this job truly highlights just how poor the average human being’s communication skills are. I’m going to be sharing some excerpts of dialogue (modified where needed to protect the identities of the parties involved and so as not to violate my NDAs).

Since this post is already fairly lengthy, I’ve decided to split this post into two parts. Here’s a taste of what’s to come in the second half:

I never even knew nothing about it […]. Or I did, but I think it was like, pushed to the back of my head. Like, consciencesly [sic] I knew that […], but it wasn’t a thing that I took much notice about […]. I knew, but I didn’t know, if that makes sense, like.

You’ll be able to view my commentary on this excerpt along with many more wonderfail (I made that up, it’s a portmanteau of “wonderful” and “fail”) moments in “A Day in the Life of a Transcriber – Part 01: Parts Shouldn’t Have Names”.

Likes, shares, and positive comments sure are wanted and welcomed, but I’ll accept negative feedback too, like how cruel I am for mocking at the poor downtrodden anonymous idiots out there whose insufferable accents, bad speech patterns, and idiotic discourses I must endure to make ends meet while I’d rather be publishing games and books.

Epic Deconstruction

Deconstructed Chicken and Avo Salad: Succulent cubes of chicken breast, slices of perfectly ripe avocado, grated mozzarella, sprouts, and rocket. Served with a honey & mustard dressing.

It sound really nice, and although I know what a “deconstructed salad” is (after all, it’s pretty obvious), I thought I’d toy with my waitress a little, because I’m a bit of a bitch at times.

“Excuse me,” I said gently, looking up from the menu with large, innocent eyes, “What is a deconstructed salad exactly?”

“Well,” the waitress began, fumbling for a way to explain it without it sounding as if it was nothing more than a plate of unmixed salad ingredients.

I continued to look the picture of sweetness and innocence while I gazed expectantly at her. Hesitantly, she explained, “It’s basically, where we don’t mix the salad ourselves. We let the customer mix it how they like it.”

Well, I’ll give her points for managing to make it sound like a good thing when, on paper, it sounds like a lazy chef. “So, you mean you just bring me the ingredients and I have to make it?” I asked innocently.

“Yes,” she replied, maintaining her composure, though I could see resignation glinting in her eyes.

“So it’s not de- constructed, it’s un- constructed,” I contended. “You can’t deconstruct something that was never constructed to begin with.”

It was a weekend and the café was packed with families and their screaming children, gaggles of elderly women, and hipsters plugged into their i-devices. Perhaps my timing was a little cruel, but, in my defence, I was seated at one of my usual tables in the back, a much quieter and more private area that was cut off from the chaos in the front.

“Um…” She seemed tense. She was at a complete loss now and fully resigned to her fate, another difficult customer, as I watched the dread creeping into her eyes. It was obvious she wasn’t just new to the café, but new to waiting in general, so I decided I’d let her off the hook. It was a pity, because my trolling session could’ve yielded some very interesting fruit.

“Don’t you think that’s a little lazy?” I asked with obviously contrived outrage. “If I have to make it, then I think I deserve a discount for my labour!”

Her increasingly tense form relaxed and she began to smile. I started to laugh and she soon joined me. “Sorry,” I said, “I do this sort of thing to every new waitress I meet. Most of the staff here know I’m full of crap.”

As I always do when I torment a waitress, I left her a generous tip at the end of the meal. Feel free, as always, to share your thoughts, whether they be about how mean or funny you think I am.

Poem: Asylum

So, in the spirit of posting even a little meaningful content now and then on this blog, I’ll present you a poem I wrote quite a few years back. I’m not exactly sure how many, but I know it was before the end of 2011 and after the start of 2009. I was much younger and still thought of myself as dark and misunderstood by the world. I think this is echoed a little in the poem. And to pre-empt any questions: No it does not hold any special relevance to me or the people around me, it just happened inside me like most things I write. So, without any more procrastination, with not another word of discussion, absolutely no digression, and no further ado whatsoever, in any shape or form, neither explicit nor implicit, I present to you:

By J. McMaster

A man wakes in a bed, he’s surrounded by the sun
He looks all around him, but he’s the only one
No walls for shelter, no roof for shade
Not a trace amongst the rubble, of the house that he made
The neighbourhood’s in ruins, the garden’s scorched earth
There’s absolutely nothing left, with any kind of worth

Across the world it’s night-time, where a young girl walks the street
To the unchanging backdrop, of chainlink and concrete
Not a light in a window, or a soul behind a door
Everything’s a shadow, of what it was before

And outside of that world, a few feet down the hall
The men collect some medicine, to give to Jane and Paul
And once again the doctor, sits each patient down
“Why won’t you even acknowledge me?” he says with a frown.

And somewhere in the rubble, Paul swore he heard a call
But this time he ignores it, he’s heard it plenty times before
While Jane runs up and down the street, searching for the sound
Hoping to escape from this, world in which she’s bound
But soon she starts to tire, and then to forget
And then her mind starts going blank, as the medicine takes effect

For those who noticed the thematic inspirations from Silent Hill, a pat on the back. For those who did not, you just lost five-hundred points you didn’t know you had. But you have the chance to win them back — or double them, if you didn’t loose them — by simply sharing, liking, or posting me some feedback that doesn’t involve discounted eyebrow tattoos.