I recently attended a monthly online meet-up for the MedRhet community. MedRhet, or medical rhetoric, is a group of mostly scholars that focus on topics relating to the practice of medicine and the different points of rhetoric that comes flowing out of that space. We talked, by which I mean I listened, to the difficulties and possibilities of an academic career. I hoped to glean some sense of what the MedRhet community is like. My fiance is a doctor. Combine that with the hope of conjoining our efforts into our careers seems too juicy to just sit around and wait for my next step. If I was going to pick a specialty outside “mundane” rhetoric, I needed to go where people were talking about their chosen niches.

During the meeting the topic of “ongoing research” came up numerous times. “What topic are you studying?”, “What Journal do you plan to submit to?”, “Oh, that is a good topic, I might just have to look into something similar,” were all valid questions and points. I began to think about issues in accessibility as a topic I could explore. I had studied a great deal in college, but it was from a practical standpoint. That same day, there was also the announcement of the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication for 2020 made on Lisa Melonçon’s blog (https://tek-ritr.com/back-to-accessibility/). Interestingly enough, the topic of the journal will be on accessibility.

What makes this the most interesting, all last week I had to brush-up on my transcribing skills. I’ve complained about it to just about everyone I know about my week transcribing 15 videos. Each video ranging from 13-23 minutes long. The very act of writing a transcript, or even editing one, is just ridiculous. The amount of time it takes to transcribe one 17 minute video is absurd. I found myself editing 3500-4200 words of content and many questions from a terrible choice in software.

Some questions from this experience:

  • As a writer, is it ethical to edit the words of the original speaker? What if it is for the sake of clarity?
  • Time stamps, aesthetically they are terrible, but are they even necessary for clarity?
  • Do you convey audible actions like laughter? How would those be written in?
  • How do you type two people talking over one another? Should you?
  • Should you add agreement talk? (These are the “Yes”, “Yeah”, “Uh huh”, and “definitely” words that people use to convey that they are listening. 
  • Should you leave stammering or unclear mannerisms? (Here is one example that I had to edit out:  “And I, we, I mean, you know, that’s the thing when starting a business”. I edited down to, “You know, that’s the thing when starting a business”. This is very akin to my first question, but you know, I, I mean, sorta thought, that maybe, they might be, we’ll I meant we might be, I, you know…
  • How are quotes used? More importantly, how is personification written? I assumed quotes, but that was one that really alluded me. Here is an example: “it was like, ‘whoa’, and they were like, ‘no’,  and I was just like”.

So, considering the deadline for a submission is in March, I thought I would use my blog to chronicle the journey of writing for a professional publication. I will be seeking advice, researching, and providing my take on the issues revolving around  accessibility and transcriptions. Each week I will publish a small post on my progress. Hopefully, by the time March hits, I will have a pretty decent case study or chronicle of my first hand experience.

Don’t worry, I will still try to get my regular-ish post about improving your everyday rhetoric life. In the meantime, I hope that this post raise some questions about the videos you watch. Maybe you forgot that hard of hearing even existed. It’s okay if you did. Learning to empower others and provide the things they need (at the cost to yourself) takes time. Heck I’m still learning that’s why I’m starting this project. If anything, I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I hope you were able to add something to your everyday rhetoric repertoire.