Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Please Speak Slowly and Clearly, or I Will Misquote You

so this morning, i had quite a time trying to get a copy of the free daily paper. i mean, i wanted my free daily paper. but the distribution guy was facing the other way and he kept trying to hand them out to other people, and other people kept walking by like they were hired just to ignore him, the poor man. meanwhile, i was hopping up and down behind him, doing everything in my power to get his attention and will him to turn around. i almost knocked over him, me and his stack of papers. man, the things we do to get the news these days. the things i do, rather. i'm not going to jail again for indecent generalizations.


so tape transcriptions are the order of the week. i am transcribing tapes for this latinamerican business conference that i helped my friend alex with last week. i thought i could make a little extra cash on the side, and i have an unhealthy attraction for typing (but i won't get into that here). well. i was wrong. tape transcription has proved to be one of the most unpleasant tasks i have engaged in for some time. let's break it on down, the anti-perks.

1. all of these people speak fast. i didn't realize economic infrastructure and investment analysis are such simple topics that they can be discussed and acknowledged faster than the micromachines guy got through one line of his schpiel. but indeed, i barely press play on the tape, and the CEO has gotten through no less than 5 of his main points. apparently, everyone has 500 main points in all their lectures. anything less would be a disgrace.


2. these people all have foreign accents. yeah, you thought the talking fast was bad. well. you're wrong. the speedy meat of the lecture in the tape transciption sandwich is housed between two heavy slices of accent bread. man, this guy talks fast. this is going to be hard. oh but wait, what? english isn't his first language either? hahahah. this is getting so fun! so i have to replay the same five seconds over and over and over again trying to figure out what people are saying. pay attention, BIN-BEST-MEEN = investment and FEN-SHUN FOONS = pension funds. oh, this is a hoot and a half, golly.

3. oh yeah. there's more complaining where that came from. combine 1 and 2 and you start to despair at the task that is tape transcription. but wait! what's that. your walkman that they gave you has a way to control the tape speed?! goodness, why didn't i think of this before? i'm moving NORMAL to SLOW...which will get everyone to be understandable and i can type fast enough and everyone wins...EXCEPT NUH UH, that would be an ideal world. instead, when i put the tape on slow, mr. speedy mcfrenchsky starts tawwwkkkkkeeeeeng loiiiiiiik-uhhhhhh deeeeeeees and all the hypersyllabic convoluted sentences of before become diluted and looooong and every moment is like "noooooooooo the precious vial containing the antidote is falling towards earth..." it's good to break up the tedium to change into the slo-mo voice though. us tape transcribers get our shits and giggles where we can.

4. finally, to add insult to pain, the headphones that came with the walkman i'm using to listen to the tapes don't fit in my deformed ears. they are those small ones that fit into your ears. except neither of the ear podules fit into either one of my ears. they just fall out like Boop, we don't go here, sorry. finally, i just jammed them both in there, until 30 minutes later, blood spouted out of both my ears forcing them both out again. finally, i had to concede defeat and use my father's headphones straight from the 1970s. they are made of rocks and broken glass, and wrap completely around your face and head.

why do you hate me?

half of half a tape down. 1 and 3/4 tapes to go!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

he just kept TALKING in one long incredibly unbroken sentence moving from topic to topic such that no one had a chance to interrupt it was really quite hypnotic.

Aparna said...

you're right. it is hypnotic. or was.

dink said...

poor Aparna--look at it this way, you're developing new skills--deciphering the unintelligible.

This will come in handy later, when you are a mom. trust me.

Aparna said...

point taken, dink! always the sunny side of life...haha