When I first read this assignment, I thought it was going to be a piece of cake for me.  As a TV production assistant–and beyond–I was required to transcribe taped interviews on an almost daily basis.  But trying to decipher Jeremy Bentham’s handwriting is not even remotely close to rewinding a tape to pick up words during Courtney Love’s drunk ramblings.  Bentham’s handwriting has Love’s slurred speech beat, hands down.

After many of the same issues Mary discussed in her post–namely Firefox not being Transcribe Bentham-friendly–I finally was able to view the manuscripts available for  transcription.  After perusing a few that had not been transcribed and seeing the writing was nearly illegible, I opted for an “easy” manuscript.  Of course most of these had already been done, so it was back to the untranscribed category and clicking at random to find one that might possibly fall into the “easy” category if I was lucky.  I chose JB/002/010/001 because it looked user-friendly.  I was wrong.

It seems every other word got a <gap> label, resulting in numerous ellipses in the finished transcript.  Phrases such as the following left me puzzled and the document …

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 12.31.16 AM

Overall, I think Transcribe Bentham is a great project.  Although I’m still not sure if its intent is to get people like us who think this stuff is super cool to do free work for them.  Perhaps it’s just mutually beneficial.

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