What should a transcriptionist do if the speakers utters,

"You need to accept the consequences and deal with the problem and focus more on growth."

Be informed that transcription companies doesn't permit the omission of any part of speech - the coordinating conjunction and in this case - from the transcript. It also happens with or.

Similarly, what should the punctuation look like when the speaker says,

"The most interesting fact, the one that got my attention so far, is that..."

Should it be as transcribed above?

  • At least, Grammarly doesn't protest any of your constructions (with the exception that it protests the ellipsis, but that's because it doesn't understand you're giving us an example... If I replace "…" with " birds fly." It has no comments...) And whatever Grammarly can do, it seems to be able to handle simple things like punctuation quite well.
    – Erk
    Aug 21, 2021 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


The question here is a slight deviation from traditional academic writing because all of your examples are in dialogue. The rules for spoken English should prevail in that case. We can draw from either literary examples or journalistic examples, but in the end, the goal is to most effectively replicate the dialogue of the speaker. If you were to run several and instances together with no literary pause, then you should hopefully be accurately representing the delivery of the speaker.

Let's begin with literature. There are wide variety of methods to convey a pause in a dialogue. Here is a sample from Charles Dickens' David Copperfield:

My father’s eyes had closed upon the light of this world six months, when mine opened on it. There is something strange to me, even now, in the reflection that he never saw me ; and something stranger yet in the shadowy remembrance that I have of my first childish associations with his white grave-stone in the churchyard , and of the indefinable compassion I used to feel for it lying out alone there in the dark night, when our little parlour was warm and bright with fire and candle , and the doors of our house were—almost cruelly, it seemed to me sometimes—bolted and locked against it.

You can see both a semicolon and comma are used, but they have slightly different contextual pauses.

Now a later example mixes the conjunction with a pause, and without one:

My mother had left her chair in her agitation , and gone behind it in the corner. Miss Betsey, looking round the room, slowly and inquiringly, began on the other side , and carried her eyes on, like a Saracen’s Head in a Dutch clock, until they reached my mother.

It is not unheard of for a speech to run multiple conjunctions together for an emphasis, skipping the grammatically list-separating commas. This should be accurately represented in your record, as this:

A dark store-room opens out of it , and that is a place to be run past at night; for I don’t know what may be among those tubs and jars and old tea-chests, when there is nobody in there with a dimly-burning light, letting a mouldy air come out of the door, in which there is the smell of soap, pickles, pepper, candles , and coffee, all at one whiff.

Here, now, we have a list without a comma, and then one with a comma. An emotion is conveyed based on this different delivery. The meter of the dialogue is effectively communicated to the reader, and that is the most important consideration. Academic writing is largely a rigid construction of the language being used. But human dialogue communicates with a vastly more complex toolset. A good academic speech holds and objective and grammatically correct delivery; but to remove emotion and inflections from a person's dialogue while recording it is a misrepresentation.

However, there may be a line drawn where a record can overlook dialogue which represents an obvious error or failing. Consider an emotional delivery which includes a stammer. Again, from Dickens:

‘My dear young friend,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘I am older than you; a man of some experience in life, and—and of some experience, in short, in difficulties, generally speaking.'

In this literary work the stammer is important to convey the author's intent to the reader, suggesting that the speaker is flustered. But the speaker—Mr. Micawber—did not intent that message to be interrupted. So in academic writing, the stammer would have been edited out.

There are times when a speaker delivers a long pause for deliberate effect, and certainly, a long hyphen can be used:

I feel that the time is arrived when Mr. Micawber should exert himself and—I will add—assert himself , and it appears to me that these are the means.

I think the proper delimiting factor would be to report as accurately as possible the speaker's intended message, and only omit parts of the communication which were not intended. The owner of your journal or publication may have their own guidelines, these are general considerations useful for individual work.

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