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Transcription Services: Editing for Style

What does it mean when  transcription services offer editing?  Transcription services need to be editing experts to know what to choose and what to lose!  On with the fascinating story of the Feynman Lectures, brought to you by Tigerfish Transcribing.  We do transcription.  And we also tell you tales of Famous Transcripts!

 

Famous Transcripts in History:  The Feynman Lectures  Part 7

Once Richard Feynman’s lectures were transcripts, on paper, interest grew, and soon a book deal was made.  But this meant another round of transcription editing and proofreading, and some important choices.

In a memoir written for the 2013 book Feynman’s Tips on Physics, Dr. Sands wrote:

“I rather quickly sent off the first few lectures, and very soon received back the galleys for proofreading.   It was a disaster!  The editor…had done a significant rewrite, converting the informal style of the transcripts to a traditional, formal, text-book style–changing “you” to “one”, and so on…After explaining that we considered that the informal, conversational style was an essential part of the lectures…she saw the light and thereafter did a great job–mostly leaving things as they were.”

Robert Leighton, the other principal editor of the lectures, realized that with Richard Feynman, “you should do a minimum of editing on what he says.  You should leave it as close to the original as possible, including the mannerisms–although not the repetition.” He remembered:

“There’s one particular passage, which I’m sure I could find if I looked in the Feynman book.  I’d like you to see what form it was in when it first came out of Feynman…He had a sentence in there that never had a verb in it!”

So there you have a beautiful story of how a talented talker’s lucid explanations became accessible to people worldwide and across time.  The book that resulted from the edited transcripts, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, is what blogger Robbie Gonzalez calls a “phenomenal resource to anyone with even a passing interest in the physical world and the laws that govern it.”

Ellen Park

 

Famous Transcripts