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Posts Tagged ‘transcription

Another Wake for Finnegan

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I’d already started reading James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake back before my shenanigans (thanks, Kelly, for the Penguin Books edition I have). And I’d made myself a fairly solid beachhead before that reading effort got torpedoed by my death, followed by the major regulations project I’ve been working on since, together with other responsibilities and interests.

Coming back to it from that very first midsentence “riverrun,” I had decided to read it this time the way I read the original 401(a)(4) regulations, the way I’ve read so many hundreds of poems, the way I’ve read so many blog posts and e-mails and written correspondences — I am manually transcribing the entire manuscript myself, page by page, word by word, letter by letter, each and every punctuation mark exactly as it stands. As I encountered back in 1991 with those 401(a)(4) regulations, so too today, all too commonly the same people who act impressed at how well I know and understand what I have read are quick to judge and even openly insult my methods. *shrug* I know what works for me. If people spent one hundredth the time they spend preaching “acceptance” on actually practicing what they preach instead of rejecting others’ ways and choices and beliefs and kindness, there would be a whole lot more love in this world.

Today, I picked up a new personal trademark idiosyncrasy that will slow my Finnegan transcription to a crawl. I’ve been using my iPad mini for transcription — already possibly the second slowest alternative at my disposal (the slowest being via the smaller keyboard of my iPhone), perhaps even slower than if I wrote it all out in my longhand scrawl, certainly way slower than the PC keyboard I used for 401(a)(4) regulation transcription. Apple’s text services had been annoying me by continually trying to correct what it thinks to be misspellings — nuisance enough for a normal text message, but almost insane for a James Joyce book, in which just about every third word is unrecognized by Apple’s dictionary. So annoying that I can’t count how many times I’ve thought I ought disable the auto-correct feature completely, but for how useful it is when I actually do unintentionally misspell a word and am grateful for the built-in editor.

So I’ve kept the auto-correct on, time and time and time again accidentally typing through the end of a Joyce “word,” having Apple “correct” it, then having to take the extra time and effort to back up and type the correct version back in. But today, the number of amusing replacements finally got to me. So I’ve launched a new Adrienesque exercise: I’m now transcribing two separate versions of Finnegan. First, of course, the authentic version, the way Joyce wrote it. But in my second version, I’m letting Apple run free, like an untrained dog without a leash, which will give me Finnegan According to Apple, so to speak.

Of course, I’ll increase my transcription time by 50% or more: I’ll still have the usual typing with frequent backspacing and retyping for the authentic version; then, to get the Apple version by most direct means, I will be re-typing the entire text from scratch all over again, that second time of course saving myself from the time of correcting whatever Apple decides to do. Even with the extra transcription time, I expect to be completely finished both versions in time for the 100th anniversary of Joyce’s publication of the first edition (about five years from now).

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Written by macheide

18 July 2014 at 3:44 pm

Posted in grolier

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