Page Padding (phonetic)

Stenonymous source Jackie Mentecky comes through with a digital example. It speaks for itself.

Digital court reporting transcript apparently page padding.

For most of my career it’s been a bit of a witch hunt against page padding, that is, doing unnecessary things with formatting and transcription that result in more pages. So when I see things like this, where nearly every name is followed by phonetic, it pains me. Some of us have allowed ourselves to feel guilty over using parentheticals like “whereupon.”

Look, who hasn’t shifted a line down in the name of readability, right?

But writing phonetic after every single thing is inane. To any of you digital executives reading my work, you can wrap this up by using (names phonetic) on the first phonetic name you do. I like to think I made that up. But let’s face it, parentheticals have always been a matter of trying to say a lot with as little as possible. I can’t be the first one. My whole audience is going to hate me for helping you, but this is just too painful to watch.


My criticism no longer applies should it come to light this is something that varies jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Seriously, do it my way.

10 thoughts on “Page Padding (phonetic)

  1. Was there no way to obtain the correct spelling of those parties? For (phonetic), I believe it is imperative after each name, as the transcript can be picked up to be read at any portion of it, not just where the first (phonetic) was written. In the example you cite, that appears to be laziness on the part of the Reporter. I would imagine an E-mail could have been sent to one of the parties to attempt to obtain the correct spellings from the speaker. “Whereupon” is, in my opinion, a very “old” style of parenthetical use and not necessary. Just state what you want in the parenthetical, w/o the “whereupon.”

    1. Thanks for sharing your opinion! You’re right, that would be a drawback to my solution. But here it would be perfect since they all appear on the same page.

      But this is my point, “whereupon, a discussion was held off the record” is not page padding compared to (phonetic) (phonetic) (phonetic) (phonetic)…

      (Phonetic) (phonetic) (phonetic)

    2. I don’t know what the problem is.
      Sure it looks stupid but how much extra did they make? $5?

      Not a biggie IMO.

      1. Fair enough comment. Now multiply that $5 by all the cases this can be done on for an indeterminate number of years and I think you’ll see the problem. Again, this is in the context of a field that used to have arguments on Facebook about whether “whereupon, an off the record discussion was held,” is page padding. So certainly half a page of (phonetic) is an issue worth writing about.

        Let’s poll some lawyers and find out if they want to pay for entire pages of parentheticals that are unnecessary for the clarity of the record, and in fact make it harder to read.

  2. I wonder how much time they spent researching the names on the internet. I agree this makes it difficult to read and if I couldn’t find proper spellings, I would use the suggested method, but I bet a lot could be resolved with a little research.

    1. I bet you’re right. One commentator on a social media post mentioned they’re not compensated for research. Of course, we’re not necessary compensated for research either, but the higher rates generally help.

  3. Researching this many names is not something I would do. Either reach out to the attorney for spellings. Otherwise, I agree with Chris – a parenthetical like (all names spelled phonetically) serves the purpose.

    1. Thanks!
      I could go both ways on researching. If someone just shoots off a bunch of names and then doesn’t give me spellings or doesn’t return my request for spellings, I can only do so much.

  4. I like “Whereupon.” I’m old school and have been told it looks classy. It has nothing to do with padding, in my opinion.

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