Transcription Exercise - My 2014 ITS lecture on Virtual Reality


The goal for this first assignment of the Reading and Writing Electronic Text, was to transcribe something, anything that wasn't already available as electronic text.I have chosen to transcribe the following youtube video from a lecture I gave in 2014, together with Franey Nogueira, about this (not so) new thing called Virtual Reality

about the Video

The lecture took place at the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro, where every week experts in different fields would talk about the latest and most pressing issues. That year, the Oculus Rift headset was just released for developers and researcher, and I took it to myself to spread the word on this new media, while also pointing to the challenges and shortcomings of it. Meanwhile, the visual artist Franey Nogueira got interested in exploring the role of VR in her work and contemporary art. Franey and I were very excited to be invited there, and, after carefully watching the recording for this assignment, I realized that maybe I was too excited.

Thoughts on the transcription process

First, the transcription is in Portuguese, since it is the language of the original video. It took me about an hour to type 1701 words or less than 12 minutes out of the whole 1 hour and 33 minutes video.

During the transcription, I became awfully aware of my shortcomings as a speaker back then: I skipped words, mumbled and was often unable to finish structured sentences. I remember the final reactions and commentaries from the public to be quite positive, but looking and listening to all of my sentences, over and over again, while also typing then, was like holding a microscope into my own words.

Interesting enough, I realized that I was inadvertently correcting myself; fixing errors. If I mumbled something or finished a sentence abruptly, I would just not transcribe it or make small corrections. As I kept writing - and becoming more conscious of my speech - I would actually become more precise. The second half of the transcription has more "..." and mumblings than the first half.

When Franey, my colleague, spoke, I felt more at ease to be more precise with the transcription and I believe I've made barely any unconscious changes or improvements. This seemed to make it even more clear to me on how I was editing the transcription without even realizing it.

Plain Text format politics

After finishing and uploading the transcription to this website (here), I realized that the plain text format, when opened in my Chrome Browser, transformed basic Portuguese punctuations (like "ão" in "não"/"no") into a barely readable garble. The teacher, Allison Parrish, warned about using "weird signs" when using plain text, but I didn't realize that it would include some of the most important signs in my native Portuguese Language. I clearly understand the technical and historical reasons for the code not recognizing "ão", but seeing my transcription transformed into such a mess made me wonder about the political aspects of not having your own language recognized as "plain text". What does it mean when your language is not..."plain"?

Syllabus and first-week assignment: