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Tomorrow Never Transcribes (or ‘The Ipcress Audio File’): An Espionage Thriller

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This is a guest post written by Jon Bailey, one of Global Lingo’s professional transcribers in London. Like Leyanne, Jon has been working with our company for a year. Therefore we are wishing him a joyous anniversary!

Jon reckons he has stumbled on to the truth behind our Global Lingo London office. Is he right? Well now, that would be telling.

Tomorrow Never Transcribes (or ‘The Ipcress Audio File’): An Espionage Thriller

I became a freelance writer for Global Lingo one year ago.

It was a job surrounded in mystery. My task was to transcribe recordings from deep within government and big business, all across the world. The style guide was as strict as the confidentiality clause. I told no one what I heard and I used semi colons correctly; I had to.

For the first six months I met no one from Global Lingo.

Assignments were delivered by email (although not, admittedly, by a shadowy figure muttering codewords on a park bench). From these messages, the Global Lingo team seemed nice. But questions remained. Did this team actually exist? What did that guy say at 00:21:35? What was Global Lingo?

Was it a secret network of eavesdropping grammar enthusiasts? Was it a fiction, created by a computer with multiple email personae and a passion for conference-call hold music? Was it a fast growing languages agency providing professional transcription, minute-taking, translation and interpreting services?

Yes, the last one. But I had my suspicions (and the desire to move to London – if I’m honest, it was mainly the moving to London). I therefore agreed to attend an information session on minute taking. This would be held at Global Lingo’s London HQ. There I might see how far the rabbit hole went.

I caught the first reasonably-priced train to King’s Cross and set off, bound for the bright lights of the city and that uncanny two-dimensional woman who tells you not to take luggage onto the escalator.

Outside King’s Cross, an anonymous source tipped me off to the office’s whereabouts. ‘It’s on Google Maps,’ he growled, stamping out his cigar and disappearing into the crowd.

His intel was good. I found Global Lingo’s hideout on Black Prince Road, just next to the Street View button. There I met their writing team for the first time. I was taken aback. Could these friendly, professional people really be part of some shadowy conspiracy?

I thought not. I left the office and walked back to Vauxhall Underground Station. But on the way, I passed the enormous tower block/sandcastle which houses the offices of MI6. I noted its proximity to Black Prince Road and knew my suspicions could not be entirely laid to (typist’s wrist) rest.

Nevertheless, I started minute-taking. This involved attending meetings on the phone and on chairs around tables.

Now I felt like the spy. I slipped into glossy high-rises, undetected (except by the receptionist, my on-site contact, the attendees of the meeting and the crowd of people in the lobby checking I hadn’t hurt myself when I slipped). I listened in, unseen, down conference-call lines (though I preferred to think of them as ‘wire taps’).

My typing became ever faster and my grammar more pernickety. I became a precision recording machine, like a good VCR, or a bad paper shredder.

I couldn’t stop. I would transcribe phone calls from my mother. I would present friends with minutes of conversations in the pub. But was I minuting the conversations, or were they minuting me?

Neither, obviously. And I should perhaps also say (disclaimer) Global Lingo are not agents of international espionage (probably).

It is true, however, that I can type really fast now; just look at me go on this last line. Woah!

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The Global Lingo Linguist Management Team is happy to release the fourth edition of the Linguist Newsletter. This issue introduces more of our team and focuses on Localisation Engineering and Minute-Taking Click here to view the Summer edition of the Linguist Newsletter.