Regardless of your thoughts towards his politics, you have to admit that former US President Bill Clinton is one of the best political speakers of our age. Clinton doesn’t rely on his speech writers to give him gravitas. While the main crux of his talks is carefully constructed by his aides, Clinton goes off piste to make his point.
US journalists, following Clinton’s nomination speech yesterday, commented on how far he moved from the prepared text which had been handed out to the media.
Clinton’s change of emphasis and direction takes the pre-written speech and adds urgency and conviction to the argument. Changing “should vote for Barack Obama” to “must vote” is a crucial change that any journalist just relying on the officially released version of the speech would have missed completely.
Its times like these where transcription really comes into its own. While political speech writers, marketers, PR professionals, HR representatives, legal teams and presenters take their time to carefully craft a speech, once the lights are on and the flood of adrenaline begins to flow, speakers are on their own.
The only way to fully get a feel of a speaker, such as Clinton, is to see his words as they were delivered, not as they were planned to be delivered. We’ve transcribed President Clinton’s words before; when someone speaks from the heart as he does, there’s no other way than to capture his words as he says them. A professional transcription catches the essence of a point in history in a way no other form can. Videos can be cleverly edited, TV news only shows brief sound bites, newspapers, websites and blogs will give their individual spin on events…
The Atlantic Wire took the copy of President Clinton’s speech and compared it to the transcription (unfortunately we didn’t provide it). In the short excerpt below, you can see where Clinton changed the pre-written address.
You can read the full comparison speech here: What Bill Clinton Wrote vs. What Bill Clinton Said
(Italics are Clinton’s words)
Now, Let’s talk about the debt. Today, interest rates are low, lower than the rate of inflation. People are practically paying us to borrow money, to hold their money for them. But it will become a big problem when the economy grows and interest rates start to rise. We have to deal with it We’ve got to deal with this big long-term debt problem or it will deal with us. It will gobble up a bigger and bigger percentage of the federal budget we’d rather spend on education and health care and science and technology. It — we’ve got to deal with it. Now, what has the president done? President Obama He has offered a reasonable plan with $4 trillion in debt reduction over a decade, with $2 of spending reductions for every $1 of revenue increases, with 2 1/2 trillion (dollars) coming from — for every $2 1/2 trillion in spending cuts, he raises a dollar in new revenues — 2 1/2-to-1 and tight controls on future spending. It’s That’s the kind of balanced approach proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, a bipartisan commission.
While the essence of the original is still there, you can see that the adlibs and additions make for a very different speech altogether.
Our transcribers deal with speeches exactly like President Clinton’s all the time. Each one is just as important and momentous, from HR meetings to press launches, board meetings to meeting of heads of state…
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