Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes

Q. If court testimony is being quoted and the speaker does not often use correct grammar (repeats words, speaks in sentence fragments or sentences that don’t logically follow, etc.), is it okay to change it extensively and use brackets to indicate the changes? Would a general disclaimer work?

A. It depends on your purpose. As a rule, court testimony must be rendered as spoken (as far as possible), because users require it to be accurate, not laundered through the preferences and judgments of an editor. In work that’s not legal or scholarly you can take more liberties (with a disclaimer), although if your changes are that extensive, paraphrases would probably be more elegant and readable.