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All You Need to Know About Verbatim Transcription Services

Verbatim transcription is the art of converting audio, such as interviews, notes, and messages, and incorporating it into written documents the same way speakers originally uttered those words. It entails false starts, filler, stutters, grammatical mistakes, and other verbal cues that offer the recording context. The primary aim of verbatim transcription is to capture the audio or video's "what" and "how." 

How Verbatim Transcription Works

There are numerous ways of converting speech into text. Although transcriptions may seem similar at a glance, they have significant differences in format and the degree of detail captured.

Verbatim transcription surpasses mere word typing as it captures even the slightest detail in an audio or video recording with the utmost attention and care. 

This type of speech-to-text transformation process needs exceptional listening skills, attention to detail, and time to grab everything from a speaker.

Unlike other transcription services, verbatim transcription is more time-consuming since the transcriber has to type everything they hear and non-speech content, such as laughs and coughs. 

Types of Verbatim Transcription

There are three ways to transcribe within verbatim transcription. They include: 

  • Clean/Intelligent Verbatim 

    Clean verbatim records words as spoken but omits filler words, repeated words, stutters, and other "irrelevant" bits. Fundamentally, the primary objective of the transcriptionist is to capture words from the audio or video exactly but with enhanced readability. 

    Due to their improved readability, intelligent transcription is widely embraced in business transcription (podcasts, meetings, and YouTube videos, among others). However, it isn’t typical among researchers and journalists who require detailed information about everything spoken.

  • Full/True Verbatim 

    Full verbatim doesn’t filter anything. It incorporates filler words and external sounds, including any noise heard on the recordings, such as children crying or radio singing in the background. For more information,this might be useful.

Rules of Verbatim Transcription

If you’re not conversant with verbatim transcription, you might wonder how to transcribe things like laughter or other non-verbal cues on the recording. Here are crucial rules of verbatim transcription based on comprehensive you want the transcription to appear: 

  • Do Not Paraphrase 

    Avoid paraphrasing statements when discussing an idea. Instead, type the exact words.
  • Don’t Omit Non-Verbal Communication

    Communication is a broad aspect. It has numerous components other than words, such as laughter, pauses, and surrounding sounds. Verbatim transcription captures all these to provide an authentic account of everything spoken. 
  • Capture Filler Words and False Starts 

    Sometimes, communication may have empty spaces. The speaker applies filler words to fill these conversation lulls. False starts are sentences and words aborted before completion. Fillers and false starts may compromise communication flow but often offer comprehension into the thinking process of a speaker. Therefore, verbatim transcription does not remove any of these components.
  • Note External Sounds 

    Everything happening in the surrounding is crucial, especially while conducting qualitative research or even market research. There should be no edits of external sounds/events, such as door opening sounds.

When to Use a Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim transcripts offer crucial context that intelligent transcripts don't provide. Authentic transcripts incorporate non-speech sounds such as “mm-hmm” that are vital when running a focus group, stating a source, or seeking a legal transcription. Verbatim transcription services are useful when: 

  • Directly Stating a Source 

    If you’re conducting research and require an exact quotation, verbatim transcription can become extremely crucial. When quoting an individual in your article, book, presentation, or blog, you’re supposed to note the quotation exactly as it was to avoid bringing out a whole different meaning in a discussion.
  • Researching Studies and Focus Group Discussions 

    Sometimes, verbatim transcriptions can exhibit facts you haven’t realized before—for instance, when evaluating focus groups. True verbatim can display the signs of hesitation or consensus of a group.
  • For Legal Statements and Documents 

    It is mandatory to transcribe verbatim numerous legal documents for optimal accuracy. It is unlawful to use transcriptions that contain errors during legal processes. This is because even the most minor mistake can dramatically modify the interpretation of a document and its use to determine results. It is also vital to capture all emotions when handling legal cases. 

Final Thoughts

Before you decide on what transcript to use, contemplate your use case. If you know that your transcript is for quotes or use in court, it is unquestionable that it should be verbatim. 

While transcribing verbatim, avoid using speech recognition software as it generates numerous errors. Since this style is quite daunting, you need human expertise to capture the whole conversation with zero mistakes.

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