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Verbatim Transcription: 3 Types and Interesting Tips to Remember

Daniel Chang
Daniel Chang
Posted in Zoom Sep 8 · 8 Sep, 2022
Verbatim Transcription: 3 Types and Interesting Tips to Remember

You probably found this post because you’re searching for transcription services for your audio or video file. Perhaps, you were offered to choose between verbatim and edited transcription. Now, you’re wondering which one is ideal for you.

This guide will help you select the best form of transcription that suits your needs.

What Is Verbatim Transcription?

Let’s say you’re having a meeting with your boss and your conversation is written on paper, word-for-word. When you read the transcript, you will see that it looks a bit strange compared to what you see in regular written language. After all, speakers often repeat words, say fillers, or even stutter during a conversation. So, in certain aspects, spoken language is different from written language. This is also where you’ll notice the difference between verbatim and clean transcription.

In a verbatim transcript, every single word from the audio or video file is captured in text. The words will be written exactly as how they were spoken. When you request this transcription type, you can expect the output to include grammatical errors, false starts, filler words, and other verbal cues. These accurate touches set the scene of the recording while providing helpful context to the conversation.

Verbatim vs. Clean Transcription: What’s the Difference?

As we’ve mentioned, when it comes to verbatim text, the transcriptionist types out every word they hear from the recording. Meanwhile, when a transcript is clean, it means the transcriptionist cleans up repetitions and stammers. They may even correct the grammatical errors to ensure that the conversation is clear and that the core message is present in the text. 

In this case, the goal of the transcriptionist is to document the dialog while ensuring that the text is easy to read. When you read a clean transcription, you will notice that the text flows more pleasantly. It’s also worth noting that in books, the quotes or dialogs are edited transcriptions.

Examples of Clean and Verbatim Transcription

Example 1:

C: Last year was a blast. I got involved in sports at school and made a bunch of friends at a music camp. I can’t wait for the new school year to start.

V: Last year was, I mean, a blast. I was, like so involved in sports as school and made like, uh, a bunch of friends at this music camp. You know, I can’t wait for the new school year to, like, just start.

Example 2:

C: Yeah, sure, it is. In the shooting of the film, the clothes were nicer. Yeah, it is okay, because then, people come and bring you Lamborghinis to drive.

V: Yeah, yeah, sure, it is. I-in the shooting of the film, the, uh, clothes were nicer. It’s okay—yeah it is, because then, people come and they, uh, bring you Lamborghinis to drive.

Three Types of Verbatim Transcription

verbatim transcription

As we’ve mentioned, verbatim involves transcribing everything from a recording. However, there are variations to accommodate specific transcription needs. Here are the main types of verbatim transcription:

Intelligent Verbatim

Also known as “clean verbatim,” intelligent verbatim means transcribing with minor paraphrasing or detailed editing. The goal is to achieve accuracy while ensuring an easy-to-read transcript. 

You can choose this style if you’re after ready-to-print, error-free transcripts. Most of the time, intelligent verbatim is used for business recordings.


In terms of details, this transcription style is a notch higher than clean verbatim. This style involves transcribing every word from the recording, including false starts and grammatical errors. However, if there are repetitions and stutters, they will be cleaned out.

Researchers, students, and journalists prefer this style when they need accurate yet uncluttered recording transcripts.

True Verbatim

Now, if you want the most detailed transcript of a recording, you should go for true verbatim. This style includes every word, including non-verbal communication and other sounds. The level of detail in this transcript makes it ideal for academic analysis and research.

When Do You Use Verbatim Transcription?

Naturally, you’ll think that intelligent verbatim transcriptions make more sense than true verbatim transcriptions. However, the latter has an important purpose and it is useful in various situations. Let’s get into detail about where true verbatim may apply.

For Source Quotes

You should use a person’s exact words if you are quoting them. Indeed, you can remove non-verbal sounds. However, you must capture the words of the speaker as said exactly to avoid misunderstandings or contextual errors.

For Research Studies and Focus Group Discussions

Non-speech sounds and everything people say in a focus group discussion or qualitative research help you understand how they react. This level of detail gives you insights into how the people feel about the research topic. Let’s say, there are a lot of filler words like “uh” and long pauses before a person answers a question. These details could indicate that the subject is having second thoughts about the topic.

For Legal Statements and Documents

Verbatim transcripts are presented in courts as evidence for examination. After all, the speech details in a recording can significantly affect the final decision on a case. Courts examine filler words, non-speech sounds, and even false starts when determining an outcome of a legal matter.

When Do You Use Intelligent Verbatim Transcription?

verbatim transcription

Intelligent verbatim transcription is widely used in the business setting. When organizations or enterprises hold lectures, training seminars, interviews, or meetings, they are interested in the information that speakers share. Since the overall context is more important to them, they don’t need fillers, repetitions, and false starts in the final transcripts. 

Transcribe with Accuracy

These days, more and more meetings and conferences are held remotely and virtually. Media companies, digital court reporters, and legal agencies need recording transcripts to serve their clients better. No matter what the industry is, professionals handling high-profile customers and sensitive information need to be careful in transcribing recordings.

While there are plenty of digital tools that automate the entire process, nothing can match the level of accuracy that human-generated transcription can achieve. With GoTranscript, you can expect legal-grade, verbatim transcription. Your messages, conversations, and dialogs will be captured exactly as they were spoken.