Verbatim Transcription Explained

24 May 2020
GoTranscript Blog Verbatim Transcription Explained

In transcription, the term "verbatim" refers to a transcript that captures every single word from an audio or video file and incorporates it into text. This includes filler words, false starts, grammatical errors, and other verbal cues that give the context of the recording. Usually, it takes transcribers much longer to transcribe these types of transcripts because they must type everything that they hear. This explains why a verbatim transcription often costs more.

What does Verbatim Transcription mean?

While transcription companies have diverse style guides, most offer a 'full' verbatim transcript, as described above, and a cleaner style, which makes the transcript more readable. GoTranscript has numerous samples of their transcript styles to give potential clients a better insight into the transcript style they would like.

What is Full Verbatim?

The text is transcribed exactly as it sounds. So if you’re wondering what does transcribed verbatim mean, then you’re in the right place to learn more. It means that the transcript will include:

  • False starts: "I wanted to, uh-- I dreamed of becoming an airplane pilot."
  • Speech errors: "I went to the mall on Tues-- no, Thursday."
  • Filler words: "You know, when people sort of, you know, talk like this." 
  • Slang words: "I kinda wanna go."
  • Repetitions: "I'm going- I'm going to the store."
  • Stutters: "I-I don't- I don't think they're coming."

Full verbatim still only includes these forms of affirmative/negative responses: 

  • Mm-hmm, Mm (affirmative) or Mm-mm (negative)
  • Uh-huh (affirmative) or Uh-uh (negative)

GoTranscript has samples of full verbatim transcripts available, so you can make sure this is the type of transcript you're looking for.

What is Clean Verbatim?

This variant makes the transcribed text a lot more concise and easier to read by removing:

  • Speech errors
  • False starts (if they do not add any significant information)
  • Stutters
  • Repetitions (unless for emphasis)
  • Filler words - depending on the context: The "you know" in "You know what I mean?" would be kept, but would be removed in, "I'd like it if, you know, you'd talk to me."
  • Slang words: "Gonna" becomes "Going to"; all forms of saying "yes" ("yeah," "yup") are written as "yes"; "alright" becomes "all right" and "Okay" is always "Okay," never "Ok" or "OK."

Anything that detracts from the core message of a transcript and does not add any relevant information is removed. These types of transcripts tend to be the most common. GoTranscript also has clean verbatim samples you can view if you think this is more the style you'd prefer.

What Does Full Verbatim Mean and When Is It Useful?

While clean verbatim flows better and is overall more readable, full verbatim provides context to the transcript, particularly through non-speech sounds (affirmative and negative). This is very common in group interviews, focus groups, legal transcription, and meetings. Verbal cues may not seem that important, but they can be pretty useful when transcribing interviews with potential criminals/suspects as they can be indicators of a person's demeanor.

Full verbatim transcripts definitely should be used when you are:

  • Directly stating/quoting a source
  • Conducting a focus group
  • Forming a transcript of interviews from a research study
  • Preparing legal documents
  • Delivering official statements, such as legal ones

Which Type of Transcript Should I Use?

While this may not seem that big of a deal at first, hopefully reading this has changed your mind! Depending on the type of transcript a customer asks for, there will definitely be some variation in the level of detail provided by the transcriptionist, as well as fluctuation in format. You may want timestamps in your transcription, rush delivery, etc. It's important to bear in mind the context of the audio you wish to transcribe before you decide on the type of transcript you want. This should be your primary focus before choosing any add-ons, as one style of transcription will support one type of project, such as an interview, better than another style.

Final Thoughts

GoTranscript has been in business for over 15 years, so you can be sure that with their services, your audio is handled with quality and security in mind. They have a team of over 20,000 experienced transcribers from all over the globe, so you don't need to worry about your audio or video containing heavy accents or foreign languages, either. Still not convinced? GoTranscript also has thousands of satisfied customers, including BBC and Netflix. If you're looking to receive a top-quality transcript at a competitive rate, with 99% or higher accuracy and secure payment, look no further. Sign up today and get your first minutes transcribed for free!