Verbatim Or Non-Verbatim Transcription: Which Should You Choose?

Do you want to outsource transcription, but are unsure if you should opt for verbatim or non-verbatim transcription? If yes, read this informative article to find out the differences between the two and which you should choose.

If you are looking for transcription for your business, it is important to consider what type of transcription services you will need. You may think that obtaining a complete, unabridged account of exactly what was spoken in a meeting, seminar or lecture may be what you think, but it may not occur to you what such a transcript would actually look like.

Let us explore the differences between verbatim and non-verbatim transcription, so you can choose the one most suited for your needs:

Verbatim transcription

In verbatim transcription, everything on your audio file will be transcribed exactly the way it was delivered, including the pauses and other non-verbal utterances (known as fillers) like laughter, “umm”, laughter, throat clearing and even bouts of silence.

A transcriptionist working on a verbatim transcript will take down each and every detail he/she hears in the audio recording. While fillers will be spelled out, ambient noises like background noises or doors opening and closing will be described in the parentheses. Many a time, different punctuation styles will be used to convey a vocal inflection or a tone of voice. For instance, an ellipse will be used to show a false start (a sentence that a speaker begins, but does not complete) or a pause. Where there is more than one speaker in the audio file, the verbatim transcript will also indicate the segments in which there is an overlap in voices.

During verbatim transcription, everything a person says will be faithfully copied, which means any repetition, false starts or grammatical errors will be transcribed without making it correct, concise or complete. Wandering or unclear thoughts that are spoken will remain wandering and unclear. The aim is to give the reader a true account of the event, exactly as it took place, often giving the transcript a realistic feeling. Verbatim transcription can prove to be useful when documenting an interview or a testimony for legal reasons, as the thought process behind the words spoken will be implied through verbal cues like repeated words/phrases or awkward hesitations.

Non-verbatim transcription

If you are a business looking for the transcription of a meeting or an educator who wishes to provide students with a written copy of your lecture, you may not want every “you know” or “hmm” included in the transcript. In such cases, a non-verbatim transcript or a “clean-read” transcript is more likely to be helpful. In a clean transcript, filers, false starts and repetition will be removed to offer your users with a more reader-friendly and clearer account.

A transcriptionist working on a clean transcript will capture the fundamental meaning spoken behind statements but will not type them exactly as it was spoken. Grammatical repetition that naturally occurs in most people’s speech patters will be removed. With a clean transcript at hand, you can quickly use it as a marketing piece or even publish it online, without worrying, as no further editing will be required. The type of transcription you will require will depend on what you plan to do with the completed document once you receive it.

For instance if you want to compress and share information spoken at a meeting or a seminar with employees/attendees, you may want a clean transcript. This way, your target audience can easily read through the transcript for a quick understanding of the key messages. However, if you are performing research or recording interviews, a verbatim transcription can give you a better sense of the emotional state of the speaker as well as the subtext behind which the words were used.

Verbatim or non-verbatim transcription?

Now that you understand the differences between a non-verbatim transcript and a verbatim transcript, you can quickly choose the one you need. Through outsourcing, you can avail a wide range of transcription services to suit your every need. At Outsource2india, we offer all types of transcription, be it audio transcription, video transcription, business transcription and legal transcription amongst others. We are flexible to work with a large variety of formats and can customize our transcription services to meet your unique needs. Our 18488+ happy customers can vouch for our high quality and fast turnaround time. Why not get started with outsourcing audio transcription? We will be delighted to work with you!

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