Types of Transcription

Not all transcriptions are the same. There are three main types of transcription. If you’re applying for transcription jobs, it’s critical to know the differences and which one you’re being asked to provide.

Here, we are going to talk you through the three most commonly used types of transcription: Verbatim, Edited, and Intelligent. We’ll explain the basic fundamentals of all three and consider the scenarios in which each different type might be most suitable or useful.

Types of Transcription

Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim provides the most detail of the three transcription types of transcription listed in this article. Verbatim transcription captures a word-for-word account of the audio including repetitions, false starts, and interjections. This kind of transcription will also include any non-verbal components such as descriptions of any background noises, sighs, coughs, and descriptions of the speaker’s overt emotional state, for example, ‘laughing’ or ‘crying’.

A verbatim transcript will capture all audio components that are conveyed. It is super useful in certain situations because of the context it provides, creating a clear picture of the entire scenario. This type of transcription is typically used in legal proceedings, market research, psychological analyses, and any other situations where high accuracy and reliability are required.

However, due to the high levels of detail provided within a verbatim transcription, it is also generally the most complicated type of transcription file to devise and decipher. So, it might not always be the best or most time-effective option if this level of detail and context is not required.

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Example of Verbatim Transcription

Original Audio: Hello Ladies and Gentleman [applause]. Thank you for attending this event [pause]. I uh [pause] I am very pleased to be here [cough]. Please take your seats (door closing). Please take your seats and we will [pause] we will begin.

Transcription: Hello Ladies and Gentleman [applause]. Thank you for attending this event [pause]. I uh [pause] I am very pleased to be here [cough]. Please take your seats (door closing). Please take your seats and we will [pause] we will begin.

As you can see, the transcript is exactly the same as the original audio, capturing every sound and word exactly as it is heard.

When to Use Verbatim Transcription

  • Legal proceedings
  • Market Research
  • Police Investigations
  • Psychological Analysis or Research
  • Data Analysis
  • Academic Research

Edited Transcription

Unlike Verbatim Transcription, Edited Transcription removes any unnecessary or interjectory sounds such as unrelated background noises, stuttering, false starts, coughing, breathing, or anything else that does not contribute to the relevant content of the audio.

When using edited transcription, the transcriber is required to have a better understanding of what is being said and the meaning of the discussion taking place. This is to ensure that no relevant points or sounds are removed from the transcription, potentially altering the meaning or context of the audio.

Edited transcription is a lot easier to read and understand as there are no interjections or interruptions to the main body of text. This means it might not be suitable in settings that require high levels of reliability, so it’s less likely to be used in legal or research settings. 

Example of Edited Transcription

Original Audio: Hello Ladies and Gentleman [applause]. Thank you for attending this event [pause]. I uh [pause] I am very pleased to be here [cough]. Please take your seats (door closing). Please take your seats and we will [pause] we will begin.

Transcription: Hello Ladies and Gentleman… Thank you for attending this event. I am very pleased to be here. Please take your seats. Please take your seats and we will begin.

The background noises, false starts, and filler sounds such as ‘uh’ have been removed here but the body of text remains very much the same.

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When to Use Edited Transcription

  • Conferences
  • Speeches
  • Meetings
  • Seminars
  • Interviews
  • Some Audio Description

Intelligent Transcription

Intelligent transcription is even more refined than edited transcription. Within an intelligent transcript, any deviations from the main body of spoken text are removed. This means any pauses, repetitions, interjections, and background noises are removed, leaving only the most relevant parts of the audio.

Again, this requires a skilled transcriber who can accurately understand the meaning of the audio so that this can be conveyed precisely within the transcript. Intelligent transcription may sometimes involve some basic paraphrasing to clarify the meaning of what was said and to transcribe the audio concisely. Edits can also be made to improve grammatical correctness and make the text more readable and easy to understand.

This is the easiest form of transcription to read and understand but it is not without its limitations. Because this type of transcription is heavily reliant on the understanding of the transcriber, it is by far the most susceptible to reliability or bias issues. This makes it unsuitable for use in lots of settings, but for less formal scenarios, this can be a very useful form of transcription.

Example of Intelligent Transcription

Original Audio: Hello Ladies and Gentleman [applause]. Thank you for attending this event [pause]. I uh [pause] I am very pleased to be here [cough]. Please take your seats (door closing). Please take your seats and we will [pause] we will begin.

Transcription: Hello Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for attending this event. I am very pleased to be here. Please take your seats and we will begin.

Here, any filler words, false starts, and repetitions have been removed, leaving only a clear and concise body of text that is easy to read and understand.

When to Use Intelligent Transcription

  • Interviews or speeches for journalistic publication
  • Business Communications
  • Some Audio Description

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So Which Type of Transcription is the Best?

This will depend entirely on the scenario and what you intend to use the transcript for. Each type of transcription has its unique uses and limitations and calls upon a specific set of skills.

In general, if you are looking for a transcript that is super reliable and rich in contextual information, go for verbatim transcription. If the transcript doesn’t need to be so detailed or precise, edited or intelligent transcription should be suitable. 

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