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3 Jul 2019   Last updated 27 May 2021

What does Verbatim mean?

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Manual transcription

Do you want to have an audio file transcribed? You will probably be offered a choice between verbatim and edited (clean) transcription. Below is explained what verbatim transcription means and the difference between the three different options between verbatim transcription. This guide will also assist you in deciding which form of transcription best suits your needs.

Try to imagine what it would look like if you put a conversation on paper word for word. A conversation that is written out this way looks strange for those who are used to normal written language. This is because during a conversation speakers often stutter and repeat words. Therefore, speaking language is very different from the written language in certain aspects. This is also where the difference lies between verbatim transcription and edited or clean transcription.

First thing first – What is the Verbatim meaning?

A verbatim transcript captures every single spoken word in the recording and puts it into text. This means that it will include all false starts, grammatical errors, interjections, and stutters. It is the most comprehensive form of transcribing and ensures a transcription that is 100% faithful and complete. These verbal cues provide insightful information about the recording and give a sense of the scenario in which the conversation took place. The advantage of a verbatim transcription is that the context is also exposed. From this context, additional information can be deducted.

What’s the difference between verbatim transcription and edited (clean)?

There are two main types of transcription: 

Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim means that the transcriptionist will type out each and every word heard in the audio file. This includes false starts, self-corrections, filler words, grammatical errors, interjections, and signs of active listening, repetitions, and stutters.

Edited or Clean transcription

An edited transcription is instead a form of edited transcription in which the transcriptionist cleans up stammers and repetitions, corrects grammatical errors and ensures that the core message of what is being said in the conversation is clear. In this case, the transcriptionist’s objective is not only to report the dialogue but also to ensure the transcript is flowing and easy to read. A clear transcription reads more pleasantly than a verbatim transcription. Incidentally, dialogues in books are also edited transcriptions most of the time.

Here’s how two sentences would be transcribed in non-verbatim and verbatim form:

Example 1

Clean: I saw Josh yesterday. He seemed really tired, he must have been working very hard lately.

Verbatim: And so, I saw Josh yesterday and ehm… he seemed, like, really tired. Uhm, he must, like, he must have been working very hard or I don’t know…Yeah, I guess.

Example 2

Clean: I think she just left to go grocery shopping.

Verbatim: Oh well, you know, I guess… I think she uhm, she left to go grocery shopping.

Does it suit my needs?

Verbatim transcripts allow the reader to deduce the context of the conversation from the transcribed text. Because verbatim transcription also includes non-speech sounds like “mm-hmm (affirmative)” or “mm-mm (negative)”.

A few examples for when a verbatim transcription can be the best choice:

Market research, where it is important for the researcher to know if the interviewee is telling the truth and to capture as many verbal and non-verbal cues as possible.

In the legal environment where it is extremely important in what context the speaker tells something. The court often requires verbatim transcriptions.

A focus group interview where the emotions of the interviewee play an important role.

The automatic transcription service provided by Amberscript generates verbatim transcriptions. Our software transcribes all audio to text, this includes all repetitions, stutters, and interjections.

In the manual transcription services, you can choose between the two types of transcriptions.

Learn more about Amberscript’s transcription services and choose the option that most suits your needs.

Our services allow you to create text and subtitles from audio or video.
  • Upload audio or video file
  • Automatic or manual speech to text
  • Edit and export text or subtitles