Do you want to have an audio file transcribed? You will probably be offered a choice between an edited transcription and a verbatim transcription. Below is explained what transcribing means, the difference between the two options and which form of transcribing best suits your needs.

Try to imagine what it looks like if you put a conversation on paper word for word. A conversation that is written out this way will look strange for those who are used to normal written language. This is because in a normal conversation there is a lot of stuttering, repetitions and interjections. Therefore, speaking language is different to written language in certain aspects. This is also where the difference lies between an edited transcription and a verbatim transcription.

But what is a transcription?

The definition of transcribing is: “Recording something spoken or played by writing it down.”

Source: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/transcribe?q=transcribing

What is an 'edited' or 'clean' transcription?

In the case of an edited transcription, only the relevant audio is transcribed into text. In an edited transcription repetitions, interjections and stutters are removed. This ensures that your transcription is easy to read.

An example of an edited transcription:

Interviewer: How old are you?

Interviewee: I am 30 years old.

Interviewer: Alright. And where are you living at the moment?

Interviewee: I currently live in London.

What is a 'verbatim' transcription?

A verbatim transcription is a transcription where everything is literally transcribed word for word. This includes all repetitions, interjections and stutters. It is the most comprehensive form of transcribing and ensures a transcription that is 100% truthful and complete. Often this completeness is important because the context needs to be (legally) comprehensible.

An example of a verbatim transcription:

Interviewer: How old are you?

Interviewee: Uuh, I am 30 years old.

Interviewer: Alright, alright. And uuuhm where are you living at the moment?

Interviewee: I cu-currently live in uuh L-London.

The advantage of a verbatim transcription is that the context is also exposed. From this context additional information can be deducted. It can for example be analysed if someone is telling the truth. With this form of transcribing, less attention is paid to punctuation.

Which form suits me best?

There are different ways you can convert speech to text. An edited transcription means that the audio is converted to text without repetition, interjection and stutters. This form of transcribing is relevant to someone if the content of their audio is more relevant than the context. An edited transcription reads more pleasantly than a verbatim transcription. Incidentally, dialogues in books are also edited transcriptions most of the time. A few examples for when an edited transcription can be the best choice:

  • An interview that will get published
  • A meeting for which a protocol has to be written
  • Notes that you recorded for yourself and want to write out

A verbatim transcription means that the full audio is converted to text including repetitions, interjections and stutters. This form of transcribing is relevant for someone if the context is just as important as the content. A verbatim transcription is less pleasant to read than an edited transcription. It does, however, include all the information. A few examples for when a verbatim transcription can be the best choice:

  • A market research, where it is important for the researcher to know if the interviewee is telling the truth
  • In the legal environment where it is extremely important in what context the speakers tells something. The court often requires verbatim transcriptions
  • An interview where the emotions of the interviewee are important
  • A data analysis via for example atlas.ti where the context is important

AmberScript’s automatic transcription software generates verbatim transcriptions. Our software transcribes all audio to text, this includes all repetitions, stutter, uuhs, aahs and interjections. This is the most comprehensive form of transcribing. When you still need a verbatim transcription, you can adjust it later in the editor manually. You can also have the transcription adjusted by us. Even people who need an edited transcription can save a lot of time using AmberScript.

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