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 is between the two options and which form of transcribing best suits your needs.

Try to imagine what it looks like when you put a conversation on paper word for word. A conversation that is written out this way will look strange for those who are accustomed to writing language. This is because in a normal conversation there is a lot of stuttering, repetitions, uuhs, aahs and interjections. Speaking language is therefore different in certain aspects than written language. 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 transcription?

In the case of an edited transcription, only the relevant audio is transcribed into text. In an edited transcription, repetitions, interjections, uuhs, aahs and stutter 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: All right. 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. So this includes all repetitions, interjections, stutter, uhhs and aahs. This is the most comprehensive form of transcribing. This ensures a transcription that is 100% truthful and complete. Often this completeness is import 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: All right, all right. 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 extra things can be deducted. For example it can be deducted if someone is telling the truth. With this form of transcribing, less attention is paid to punctuation.

Which form suits me best?

So there are different ways you can convert speech to text. An edited transcription means that the audio is converted to text without repetition, interjection, stutter, uuhs and aahs. This form of transcribing is relevant to someone when the content of their audio is more relevant than the context. An edited transcription reads more pleasantly than a verbatim transcription. A dialogue in a book is an edited transcription most of the times. A few examples for when an edited transcription can be the best choice:

  • An interview that will get published

  • A meeting whose minutes are written out

  • Notes that you have recorded for yourself and want to write out

A verbatim transcription means that the full audio is converted to text including repetitions, interjections, stutter, uuhs and aahs. This form of transcribing is relevant to someone when 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 a verbatim transcription

  • 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.