If you need to hire online transcription service or if you want to begin providing these services, you need to understand the difference between verbatim transcription and non-verbatim transcription. Knowing which of the two you need for your project is vital. If you pick the wrong one, it’s possible you’ll miss important information. Even though non-verbatim transcription may include information some people don’t need, it can be absolutely vital to others. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two and the cases in which you might use one over the other.
What Is Verbatim Transcription?
If you’re wondering what is a verbatim transcription, the answer is actually very simple. It is an exact transcript of everything said in a recording. This includes things such as pauses, fillers such as “umm,” laughter, coughing, and any other noise. It even notes when there is the silence that lasts for more than a second or so. Every detail is recorded. It may even include sounds such as doors opening, chairs moving, and background voices that can’t be made out clearly.
In many cases, transcriptionists who create verbatim scripts will include parentheticals to describe different noises in the background and ellipses to show when someone pauses or trails off. They also include any grammar errors, unfinished sentences, stuttering, and any other audible sound. Sometimes, this creates a transcript that isn’t necessarily easy to read but is an absolute accurate document of what occurred.
What is Non-Verbatim Transcription?
Instead of verbatim transcription, you can ask for non-verbatim transcription. This option provides you with a transcript that has been cleaned up. It includes a factual transcript that captures all of the details discussed in the conversation, but it is not word-for-word. Filler words, stuttering, background noises, and other sounds are omitted. For example, if someone said, “I, um, I’m not…not sure,” a non-verbatim transcript would read, “I’m not sure.”
In many cases, how someone said something isn’t important. All the business needs to know is the gist of the conversation, not that someone paused a lot or that there were noises in the background. Note that non-verbatim transcripts should never add words or rewrite sentences. They’re not editing services. Instead, they simply remove utterances, filler words, and other sounds that do not affect the meaning of the sentence.
When Should You Choose Verbatim Transcription Services Over Non-Verbatim?
There are some situations that require verbatim transcripts. If you’re doing transcription for court records or police interviews, you would want to have every utterance and sound recorded. Someone who uses a lot of filler words may be nervous or anxious, and that can put a completely different spin on what they’re saying. It can even indicate when someone is lying, which is vital information to attorneys and police officers. Those filler words and other phrases that might be left out can also indicate when a person isn’t sure of what they’re saying. When looking for transcription services online, make sure they understand when you need true verbatim transcription. Otherwise, your transcript may not have all of these details. Court transcriptionists always record verbatim what is said by witnesses, the judge, and other members of the court.
On the other hand, if you simply need a transcript of a speech, business discussion, or other presentation and don’t care about how something was said, a non-verbatim transcription is often all you need. These documents are much easier to read, so you can understand what was said without reading through all the pauses and other confusing dialogue. Most people who need transcriptions are looking for this option.
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