Interview Transcription – Verbatim vs. Non-Verbatim

Interview TranscriptionWhile hiring a transcription service, it is important to consider what type of transcription you need. Transcription can be verbatim or non-verbatim. Verbatim transcription is the process of converting all that you hear in your audio or video file into written format. On the other hand, non-verbatim transcription is a clean readable text that contains the essential meaning behind spoken statements. In the case of interview transcription, you can choose the type of transcription based on your need for the document and personal preferences.

Interview transcription is important for research purposes because data in the form of text is much easier to collate. You may need transcripts of interviews conducted for legal purposes, business interviews, interviews with politicians or other famous personalities and so on. Professional transcription of interviews ensures accuracy of the content and eliminates misinterpretation of the data.

What Is Verbatim Transcription?

Typically, verbatim transcription is where every word and non-verbal utterance is transcribed into text format. This means that any grammatical errors, repetition or false starts are delivered without correcting them. In a true verbatim transcription, everything a person says is transcribed faithfully.

A verbatim transcription becomes necessary depending upon the nature of the interview. This type of transcription is mainly used by mental health professionals, law firms etc. For example, some courts use verbatim transcription for their official court records. This is because the thought process behind the words is often implicit in verbal signs such as hesitations, or repeated words or phrases.

Interviews conducted for research purposes should ideally be transcribed verbatim if necessary depending on the purpose of research. Expressions such as um, uh, ok, ah mmh and so on may be intentional and researchers may use these as verbal probes to extract more information from the interviewee. Then there are sounds such as coughing, sniffing, laughing, crying and background noises such as sirens, phone ringing and dogs barking, which can be meaningful or meaningless to the analyst. While the above mentioned are verbal sounds, there can be non-verbal communication such as hand gestures, fidgeting, nodding the head, pointing and so on, which become more relevant when transcribing from a video. Another feature that is significant and needs to be transcribed verbatim is the interviewee’s pronunciation and irregular grammar that may offer important insights about him/her.

Verbatim transcription becomes important in cases where how something is said is as important as what is being said.

Non- verbatim Transcription

Businesses looking for transcriptions of seminars, meetings, or lectures opt for non-verbatim transcription. Non-verbatim transcription is more reader friendly and eliminates all repetitions, false starts and other non-verbal utterances. In this case, transcriptionists do not type the words as spoken. They remove fillers or repetitions that occur during people’s speech patterns and also paraphrase statements so that it conveys the same idea but with more clarity. So if you are looking for a succinct and clean text that facilitates reading and understanding, go for non-verbatim transcription.

Reliable transcription services can offer convenient and easy-to-use transcripts at reasonable rates. Transcriptions are extremely helpful but the process can be very time consuming when you need to transcribe large volume of files. This can be effectively met by utilizing interview transcription services.

About Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal

Prior to joining MOS, he worked as a physical therapist. Having worked in several rehabilitation clinics, Rajeev has learned the importance of good medical records for medical billing and liability issues and the importance of the good back and front office support. He has extensive knowledge in SEO, medical billing and coding, and medical transcription.