Verbatim Transcription

Interviews serve many different purposes. Market researchers use interviews to understand how to sell products. Employers use interviews to vet job candidates. Journalists and reporters interview all types of people from celebrities to people on the street to know their views on various matters or to get information about them. Legal interviewing is used by the lawyer to learn about the client’s problem and to collect sufficient facts to identify appropriate ways to deal with the problem. Law enforcement agencies use interviews to investigate crimes. Regardless of the goal, the content has to be documented for review and analysis, and this has fuelled the demand for efficient audio transcription services.

There are two broad types of interview transcription: non-verbatim and verbatim. In the non-verbatim version, the transcript is “cleaned up” by removing utterances, false starts, repeated words, and so on. In verbatim transcription, each and every word and sound in the audio is captured including non-verbal expressions like “um, uh, mm hmm”, filler words such as “you know”, “I mean”, etc. and repeated words and sentences. Verbatim transcription can be pure verbatim or intelligent verbatim. Let’s take a look at the use cases of verbatim transcription.

  • Insurance Claims Processing: Verbatim transcription is important for insurance claim interviews. The claimant will be made by the claimant will impact the settlement of the claim. When investigating a claim, the recording of the interview and its transcript are considered key evidence. The documentation must be as accurate and detailed as possible. Verbatim transcription can clearly convey the meaning of spoken words including non-verbal sounds, interjections, self-corrections, pauses and redundant terms. The claimant’s expressions of distress and agitation due to a major life changing event can be documented through verbatim transcription. Also, when subrogation professionals need to prepare a claim file for arbitration, having a verbatim transcript as a piece of evidence often adds an add strength and credibility to the case.
  • Documenting Interviews from a Qualitative Research Study: With the growing use of qualitative research methods, the preparation and management of interview transcripts has gained importance. Interview transcripts help researchers make sense of the interviewees’ perceptions and experiences. Qualitative market research interviews are usually transcribed using the full verbatim method. Depending on the context, healthcare research may also require word for word verbatim transcripts.

    After qualitative research interviews are transcribed, they are analyzed to obtain the necessary information. There are various analytical approaches such as grounded theory, thematic analysis, discourse analysis, and interpretive phenomenological analysis. Qualitative data analysis involves listening to the audio, reading the transcripts and categorizing the main ideas, finding connections between the answers of different respondents, coding to identify particular aspects by highlighting keywords, phrases, or sentences in the transcript, developing themes from the codes and documenting how the themes help in understanding the data.
  • Legal Investigations: This is an important case use for verbatim documentation. When documenting an interview or testimony for legal purposes, it is critical to capture spoken words as well non-verbal details, such as pauses, hesitations, or repeated words or phrases and the behavioral nuances of the speaker or speakers. Non-verbal cues can convey the true intent of what was said and implied by the speaker. Scenarios for verbatim legal transcription services include hearings, depositions, legal briefs, arbitrations, court proceedings, wiretaps, police interrogations and witness statements and interviews.
  • Job Interviews: The conduct and responses of job candidates are as important as the words they speak, which makes verbatim transcription an important tool in the hiring process.

Pure Verbatim vs Intelligent Verbatim Transcription

The above-mentioned scenarios call for pure verbatim transcription. Intelligent verbatim transcription is another category where the transcriptionist does a certain amount of editing or filtering to convey the real meaning of what was said. This type of edited verbatim transcription leaves out the ums, errs and repetitions, false starts, stutters and stammers, and fillers. While accepted speech abbreviations like ‘I’ll’, ‘can’t’, ‘won’t’ and so on are retained, contractions in American English like ‘gonna’, ‘gotta’, and ‘wanna’ are changed to ‘going to’, ‘got to’, and ‘want to’. Intelligent verbatim transcription is recommended for focus groups, group discussions, and other professional and academic uses.

A practical way to ease the documentation of interviews is to have an audio transcription service provider handle the audio to text documentation process. An experienced outsourcing transcription company can provide high quality transcripts that will make reviewing and analyzing them easier.