When Is Verbatim Transcription Of Interviews Needed?

When Is Verbatim Transcription Of Interviews Needed?

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.

4 Rules of Verbatim Transcription and Its Importance in Qualitative Research

4 Rules of Verbatim Transcription and Its Importance in Qualitative Research

Verbatim TranscriptionVerbatim transcription is the art of capturing each verbal sound in an audio recording into a text format. It transfers everything on an audio file exactly the way it is delivered, including the pauses, non-verbal utterances and even silence. Therefore it requires a keen ear and great attention to detail. So seeking the assistance of a general transcription service or online transcription service is the best solution for accurate and efficient verbatim transcription of the recording. Let us consider some important rules to be followed when attempting verbatim transcription.

4 Rules of Verbatim Transcription

  1. Get all the words correct: Paraphrasing statements to convey the general idea instead of typing every word said is not the correct method of verbatim transcription. This method of transcription is acceptable for business transcription but when it comes to researchers and academic analysts, they need to know exactly what is being said and the process of transcription must be congruent with the practical design and theoretical foundation of each investigation.  Therefore it is important to type each and every word accurately.
  2. Do not miss out any non-verbal communication: Communication is not just exchanging of information. It also includes non-verbal communication such as laughter, pauses, hand gestures, etc and verbatim transcription should capture even the false starts, grammatical errors, and repetition of words. This helps the readers of the transcript to receive a true account of the event exactly as spoken. It also conveys the thought process behind the words easily.
  3. Mention the external sounds also: For qualitative researches and market researches a detailed transcript is required of what is happening in the surroundings when the interviewee is speaking. The external sounds may include opening a door, people walking, a side conversation between fellow participants etc. All these external sounds can be duly noted in the transcript with time stamps if required.
  4. Include fillers and false starts: Fillers like “um..,” “ah..,” “you know” etc are often used by speakers when they take time to think. False starts are incomplete sentences spoken by the speaker. Fillers and false starts can break the flow of speaking but it provides insights into the thinking process of a speaker. Verbatim transcription should include all false starts and fillers.

Ideal for Qualitative Research

Verbatim transcription of research data not only attempts to capture the meaning and perception or record the interview, but also records the context in which these were created. Text versions of audio recordings are easy to read and skim through much faster than listening to the audio. Academic researchers and students prefer text versions of qualitative interviews for the following reasons:

  • Easier to code text than multimedia data
  • Majority of the students refer to text-based data, so a text version of qualitative interviews is easier to understand
  • Easy for statistical and automated sentiment analysis.

Accurate verbatim transcription of any interview is essential and immensely helpful for qualitative research. When a number of interviews and other audio recordings are involved that require verbatim transcription, researchers can rely on providers of general transcription services that ensure customized turnaround time and affordable rates.

Uses and Requirements of Verbatim Transcription

Uses and Requirements of Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim TranscriptionThe art of transcription requires a high level of concentration and skill. Transcriptionists need to be able to distinguish between words and other noises in audio recordings in order to produce an accurate transcript in fast turnaround. Many organizations now rely on general transcription service providers to convert audio or video files into verbatim or non-verbatim text format.

In some cases, only a comprehensive summary of the audio would be required, but there are situations where the transcript would have to be a verbatim one and require the capture of each and every word and sound. The verbatim style is useful for legal transcription, including court hearings, police transcription, medical transcription, insurance claims, and employee disciplinary meetings.

Researchers also use the verbatim technique in qualitative studies. For example, it was used by an interview study on perceived stress at transition to workplace related to final-year medical students’ needs which was published by Dove Medical Press in January 2016. Final-year students’ statements regarding burdens and dealing with stress were recorded and classified as:

  • Perceived stressors and provoking factors
  • Stress-induced consequences
  • Personal and external resources for preventing and dealing with stress
  • Students’ suggestions for workplace improvement.

After verbatim transcription, the researchers performed a qualitative content analysis of students’ impressions of stress provoking and easing factors during final-year education.

A verbatim transcript serves as proof of what took place. This is because it captures every word, sound, pause, repetition of words, stammering, etc. It helps in understanding the emotional state and thought process behind the spoken words. The objective is to give the reader an experience of the event as it actually occurred – without being there.

Key Features of Verbatim Transcription

  • Captures every word: A clear non-verbatim transcript captures only the fundamental meaning behind the spoken words, but in case of verbatim transcription, everything a person says faithfully reported.
  • Does not omit non-verbal communication: Non-verbal communication such as laughter, hand gestures, etc, in the recording are captured. This will give a clearer picture of what the respondent was thinking. For instance, transcribing every um, uh, hmm, stutter, false start, noise and sound in your recording could provide better meaning to what the person said.
  • Mentions all false starts and fillers: False stars and filler word break the flow of conversation. These false starts and filler words explain the thought process behind the spoken words.
  • Captures external sounds: Transcribing even external sounds would provide information about the surroundings and atmosphere while the subject is speaking. The external sounds can be mentioned with time stamps.

Affordable general transcription services are available. With a reliable service provider, you are assured of accurate transcription in quick turnaround time. Choosing an experienced transcription company with professionals who is familiar with industry specific terminology is essential for error-free transcripts. Expert transcriptionists can recognize human utterances and ambient noises and transcribe them correctly.

How Verbatim Can Verbatim Transcription Get

How Verbatim Can Verbatim Transcription Get

Verbatim TranscriptionVerbatim transcription is one of the popularly sought after transcription assignments in the legal field.

Transcription isn’t just about words. In the competitive legal environment, transcribing sighs, loud actions and background sounds could be equally important. When the attorney or law firm requires the transcription to be a verbatim one, every sound involved in the communication, interview, deposition and witness statement must be transcribed as well. And that requires a sharp eye for detail and absolute concentration. Actions could speak louder than statements, which is why verbatim transcription is so important in the legal field.

Why Every Bit of Sound Holds Value

Insurance claim litigations could be worth millions of dollars for either the plaintiff or the defendant. That’s why transcribing every bit of conversation, telephonic communication, and interview is so important. The dialog needs to be totally transcribed, and by that we mean every utterance, including sighs, laughter, coughs, sneezes and also aside comments which may seem not to be directly related to the communication taking place. The transcript must also contain colloquialisms, vernacular phrases, accents, pauses, “ums” and “ahs”, and stuttering. This makes the transcribed document original and true to the context and nuance of the recorded content.

Even sounds such as banging on the desk or opening a briefcase would have to be captured to convey the mood of the communication. The reader of the transcript should be transported to the scene – only then could the whole perspective and the context  be revealed and the truth brought to light, since there could be fabricated or forced communication sessions and background sounds such as sighs, laughter, pauses, stuttering and word repetition could sometimes help figure this out.

Audio Quality Vital for Accuracy of Transcripts

Accurate transcripts without the sighs or other sounds are also needed by some law firms and attorneys. This makes the task of transcription easier, particularly when the audio quality of the dictated information or recorded communication session isn’t quite so good. Clients must try their best to ensure the audio quality of the file they send so that the transcription turns out to be really verbatim.

Ultimately it is the client’s preference that decides whether the transcription would be verbatim or not. It depends on the end use of the file. When it is a conference, board meeting or presentation dealt with, regular transcription would usually be more meaningful since there would be no point in capturing every pause, stutter and background noise here.  The same goes for academic transcription where pauses, sneezes, background noises, etc add absolutely no value to the content, since it is the actual content that has value, unlike in legal situations where the manner in which a testimony was provided, a phone call was made, or a deposition conducted holds significant value.

Technology and Experience of Transcribers Matter

Transcription companies offer 99% accuracy of any file, and it depends on:

  • The training and experience of the transcribers
  • The technology used that enables quick transcription without compromising on quality and identifies sounds while isolating unnecessary sounds
  • The quality of the audio file to be transcribed

An experienced legal transcription company can provide accurate verbatim transcription of communications, capturing every nuance and mood, which is just what law firms and attorneys need.

Important Rules for Verbatim Transcription

Important Rules for Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim TranscriptionVerbatim transcription of interviews is often crucial for legal and research purposes. If you are planning to outsource your legal transcription tasks, one decision that has to be made is whether you want verbatim transcription or intelligent verbatim transcription. ‘Verbatim’ involves the conversion of spoken words into text with the objective of conveying the message exactly as it was delivered. This requires more time to complete. Intelligent verbatim excludes all kinds of fillers as well as pauses, coughs, and throat clearing, but leaves the rest of the exactly as it spoken.

Mindless listening and typing will not work for verbatim transcription as it demands a devoted ear and attention to detail. Here are some important rules to be followed while transcribing verbatim.

Include non-verbal communication

Laughter, pauses, hand gestures and similar elements come under non-verbal communication, which is necessary to convey a true picture of what is being said. Such expressions should not be left out in verbatim transcription as its objective itself is to comprehensively convey the actual message.

A: Are you coming with me today?
B: No! [Laughs] Maybe next time

Fillers and false starts should not be omitted

People might use fillers such as ‘you know’, ‘ums’, and ‘ahs’, in between sentences as they take time to think or frame sentences. Sometimes, a person starts speaking and leaves the sentence incomplete. However, the speaker’s thinking process could be correctly judged by observing such fillers and starts and noting them down, which is necessary for verbatim transcripts.

External sounds are to be observed keenly and noted down

In verbatim, background or surrounding noises should be captured properly and noted along with the conversation. This could be a side conversation, or people walking in or opening of doors. These sounds should be mentioned in brackets, and if necessary, along with time stamps.

Paraphrasing is not allowed and every word should be captured

In certain cases, the speaker details an incident with unnecessary repetitions and words highlighting the emotion. The actual message may contain 4 to 5 sentences which could be paraphrased in a short message. The paraphrased version would suffice for intelligent verbatim transcription but when transcribing verbatim everything in the dialogue has to be included to convey actual emotions.

Verbatim Transcription for Field Research Interviews

If you plan to take notes and write down observations during a field research interview conducted for your thesis or dissertation, it won’t work as expected. You will get only a short time if you are interviewing high-profile people / business leaders and even if you get more time with ordinary people, you may miss out many details while concentrating on your notes. Recording the interview using a recording equipment and transcribing it verbatim (word-for-word reproduction of verbal data) is a better idea. Verbatim transcription of research data will not only capture the meaning and perception of the recorded interviews, but also their context.

While transcribing research interviews verbatim, it is very important that there is an exact match between what is recorded and what is transcribed into text. Transcriptionists should pay attention to the following things and transcribe them properly.

  • Response Tokens – This includes “hm”, “ok”, “ah”, “yeah”, “um”, “uh” and “mmh”. They are intentional and researchers use them as verbal probes to extract more information from the interviewee. Research has shown that these kinds of vocalizations can provide insight into the nature of conversation as well as the information content of the conversation.
  • Involuntary Vocalizations – Involuntary noises include sounds such as coughing, burping, sniffing, sneezing, laughing and crying. Background noises are also included in this category. These sounds occurring during the interview can be meaningful or meaningless to the analyst and transcriptionists should listen to the interview carefully to recognize that.
  • Non-verbal Vocalizations – These include actions, activities, and interactions of the interviewee and interviewer. Gesticulations such as pointing, head nodding, thought checking, hand gestures and fidgeting are also included as non-verbal interactions. These types of interactions are mostly relevant while transcribing from a video. Non-verbal interactions can add context and explanation or cause misunderstandings to the researchers with other forms of noise. So, the transcriptionists should be very careful while transcribing these.

Transcriptionists should also pay attention to the pronunciation and irregular grammar during the interview as they provide important insights into the interviewee’s life and meaning-making that adds richness that would otherwise be lost. Getting support from professional and experienced transcriptionists is always good for researchers to make their verbatim transcripts accurate and save valuable time.

Importance of Audio Quality

Audio quality is very essential for accurate verbatim transcription as it may be very difficult for transcriptionists to capture everything said in an interview and interpret it correctly with a noisy recording and here are the major factors that affect the quality.

  • Location – Background noise will affect your audio recording and thereby the accuracy of your transcript. If you are going to board rooms or offices for taking interviews, then your recording won’t be affected too much with background voices and other interruptions. Public places and outdoors, where you have little or no control of noise and interruptions can create problems. Avoid such kind of venues during field research interviews and choose a place where you can control the background noise or interruptions.
  • Recording Equipment – Using quality recording equipment is very essential to ensure good recording. Digital recorders are always better than magnetic tape recorders. However, recording research interviews using iPhone or iPad is a bad idea as they typically provide very low quality output and are designed to capture audio in close proximity. Moreover, a call or SMS will cause interruptions during recording. A laptop with an external microphone is a good option. However, you should make sure that the laptop is placed at least 6 feet away from the microphone. An uncompressed audio format (PCM or AIFF) is best for recording the interview as compressed audio files tend to reduce the quality of the audio.

The above mentioned factors must be taken into consideration before starting the interview and the quality of audio checked before sending the files to the transcriptionist.