Types of Transcription

Transcription is the process of systematically mapping or representing speech in a written form. It is often used in meetings where a written format is required, but is also useful when classifying or recording colloquial dialects, translating spoken words into another language for an external party to read, for legal hearings and court sessions, or for health services and local authorities where minority groups would otherwise be unable to access services.

While the uses for transcription are varied, there are only two main types of transcription – Verbatim Transcription (or, Straight Transcription) and Non-verbatim Transcription (or, Edited Transcription).

This blog will explore both types, giving examples and methods used so that the process is thoroughly understood.


Verbatim Transcription

This is the most in-depth and time consuming type of transcription.

In this case, every single sound, utterance, and word is written down – exactly as it is spoken.

It is the type of transcription used when creating a written format of local dialects as it includes all nuances, tones, and emotions that are verbalised.

Verbatim transcription, also known as straight transcription, is useful for documenting legal proceedings, creating subtitles for movies and adverts, or when an exact reproduction of the spoken word is desired.

This type of transcription is written as it is spoken and is therefore, not translated into another language.


Non-Verbatim Transcription

Also known as Edited Transcription, this type of transcription is used when some parts of the audio or video file are unnecessary.

For example, when transcribing from a conference the transcriber can leave out impractical/unnecessary sounds such as, laughter, polite conversations that are irrelevant to main topic of discussion, and any background noise or speech.

The transcriber’s job is to listen carefully to the file and select only the relevant information in order to complete an edited version of the original sound file. They will clean up the original so that it is a straight-forward representation of the original.

This type of transcription is sometimes known as Intelligent Transcription as the end result is an intelligent document that reads in a straight-forward manner.

It requires a highly-skilled transcriber in order to create an ‘intelligent’ document which must convey the meaning of the original file without all the unnecessary parts.

Non-verbatim transcription can also be subject to translation.

For example, a client may require an English version of minutes from a meeting which was conducted in Arabic.
The transcriber in this instance would either, transcribe the original file, then translate it so there are in effect two copies (one in the source language and another in the target language). Or, the transcriber can simply transcribe direct from the source into the new language thus giving just one transcription document.

Selecting the right type of transcription for your needs can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with aspects such as, specific legal requirements, so it is worth seeking advice from a professional transcription provider if you are unsure.


At Creative Word we can offer transcription services separately, or alongside our translation services in multiple languages through our expert linguists.

We can work with the following types of files:

Video transcription (VHS)
Cassette transcription
Microcassette/mini m cassette Transcription
Wav transcription
Minidisc transcription
Interview transcription
MP3 transcription
Conference transcription
CD transcription
Focus group transcription
DVD transcription
Windows Media Player transcription

We also offer translation in over 80 languages from around the globe including Arabic, English, German, Chinese, Urdu, Russian and many more.

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