Let’s see the different types of transcription ‒‒ edited, verbatim, intelligent, and phonetic. Both have positives and negatives. Choose the type of transcription as per the purpose of transcribing content. The Deaf and hard of hearing community will be able to read the transcripted text and you need to make sure they are not alienated from understanding what you offer.
Edited transcription is where the complete, accurate script is formalized and edited for readability, conciseness, and clarity. It removes grammatical mistakes, slang, and incomplete sentences. When transcribing from written materials, edited transcription also corrects spelling and punctuation and can make the spoken words sound more formal.
Unedited: “My mama told us—me and my brother and sis, ‘Y’all shouldn’t complain about having to eat your veggies at suppertime.’”
Edited: “My mother told me and my siblings not to complain about having to eat vegetables at dinner.”
Verbatim transcription is the written form of spoken language from Video and audio files. Capturing every sound made, it can include throat clearing and verbal pauses such as “ah,” “um,” and “uh.” Even laughter and noises such as phone ringing or a door slamming are written. It should be followed if the audio or video is produced in legal settings.
In Non -verbatim transcription, noises such as laughter and background noises, verbal pauses, and throat clearing are avoided and also clean up incomplete sentences.
Verbatim: “I ah saw the erred (snickering) pickup truck hit the uh (6-second silent pause) pedestrian.”
Non-verbatim: “I saw the red pickup truck hit the pedestrian.”
Now, which one of the above transcriptions would you prefer?
Or following is another example of verbatim and non-verbatim transcription of a CEO on the annual report, the audio includes some coughing and throat clearing due to a cold. The example will show how verbatim transcription is the best choice.
Verbatim: “We not only beat our fourth-quarter (sniffing, clears throat) earnings projections but exceeded our projections for the first three quarters (cough) as well.”
Non-verbatim: “We not only beat our fourth-quarter earnings projections but exceeded our projections for the first three quarters as well.”
Intelligent verbatim transcription
Intelligent verbatim transcription edits distracting noises and repetitions from the spoken word. The aim is to provide a more concise, readable transcript while not diverting from the participants’ voices and intended meaning. Following are the corrections made with intelligent verbatim transcription:
Filler words: Unnecessary words such as “you know,” “yeah,” “like,” and “hey” are removed.
Non-standard words: In these instances, the transcriptionist removes or corrects nonexistent words such as ain’t, irregardless, dunno, and supposably.
Repeating words or sentences: Stammering and words repeated unintentionally are edited during intelligent verbatim transcription. So are repeated sentences with the same meaning.
Long, run-on sentences and ramblings: If there are long sentences, it is reframed into short sentences to convey the same information in a more readable way.
Irrelevant or off-topic sentences or conversations: Sometimes people may deviate from the subject topic for a moment or make remarks not suitable while speaking. Intelligent verbatim translation cleans this up.
Removes pauses, coughing, and general noises: Anything irrelevant to the topic or that interferes with the voice of the person speaking can be avoided, including nonverbal and verbal pauses, background noises and coughing or sniffling.
Phonetic transcription notes the way spoken words are pronounced using phonetic symbols.
Although the English language has 26 letters in the alphabet, there are around 44 unique sounds called phonemes. A phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that can make one word different from another. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a standardized representation of speech sounds in a written form it applies to all languages. For example, the word dish has four letters, but IPA represents this as three sounds: diʃ, where ‘ʃ’ stands for the ‘sh’ sound.
Why would you use phonetic transcription? It’s because a word changes in pronunciation over time. For instance, a word ‘quandary’ is used in a period movie that is not spoken in modern English. Then a phonetic transcription of ‘quandary’ would be appropriate because in the movie the second syllable is stressed whereas the first syllable is emphasized today. Another reason to use phonetic transcription is the difference in dialects. There are four different dialects in the United States. Let us take the word caramel as an example, the second “a” tends to get dropped as a vowel once you’re west of the Ohio River. Using phonetic transcription the word will retain the dialect as spoken.