What Does Clean Verbatim Transcription Mean?

If you’ve had audio or video files transcribed in the past, you probably found out that not all transcriptions are equal. How do you know if you’ll be reading through transcripts filled with stutters and “yeahs” when you just want to get to the heart of what the speaker is saying? Or, on the other hand, what if you need a word-for-word dictation and want to make sure that every single “uh huh” has been recorded? The key to getting exactly what you want out of your transcription is knowing the difference between the two main types of transcription: clean verbatim transcription and regular verbatim transcription.





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What does clean verbatim transcription mean?

Clean verbatim transcription means that your audio or video files have been lightly edited for easy readability. It’s still a precise transcript of what has been recorded except that all of the extra distractions have been removed. There is never any paraphrasing; clean verbatim transcription is exactly what has been said, but cleaned up for clarity.

Examples of what is removed from clean verbatim transcriptions:

  • Stuttering
  • Filler words like “um” and “like”
  • “Yeah,”  “uh huh”  and other interjections from other speakers
  • Throat clearing and coughs
  • Run-on sentences
  • False starts
  • Unintentional word repetition
  • Background noise and speaking

What does regular verbatim transcription mean?

Regular verbatim transcription, also known as full or true verbatim transcription, means that every single word spoken on your audio file is written down word for word. This includes filler words like “you know” and “like”, false starts, stuttering, slang words, agreements and interjections from other speakers like “uh huh” and “yeah,” throat clearing and run-on sentences. There is never any editorializing, just a precise document of everything heard on your audio or video file.

Comparing regular and clean verbatim transcription

Simply put, clean verbatim transcription presents what has been said to the reader while regular verbatim transcription not only presents what has been said, but also how it has been said, complete with ums, false starts, and background noise included.

An example of regular verbatim transcription

This text would be transcribed exactly as it was heard on the audio or video file:

“I, um, really like making br-breakfast. Like, eggs? Yeah, eggs are good, well… but, pancakes are better.”

An example of clean verbatim transcription

Below is how that same text would be captured using clean verbatim transcription:

“I really like making breakfast. Eggs are good but pancakes are better.”

Both types of transcription are very useful depending on your use case. For printed interviews and legal documents, you need to have a full record of everything said. Providing closed captioning for videos also requires word for word transcription including background noises. In those cases, you would use regular verbatim transcription.

For meeting notes, conferences, focus groups and classes, clean verbatim transcription would be a better choice. With these, the text does not need to be an exact record of every sound. Instead, when someone reads the transcript the goal is that they will be able to simply and easily understand what was said.

So which type of transcription is right for you?

Think about what you’ll be using the transcription for and then decide which type of transcription best fits your needs. Unless you need a word-for-word transcription, you should probably use clean verbatim transcription. Regardless of your needs, Rev is your best bet for fast, accurate transcripts. Learn more about our transcription services and decide which option is the right for you!