3 Golden Rules for Flawless Verbatim Transcription

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Rules for Verbatim Transcription

Transcription is a skill to pick up spoken words and convert it into text in the very same manner as it has been spoken. The main idea of verbatim transcription is to note down the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ of any speech. Therefore, it is important to understand the words and not just mindlessly listen and type it!

A sharp ear and undivided attention to fine details – These are the only requirement to master the art called verbatim transcription! The last few years have witnessed a tremendous rise in this service; there are numerous companies that have mushroomed.

This has resulted into a huge pool to make choices; nevertheless, sometimes, the outcome is far below the standards; reason can be many! However, transcriptionists sometimes don’t follow some basic rules.

Well, there is no prescribed rule book for getting a flawless and quality transcription; but there are few aspects that you need to take care to get that perfect sound, tone, word as well as use the punctuation smartly to pass on the right message.

This Write-up Brings Up Some of The Essentials of Verbatim Transcription:

1. Paraphrasing is a Cardinal Sin!

Paraphrasing may be a right approach for business transcription; but when it comes to Interview Data Transcription or for researchers, it does not go well with it.

There may be transcriptionists who paraphrase or rephrase the statements just to convey a general idea rather than using the exact words. So, a very basic thing one should remember for an outstanding verbatim transcription is to stick to the actual words, rather than rephrasing or revamping.

2. Never miss the non-verbal communication

Communication is not just words! – It involves a lot of components other than words – like laughter, some pauses, and even hand gestures, etc. A good verbatim transcriptionist captures all these just to give a true and exact account of what’s being said.

Let’s take an example,

A: What does your father think about your decision?
N: He is pretty fine… Though, not happy. Yeah.
A: Oh, Is It?! [Laughs] Are your sure?!
N: I think so! [N laughs]

Here, the words are captured as it is, along with the non-verbal communication like laughter.

3. Don’t miss out the fillers and the false starts

Fillers are the “ums”, “huhs” “ahas”, “you knows”, which are often used by speakers to take some time to think.And the False starts are those sentences which star tbut are not completed, like:“I would say that’s not such a… I mean that may not be… ”

These fillers and false starts usually breaks the flow of conversation; though it provide insights into the thoughts of the speaker. Hence, the process of verbatim should ideally include these components as well, rather than editing them out.

Verbatim transcription is an art which needs to be mastered! It comes with time and practice, along with keeping the above rules in mind.