The Importance of Strict Verbatim Transcription
Often referred to as ‘true verbatim’, ‘full verbatim’ or ‘strict verbatim’, this is a transcript that transfers to the spoken word, exactly how it is heard into text, word-for-word. A strict verbatim transcription includes every word, sound and utterance that is recorded; including pauses, coughs, laughter and any and all filler words such as “um”.
In stark contrast, intelligent verbatim or ‘non verbatim’ focuses on capturing the meaning of what is being said, rather than how it is being said. Intelligent verbatim transcripts will omit or simply adjust non-verbal sounds such as throat clearing and stuttering, repeated words and any other irrelevant material.
Here are some of the reasons why strict verbatim transcription is necessary.
Although not all medical files require true verbatim transcription, in a field where accuracy could quite literally mean the difference between life and death, in many cases capturing every word of what is being said is critically important. Strict verbatim transcriptions are required when transcribing medical notes following a patient appointment, consultation or surgery, for test results, pathology, post-mortems and many other medical functions.
The complex jargon used by medical professionals is unlike any other business lexicon or legal jargon that can be found in other transcriptions. Medical transcriptions can contain a combination of Greek and Latin prefixes, suffixes and root words, laboratory figures as well as complex specialist medical terms. Inaccuracy, missing a comma or omitting a full stop could completely change the meaning of what is being said, and that could then change a patient’s diagnosis with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Group Discussion & Interview Transcription
Communication is so much more than just verbal; and this is precisely why strict verbatim transcription is so useful for group discussion, market research and interview transcripts. When recording a group discussion or interview for market research purposes, it is important to capture every word, sound and nuance in order to gain a clear picture of the participant’s feelings towards your chosen product, statement or topic. False starts, filler words and long, drawn-out pauses are non-traditional indicators that can offer an invaluable insight into the thought processes and feelings of those involved. These non-verbal cues assist the user in understanding the meaning, perception and context to further clarify the words that have been spoken.
In 99.9% of cases, legal transcription should be completed in strict verbatim; when transcribing court documents, police interviews and legal documents it is critically important for transcribers to capture every single sound, verbal or not, in order to provide a full and true transcript of the audio or video file. Failing to include every sound in such transcripts can have serious repercussions.
Legal transcripts must:
- Include all grammar (good and bad)
Matters relating to the law require that all information is recorded accurately and presented in the correct fashion in order to paint a convincing, accurate and comprehensive picture of the situation.
- Include any filler words
Similar to non-verbal communication and background noise, filler words can provide a plethora of additional information to those involved and can be critical in establishing facts, determining liability and the outcome of some criminal cases. Due to the nature of the legal industry, mistranscribed files can have an irreparable impact on any legal cases, investigations and depositions.
- Record all non-verbal communication and background noise
Strict verbatim transcripts should record all non-verbal communications, as well as ambient sounds and any laughing, crying and even passing traffic to present a complete picture of what was said, how it was said and what the circumstances were at the time of the recording.
These non-verbal clues, including the nuances of voice, nodding and head-shaking can provide just as much, if not slightly more information than just the spoken words.
- Capture any false starts, stutters and coughs
Capturing every speaker utterance is the number one priority for strict verbatim transcription; this includes any coughs, stutters and false starts.
Whilst false starts might not seem that important, they can in fact provide telling information to legal professionals and business owners alike and can play a crucial role in ensuring that justice prevails and the appropriate solution is reached.