Important meetings and conferences, lectures and webinars are often recorded so that the participants and/or those who couldn’t participate could have access to the information later. However, listening to a whole lecture or meeting is not always convenient. Especially if you just need to find a particular piece of information for reference. So, you need a transcription! Transcription services are invaluable in this situation and many others. Such as recorded interviews, witness depositions, podcasts, personal notes, and so on. In this article we will look at the types of transcription, to help you choose the best option for you.
What is transcription?
As defined by Oxford Languages, a transcription is ‘a written or printed version of something; a transcript’. When you transcribe a video or an audio recording you ‘convert’ it into text form. However, there are different ways of doing it that may fit different needs.
Types of transcription
One of the ways to categorise transcription is by topic: academic, business, legal, medical transcription, etc. When dealing with materials on a specialist topic, it is important to choose a transcriber who has the relevant experience and knowledge.
Another important way to classify transcription is by how comprehensive it is, and how much editing to the final text. Here, four types of transcription are usually singled out: verbatim, edited, intelligent, and phonetic. Let’s take a closer look at all four.
This is the most detailed type of transcription. It includes everything the speakers say, and the way they say it. In includes repetitions, mistakes, filled pauses, as well as any audible non-verbal communication, such as applause or laughs. It doesn’t usually include irrelevant ‘external’ sounds such as thunder or construction work.
You need Verbatim translation when you need to know exactly what the speaker says and the way they say it. For example, for research and in legal situations, such as witness depositions.
Edited transcription is also referred to as clean verbatim translation. This process captures what is being said in detail, but edits out all the unnecessary non-verbal communication as well as such things as stammering, repetitions, and filler words. There are different degrees of editing, but the transcriber usually aims for a balance between completeness and readability.
You can opt for edited transcription when the exact ‘flavor’ of people’s speech is not essential or relevant, when what is being said is more important than how it is being said. It is great for general interviews and is often requested by journalists, some academics, and writers.
This type of transcription involves the most editing. It edits out what is usually edited during edited transcription, but it is also aimed at making the text smoother, more readable, and often more concise. It often includes such things as:
- Changing non-standard and non-native English
- Altering grammar
- Altering wording
- Omitting off-topic content
The resulting transcript may not match the audio in terms of what is said, but it will convey the meaning of what was said. This is a great option when you need a more standardised text and/or want to concentrate on the essence of the text.
This is a specialized type of transcription, rather different from the ones mentioned above. It aims to capture the exact way the speakers pronounce sounds and it can also involve the notation of rising and falling tones, overlapping sounds, etc. Phonetic translation requires the use of a specialized notation system with a wide range of phonetic symbols.
This type of transcription is most useful when you are doing linguistic research or in clinical psychology. When ordering this type of transcription it may be a good idea to confirm if a more traditional transcript comes with it as well.