How and When to Use Clean Verbatim Transcription

By: Verbit Editorial



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Transcripts serve as clear and convenient records of prior communications, making it easier for business leaders to access important information, pull quotes for marketing projects and safeguard against legal challenges. They’re also a valuable accessibility solution for people who are Deaf as well as others. When selecting the right transcription style for a project, it’s important to carefully consider your options. Clean verbatim transcripts are a great choice for business professionals looking for accurate yet easy-to-follow representations of live and recorded communications. 

However, it’s important to remember that clean verbatim transcripts aren’t appropriate for every situation. Let’s explore some use cases where clean verbatim may be the ideal transcription solution and others where you might need a different option. 

a white computer on a white desk

What does “clean verbatim transcription” mean? 

You might already be familiar with the concept of verbatim transcription. Verbatim transcripts record all audio components and spoken dialogue exactly as they originally occurred. These transcripts even include seemingly insignificant audio elements like filler words, pauses, stammers, repetition and more.  

Clean verbatim transcription is a type of verbatim transcription that still captures all speech but removes audio components that may impede readability. Unlike note-taking and other forms of non-verbatim transcription, a clean verbatim transcript does not summarize or synthesize information. A clean transcript merely streamlines messaging by eliminating unnecessary or confusing elements.  

Clean verbatim transcription rules 

There is no universally-accepted set of clean verbatim transcription rules. However, there are some best practices to remember when producing a clean verbatim transcript.  

A clean verbatim transcript should:  

  • Accurately represent spoken dialogue  
  • Be easy to read and understand  
  • Eliminate filler words, stammers, etc.  
  • Clearly label different speakers  

A clean verbatim transcript should not:  

  • Paraphrase spoken text 
  • Summarize information  
  • Misattribute quotes  
  • Entirely cut any portions of dialogue  

An example of a clean verbatim transcript 

Let’s look at a simple but effective example of clean verbatim transcription using Jeff Goldblum’s famous quote from Jurassic Park.  

Original: “Life…uh…finds a way.”  

Verbatim: Life…uh…finds a way.  

Clean Verbatim: Life finds a way.  

While the difference between the two transcription styles is subtle, the two versions paint different pictures of the speaker. Just eliminating a filler word like “um” can change our perception of the character and their intent. For example, a clear statement without filler words sounds much more definitive and confident than a statement rife with “um”s and other sounds that indicate a character may be actively contemplating their answer.  

Clean verbatim transcription use cases 

There are several different situations and industries for which clean verbatim transcription may be an appropriate, if not the ideal, approach. Here are a few use cases for clean verbatim transcription. 

woman in a suit on a phone reading a transcript

Legal transcription 

Verbatim transcription is necessary in many legal contexts, but clean verbatim transcription can still play a role in the industry. Many elements of court proceedings and evidence, like witness statements, must be transcribed word-for-word to be entered into the court record. Clean verbatim wouldn’t be appropriate or even allowed for these official proceedings. However, clean verbatim transcripts could be useful for attorneys who like to dictate their notes and impressions of a case or preserve information from their meetings.  

For transcripts of witness testimony and evidence statements, it’s necessary to only use full verbatim transcripts that capture nuances in a speaker’s tone and mental state. The seemingly unimportant utterances may matter for these transcripts. For example, when a defendant is on the stand, a response riddled with pauses, stammers and filler words may indicate that their answer is less than truthful, unsure or at least unreliable.  

Interview transcription 

Interviews serve various purposes in a wide range of industries. Transcribing interviews can support and streamline several different processes. Sometimes, interviews must ensure the subjects’ responses are accurate and complete. One example of this is an HR interview. Verbatim transcription might be a better option in this case because including the nuances of an interviewee’s speech pattern can help the interviewer determine their state of mind and comfort level.  

On the other hand, interviews for market research can often afford benefit from the clean verbatim style. Using a clean verbatim transcript in these scenarios will provide an easy-to-read interview record for future reference. 

Clean verbatim transcripts also make it easy for a marketing professional to pull effective quotes for publication. That’s because a quote like: “I really loved my visit to the museum, and I can’t wait to go back!” is much more appealing to the average reader than a quote like: “I…uh…really loved my visit to…to…to the museum, and I – yeah, I uh – I can’t wait to go back!”  

computer with a green apple next to it

Academic transcription 

Clean verbatim transcription is also a great option for academic settings. When it comes to educational use cases, readability is key. A lecture or seminar transcript in a clean verbatim style will provide an easy-to-follow study and reference tool for students and other attendees. Generally speaking, the tone or speech pattern of a lecturer is of less concern than the actual content of the discussion. Eliminating filler from the transcript is less likely to impede understanding or change the meaning of the information in these settings. 

However, it’s important to note that clean verbatim transcripts aren’t always the best choice as accessibility tools. By failing to depict the complete original content, a clean verbatim transcript may not provide an equitable experience for those with disabilities. In such cases, a verbatim transcript should be available. Given the Department of Education’s renewed emphasis on the need for accessibility in education, this is particularly important.  

Where to get clean verbatim transcripts 

The easiest way to obtain clean verbatim live and recorded content transcripts is to work with a professional transcription company. Relying on a partner like Verbit for transcription services will allow users to select a style and process that fits their needs. Verbit uses a dual approach to transcription that combines the efficiency of artificial intelligence with the diligence of professional human transcribers to produce highly accurate final transcripts in the transcription style and format of their choice.  

Once an audio recording is transcribed by Verbit’s proprietary AI software, a human transcriber will review the transcript for accuracy and edit the content to produce a clean verbatim transcript. You can then download the complete transcript in your desired file format and use it across various digital platforms. If you’re interested in working with Verbit to transcribe your communications or if you need help deciding which transcription approach is right for your project, reach out today to speak with a member of our team.