How to Choose the Right Transcription Format

By: Verbit Editorial



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Transcription is becoming standard practice for a wide range of businesses, institutions and organizations. Many industries regularly use audio and video recordings in their day-to-day operations. Converting these recordings to text is proving effective for boosting productivity and improving accessibility.

To ensure you’re getting the most out of your transcription efforts, consider which transcription format most closely meets your needs. Let’s take a look at some popular transcription formats and discuss how different industries use them.

Table of Contents:

Understanding Transcription

Transcription refers to the process of converting audio or video recordings to text. It’s possible to create transcripts during live broadcasts, meetings, lectures, courses and more. Transcripts serve as valuable record-keeping and note-taking tools, contributing to increased accessibility for the Deaf and hard of hearing. When you transcribe audio to text, you also improve engagement and comprehension for people with ADHD and auditory processing disorders.

person typing on her laptop on a table

What are the Basic Transcription Formats?

There are two primary types of transcription: verbatim and non-verbatim. The general transcription process for creating these transcripts is similar, but the final products differ slightly. Because of their differences, these transcription formats can support various types of projects.

Verbatim Transcription

This type of transcription captures every verbal element of an audio or video recording into text. The final transcript will include all spoken text, including repeated words, stammers, and filler words. These transcripts will also include ambient sounds like background voices and non-speech sounds like throat clearing or laughter.

Non-verbatim Transcripts

Unlike verbatim transcripts, this transcript format doesn’t document every audio element of a recording. Editors must review these transcripts to streamline the recording’s messaging. A final non-verbatim transcript will not include elements like stammers, sound effects or pauses.

Which Transcription Format Do I Need?

To choose the proper transcription format for your project, it’s important to consider what you’re trying to accomplish by offering transcription in the first place. If you’re looking to make transcripts available for public video content, for example, a verbatim transcript would likely be best. Verbatim transcripts may offer more context, thereby ensuring the accessibility of content for diverse audiences.

In some educational or business settings, however, non-verbatim transcription is perfectly acceptable. This may be the case as long as the purpose of transcribing certain communications is to provide a convenient reference tool.

When it comes to accessibility use cases, it’s important to include non-speech elements. Sounds like barking dogs, screeching tires or creaking doors can provide context that verbal video elements from video or audio recordings might not convey.

Non-Verbatim Transcription Use Cases

Before selecting a transcription format, it’s important to think through the use case. Here are a few examples of how someone might use non-transcription.

Education transcription

Educators looking to provide comprehensive summaries of their lectures or courses may use a non-verbatim transcription format. These transcripts provide convenient study tools for students that are more succinct and straightforward than would be a verbatim transcript. Again, it’s important to note that providing this non-verbatim transcript would not necessarily provide an equitable learning experience for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing. In some circumstances, it will leave out contextual elements and communicate only the main ideas.

Business transcription uses

Business leaders may choose to provide non-verbatim transcripts of their meetings, lectures, and webinars. Employees can refer to these transcripts long after a meeting concludes. As a result, these can be great resources for training, onboarding and beyond. Offering these transcripts can also significantly improve real-time engagement during a meeting. When employees know there will be a transcript, they won’t feel the need to take notes throughout the entire discussion. Non-verbatim meeting transcripts may not provide sufficient support for employees who experience hearing loss. However, they may still be useful to certain individuals with ADHD and other specific learning needs.

Verbatim Transcription Use Cases

In addition to using verbatim transcription for accessibility purposes, many industries require verbatim transcription to comply with legal standards. A verbatim record might be the best way to safeguard against certain legal challenges.

Legal Proceedings

The ideal legal transcription format would be verbatim transcription. It’s important for legal proceedings to have full, accurate transcripts. Verbatim transcription is often required as a deposition transcript format. These transcripts must fully convey every word the participants say, along with additional audio elements that may clarify a speaker’s intent.


Accuracy is critical in medical records. A verbatim healthcare transcription format provides the most accurate representation of conversations between doctors and their patients. Furthermore, it is occasionally necessary to reference medical records during legal proceedings. Verbatim transcripts of medical discussions offer more credibility if they become part of a legal proceeding down the line.

Market Research

Market researchers tend to prefer this style as an interview transcript format and focus group transcription format. These transcripts fully convey the opinions participants express in their research efforts. Non-verbal cues can make a significant difference in interpreting a subject’s remarks. As such, these transcripts need to reflect every audio element fully and accurately.

While non-verbatim transcription is appropriate for some business communications, other departments should be using verbatim transcription. Human Resources staff, for example, are often subject to stringent professional and legal standards. These professionals benefit significantly from keeping accurate records of conversations with current, prospective and former employees.

Customer service departments may also choose comprehensive transcription efforts. Verbatim transcription is essentially the default chat transcription format. However, it’s equally important to accurately transcribe communications over the phone or in person in case of later conflict.


Verbatim Transcription for Content Creation

There is an ever-growing dependence on video and audio content as a marketing and outreach tool. As a result, content creators and business leaders can use transcription to maximize their production efforts.


With over 380 million people listening to podcasts around the world, it’s no surprise that many business leaders have begun to embrace the medium’s potential. Podcasts are proving great for building brand awareness. With the right podcast transcript format, creators can further grow their audience by making the content accessible to those who may need additional support to engage with audio-only content. An accurate, verbatim audio transcription format also allows creators to post transcripts of their content online to boost their brand’s SEO ranking.

Documentary Filmmaking

An APA-format interview transcript that documents both speech and non-speech audio components can be beneficial for documentary filmmakers. For instance, maintaining highly accurate records of on and off-camera interviews helps safeguard against potential allegations of misquotation or misrepresentation.

Video Sharing

Transcribing video content from media hosting sites like YouTube can improve audience engagement while supporting accessibility standards. Accuracy is critical when it comes to boosting accessibility and using a verbatim video transcription format for digital media can provide more equitable viewing experiences to all viewers.

How to Format Transcription

Selecting the right format and producing accurate transcripts can be somewhat tedious, particularly for individuals without adequate transcription training. For this reason, it is often advisable for business leaders and content creators to partner with professional transcription services like Verbit. Professional partners can ensure that the final transcripts sufficiently meet your needs.

Verbit uses a dual approach to transcription that combines artificial intelligence software with professionally trained human transcribers. Together, the technology and transcribers generate highly accurate transcripts with industry-leading turnaround times. If you’re looking to transcribe video to text, for example, Verbit can create a transcript in the format of your choice. Additionally, it’s easy to use the Verbit platform’s simple upload/download process.

To use Verbit’s platform, you upload the video or audio content, and an advanced form of automatic speech recognition software creates a first draft. The technology is similar to how your phone transcribes a voice recording to text when using Siri or Google Assistant. Verbit’s professionals then edit the transcript to ensure optimal accuracy. The human transcribers are also responsible for creating comprehensive, streamlined non-verbatim transcripts that represent the main ideas of the recording. You then receive the final transcript in the file format of your choice, such as a WebVTT file. Verbit also offers a fully interactive, searchable transcript format that allows users to search for specific keywords. With this feature, you can navigate to specific locations within a video or audio recording.

Verbit Makes Transcription Easy

Verbit provides a wide range of transcription styles and formats to support the creation of content and communications that are accessible, efficient and inclusive. In addition to these transcription offerings, Verbit also provides captioning, translation and audio description solutions. With Verbit, it’s possible to have effective communication across multiple mediums and platforms.

Verbit’s solutions help build more equitable professional and educational environments for individuals with hearing loss, as well as those with ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and more. Reach out to learn more about how partnering with Verbit can support the ever-evolving needs of your business, brands or institution.