What Are the Different Types of Transcription?

February 25, 2022

Transcription is the process of converting speech, often in an audio or video file, to text. It is used for many purposes, such as transcribing interviews or focus group sessions for analysis or creating subtitles for video dialogue. There are three standard types of transcription, with each being useful in different scenarios.

This blog explains what these types of transcription are and when they may be used.

Verbatim transcription

Verbatim transcription means that absolutely everything is captured in the transcript. As well as the word-for-word dialogue, transcribers will also include false starts, repetitions, mistakes in vocabulary and hesitations, such as ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’.

Although verbatim transcription may be tedious to read, it is useful when analysing language use, behaviour or reactions.

Intelligent transcription

Intelligent transcription still includes all the information from the dialogue but applies a filter to ‘tidy it up’. So, unlike verbatim transcription, all the repetitions, hesitations and verbal tics, which are judged as not adding any meaning to the content, are removed.

Intelligent transcription is the most common type of transcription used, as it retains accuracy but is in a more readable form. It is used widely across industry sectors to provide a written record of interviews and discussions.

Edited transcription

For edited transcription, the transcriber fully tidies up the dialogue when converting it to text. This process means that, like intelligent transcription, any meaningless information is removed. However, the transcriber goes one step further, ensuring correct grammatical rules are applied. For example, they will restructure sentences, where required, to create a more formal writing style.

Edited transcription is valuable when the text may be published and read as a formal written piece.

One language or two?

Transcription can be completed in the same language, sometimes known as monolingual transcription, e.g., using English audio to create English text, or from one language to another, also known as bilingual transcription, e.g., French audio into English text.

When the source language is different from the target language, there are two ways of creating the transcript:

Two-stage transcription

The first step in two-stage transcription is the same as any monolingual transcription – converting the speech into a written format. So, for the French into English example, the transcriber will first transcribe the French audio or video into French text. The second step is translating the French text into English. Usually, two-stage transcription requires two different linguists, each native to the target language in the relevant stage.

Single-stage transcription

When carrying out single-stage transcription, the transcriber will convert the audio content directly into the required language in a written format. So, in the example above, no French transcript is created; the transcriber will work directly into English. A linguist native to the target language will then edit the transcript to achieve an accurate output that reads fluently.

Single-stage vs two-stage transcription

There are advantages to both approaches to bilingual transcription, depending on the purpose of the transcript.

Single-stage transcription is useful when the objective is to understand the audio content and where the transcript is used for internal purposes, e.g., for research analysis. It is usually faster to complete and, therefore, also more cost-effective.

Meanwhile, in circumstances where the transcript will be used externally, e.g., as evidence in legal proceedings, two-stage transcription is the better option, as every word of the outputs can be examined more closely for accuracy.

Our transcription services

Mission Translate offers the full range of transcription services described above and tailor our approach to meet your exact brief. We work with expert sector-specialist transcribers, use audio enhancement software and implement ISO-approved quality control processes to ensure we consistently deliver on accuracy and efficiency for all of our clients’ projects.

Click here to learn more about our transcription services or contact our team at [email protected] to discuss your next project requirements.

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