« Back to home

Verbatim or Not Verbatim, That is the Question

Should your transcript be verbatim? It sounds like something you’d want, right? Your transcript should be true to the recording, after all!

At CastingWords, our standard transcripts are not fully verbatim, but you can add the Verbatim upgrade if desired. Here’s why:

Non-Verbatim for Smooth Reading

In most cases, a recording is transcribed for the benefit of a reader, and spoken text does not always translate smoothly into writing. Our speech is often full of ums and uhs, we sprinkle in filler words such as “like” and “sort of,” we stop mid-sentence and start again.

As listeners, we’re pretty good at filtering these things out and hearing what’s actually being said, but when written down they can be very distracting.

CastingWords’ standard transcription style is therefore true to the audio, but non-verbatim. We edit the text lightly for smoother reading.

  • We don’t correct grammar, paraphrase, summarize, rearrange words, or include words that were not spoken.
  • We do leave out the stutters, mis-steps, and filler words that tend to pepper spoken communication.

The result is a transcript that conveys the full meaning and tone of the speaker’s words.

If you are transcribing a podcast, sermon, informal interview, class, lecture, business meeting, or general conversation, we recommend our standard non-verbatim transcription service.

"Whatever" poster

The Verbatim Upgrade for Special Purposes

If you apply the optional Verbatim upgrade ($0.30/min), your transcript will contain every single utterance; every um and uh, stutter, false start, and filler word, and background sounds will be noted with a descriptive tag.

This can be more awkward to read, but is useful in certain situations. You may want a fully verbatim transcript if:

  • You are studying the use of language, word frequency, or the exact phrasing someone uses to express a thought or answer a question, including any “hemming & hawing” or false starts.
  • You are recording multiple takes, and an editor will be using the transcript to find the cleanest sound bites to use in the final edited product.
  • Your transcript will be used for legal purposes.
  • Your transcript will be used to create closed captions for a video.

Beyond Verbatim

There is a notation system, known as Jefferson Transcription, that goes beyond full verbatim and seeks to capture not only every single word, but also aspects of the speech such as pacing and tone, by using symbols to denote intonation, speed, the duration of pauses, and more. CastingWords does not offer Jefferson Transcription at this time.

Ready to order a verbatim or non-verbatim transcript? We have 1-Day turnaround if you’re on a deadline, or try our 1-Week or low-cost Budget service. You can choose the Verbatim option with any of our transcription services!