Types of Transcription: how to choose the best audio transcript

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Recording meetings, interviews, and more in a business setting is vital for sharing information, preserving ideas, and even retaining reputation in some cases. Sadly, transcribing these audio files can be incredibly time-consuming unless you know precisely what you need and where to get them.


Audio transcripts typically come in a variety of formats, and each offers very different business benefits. As such, considering your options and how each fits within your bottom line is vital for picking the right transcription service with every recording you make.


This isn’t always a cut and dry issue. There are so many transcription formats that it can be increasingly tricky to settle on the right one. Add to that the fact that many transcription services use different naming conventions, and getting on top can seem impossible. That’s why we’re going to break down exactly what types of transcription you can expect to come across, and which would best suit your business operations.


Detailed notes transcript


Detailed notes transcripts are to the point and versatile. They deliver near word-for-word accuracy in key passages, but edit the transcript to keep it focused and easy to read. This is done in two key ways:


  1. When people talk, they use fillers (umms and errs), and they often repeat themselves — delivering sentences with false starts, stutters and challenging to follow conclusions. A detailed notes transcript will cut all that out and provide a simple to read transcript that retains detail where needed, while removing unnecessary confusion.
  2. When in a meeting or an interview, not everything said is equally ‘on-topic’. A detailed notes transcript will cut these portions, or paraphrase the conversation. What you get is a to-the-point transcript with detail where it’s needed.


Detailed notes are an incredibly efficient transcript choice that is becoming more popular among a variety of industries and individuals. That’s because detailed notes apply to perhaps the broadest range of uses you’ll find from transcription services on the whole, from meeting transcription to focus group notes and beyond.


Why you would want a detailed notes transcript?


Generally, detailed notes work well for individuals and enterprises seeking concise records for fact-checking and passing on information that doesn’t rely on 100% accuracy. Types of audio recordings that especially benefit from the detailed notes transcription format include interviews, meetings and focus groups, to name a few.


Detailed notes are also relatively simple to produce, meaning they are often cheaper to produce. Many companies find that they’re an affordable way to achieve essential transcripts that could otherwise be costly — while actually getting an easier to review, and more to the point outcome. If you’re looking for affordable transcription of audio files for a range of basic business functions, then detailed notes are certainly worth your attention.


Verbatim transcript


Also known as intelligent verbatim, clean verbatim and word-for-word, verbatim transcripts have long been an industry standard. Due to their place as the most accessible transcripts on the market, verbatim transcripts are probably the first selection you’ll come across. As the title suggests, these take the capturing of information to the next level, but sometimes at the cost of relevance.


While services like these do require the transcriber to remove false starts, spoken word mistakes, and ‘um’s ‘err’s and ‘ah’s, that’s as far as the editing process goes. Otherwise, verbatim quite literally involves the transcription of an audio file as it happens. This includes off-topic points, rambling sections, and more.


With verbatim transcription, you can get easy-to-understand documents while retaining slightly higher word-for-word accuracy. However, it will contain information you may not need, such as off-topic chit chat that occurs in a meeting. While this level of detail isn’t necessary for all transcript needs, many companies find it to be invaluable.


Why would you want a verbatim transcript?


From the outside, verbatim transcripts don’t always seem like the best choice. They can be pricey, harder to review and do offer limited value in the end. Still, there are some business procedures where a verbatim transcript is the most valuable option.


In cases such as interviews and subtitles on video files, verbatim is the option that achieves the readable, accurate transcription required. This accuracy is also sometimes vital for capturing ideas or quoting team members in meetings with the necessary care.


While high costs and the extra level of information mean verbatim isn’t always necessary, considering this in specific settings is vital for achieving the transcription services you need.


Full-verbatim transcript


Last but not least, we have full-verbatim transcripts. Again as the title suggests, this is a transcription format that captures an audio file in its entirety. That means full-verbatim will make a note of every ‘um’ and ‘ahh’ during a recording. Many transcription services will even record notes on things like pauses, body language, and timestamps for an extra fee.


This isn’t a widely used transcript format due to the fact that it makes for pretty slow and jilted reading. Full-verbatim is also the most expensive option due to the work necessary at the production stage. Still, there are some business applications in which full-verbatim is precisely what a client requires. In some instances, in fact, nothing else will do.


Why would you want a full-verbatim transcript?


If you require 100% accuracy in the transcription process, then full-verbatim is the option for you. Though transcripts like these can be time-consuming as well as costly, they’re absolutely vital in instances of legal cases, analytics, and the like. While alternative choices are usually preferable in the majority of applications, full-verbatim could certainly suit a fair few of your more official transcript applications.

Choose the right audio transcription for you


As you can see, each audio transcription format serves its own purpose, and the right choice largely depends on your intended use. While detailed notes certainly offer the most comprehensive business applications, verbatim and full-verbatim are also useful and, in fact, vital in some cases. Mainly, you should be looking out for a professional format with the capability to capture everything you could need from your final transcript.


As well as considering which individual format would best fit your needs, it’s essential that you take the time to choose a transcription service you can trust. Professional transcription can deliver any format to the highest possible standard, while also taking this potentially time-consuming process off your to-do list.


The trouble is that achieving this goal involves allowing outside companies to gain access to sometimes sensitive business information. This is why you should make sure to check everything from individual company reviews to the overall industry reputation of a business. Given the potentially sensitive nature of the information you’ll be handing over, checking security regulations is also an essential part of a sustainable transcript relationship.


Doing your research before you stick with a service can ensure your information is protected and can help achieve the perfect transcription format for you every single time.


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Take Note

Take Note is a UK-based transcription service with world-class customer support alongside the highest standards of security and ethics. We deliver a comprehensive range of transcription services including Audio and Video Transcription, Video Captions and On-Site Note Taking.