If you need to turn an audio file into a typed document, you need transcription services. But what kind do you need in particular?
There are two main types of transcription services available and while each serves it purpose, for those in the legal industry, there is only one clear choice.
First, let’s take a look at the two forms of transcription: verbatim and non-verbatim.
What is Verbatim Transcription?
Verbatim transcription is word-for-word. In fact, it’s also sound-for-sound, meaning that even background noise gets included in the verbatim transcription. Essentially, the transcriptionist types out everything he or she hears on the audio file.
This means if the person whose words are being transcribed stutters, pauses, laughs, or says “umm” or “uhhh,” the transcribed document will include it all.
In addition, if there is any background noise in the audio file, such as doors slamming, a cell phone ringing, a dog barking, or someone else talking, the document will usually make a note of those noises in parentheses.
What is Non-Verbatim Transcription?
On the other hand, non-verbatim transcription does not include every filler word or sound. Instead, the transcriptionist leaves these out focusing on the core content rather than any extraneous sounds or utterances.
The resulting document may look a little more professional as it will be more in line with a document someone would type. Consequently, it is usually also easier to read and immediately understand.
Which Situations Call for Each Type of Transcription?
Both verbatim and non-verbatim transcription have their place in the world. For example, a reporter is likely to want to use verbatim transcription when interviewing a subject to ensure the document is accurate.
Court reporters often provide verbatim transcription, as well. The use of this method in legal transcription is to make sure they don’t miss any details, since even the smallest detail can have a huge impact on how a court case goes.
By contrast, non-verbatim transcription is often best for recording the information given out at meetings. For instance, the audio from a seminar for work or a city council meeting might be transcribed without background noise or filler words, because they’re not necessary in order to understand what was discussed.
Should Legal Transcription be Verbatim or Non-Verbatim?
In almost every situation, legal transcription should be verbatim. This is because the way someone says something is just as important as what they’re saying, especially when there’s a lot at stake and the person whose words are being transcribed might not be telling the truth.
Some of the most common legal recordings that call for verbatim transcription are depositions, hearings, legal briefs, wire taps, interviews with the suspect, witness statements, interrogations, and basically any type of courtroom proceeding.
Unsure whether you need verbatim or non-verbatim transcription? Contact Legal Language to speak with one of our legal professionals.