What is transcription?

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You may ask: What is transcription? It is turning the spoken word into written form. The word comes from Latin and it is a derivation of “transcribere”, which means “to transcribe”. People use it in many different fields, but especially in research and linguistics. It is also often necessary in journalistic work, namely when people need interviews, podcasts, videos and films in written form.

In general, the field is very wide. It is a separate branch of linguistics and requires a high level of listening comprehension. It’s also a very time-consuming process that no one just does on the side. It is not for nothing that entire offices deal exclusively with it.

What is transcription and its variations?


There are two basic forms of transcription – verbatim and adjusted. Each of these operations has its areas of application and even different backgrounds.

What is literal transcription

A verbatim transcription is the actual text version of the spoken word. Grammar errors, filler words, stutterers, repetitions or broken words will stay present.

When should you use verbatim transcription?

The background of this kind of operation is obvious: It is not only about the content but also about the conversation style. In research, for example, speech defects, moments of stress or word-finding disorders can be beneficial. Any “Uh” or “Hm” in the recording illustrates certain behaviors when nervous, for example.

Why is it difficult to use the literal transcription?

Editing a verbatim transcription requires a lot of extra effort, since few people actually speak written language. Reading such a text not only takes longer, but is also very tedious.

Who Uses literal transcription?

Qualitative research usually requires only verbatim transcriptions, because in addition to speech, the mannerisms are also important. The focus here is on the attitude. Verbatim transcription is also essential for psychological research, since many psychological disorders or phenomena involve an impairment or at least an influence on spoken language. When transcribing legal contexts, a verbatim transcriptionis necessary, since any interpretation would be subjective and might obscure the actual statement of, for example, an interviewee.

What is clean transcription

Clean transcription is another name for smooth transcription. This type of operation is about noting the spoken word in an understandable way. All stutters, sentence or word breaks are cleaned up and filler words are even completely ignored.

When should you use a clean transcription?

A clean version focuses on the content. It is used whenever it is necessary to create contexts where not every single word belongs in the text.

How do you use clean transcription?

Such an adapted text is easier to read than the literal version. It is a direct language that is loose and easy to read.

Who Uses Clean Transcription?

Journalists use clean transcription wherever interviews take place. The tonality of the recording may be loose, but only the content ends up in the text. Qualitative research only uses clean version when it is about the content and not so much about the conversation style. Clean transcription adjusts the timestamps of meetings, since the speech errors of the participants are irrelevant to the understanding of the event. Those who dictate notes to themselves will also only neatly incorporate them into the text, as the recording in this case is only a reminder.

Advantages of outsourcing transcription

You save a lot of time outsourcing and your text will be done professionally. The error rates are usually significantly lower because only high-quality software is used. The result is a text file that you can easily process further.

Choose our software with complex AI (artificial intelligence). This has the advantage for you that you only have to proofread the text result, which saves you a lot of time.

Now you have the knowledge to get started with transcription technology. We hope this post has answered your questions and explained the key concepts.