Is Verbatim Enough? The Advantages & Disadvantages of Verbatim Transcription

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Verbatim market research firms need from transcription services

Transcription: Choosing the Service Right For You

Did you know that not all transcripts are the same?

Researchers use a lot of transcription services. But which services are best suited to your unique requirements?

Not all verbatim transcripts are a full and complete ‘verbatim’ account of your recording, and that’s for good reason — different levels of detail can deliver added value to depending on the circumstances.

Knowing the options allows you to get the best transcript for the job. Verbatim transcripts might not be the ideal choice for your transcript needs. Here are some tips on getting the right kind of transcript for you.

What Requirements Do Market Researchers Have When It Comes to Transcription Services?

Turning speech to text provides an efficient way for you to conduct analysis on your research content. It makes the content searchable, allows for the application of text analytics software and can be easier to digest than re-listening to audio content or playing back video content. In fact, since 65% of people are visual learners, having text can greatly improve comprehension.

Transcriptions are valuable across a range of research methodologies, including interviews, focus groups and ethnography. They can help you to explore, organize and categorize your data, helping to reveal the all-important insights.

However, if you’ve ever tried to transcribe content, you’ll know that it can be difficult and extremely time-consuming. Several factors common in qualitative research can exacerbate the situation:

  • Content involving multiple speakers who may talk over each other
  • Background noise can be hard to control and leads to less-than-ideal audio quality
  • Niche sector, brand or category language can be challenging to understand without the relevant context
  • Sensitive and confidential content requires a secure service to ensure data is safe
  • Tight timelines, as well as tight budgets, put pressure on the services available to you

hands typing or transcribing on a computer

Are Verbatim Transcripts the Right Choice for Market Research Content?

The most common style of transcript is known as Verbatim transcript (sometimes referred to as clean verbatim). Here, transcribers create a detailed, near word-for-word transcript. However, sounds and sentence structures that do not impact meaning but damage legibility are removed. For example, false starts, repetitions, interruptions, ‘ums’ and ‘errs’.

The transcript is as clean as possible while remaining true to the original audio file. You’ll receive a transcript containing almost everything speakers said. The only exclusions will be things that don’t add value or contribute to the context. If you request a transcript, verbatim is typically what you’ll get. This is a safe choice that is useful for most cases.

You can also customize a verbatim transcript by requesting additional options such as timestamps and speaker identification. Many services also provide a level of proofreading to ensure there are no mistakes or misinterpreted phrases.

‘Full-verbatim’ transcripts are also available. These transcripts include every utterance. This can be necessary for legal purposes but is often overkill for other use cases. You’ll receive this type of transcription if you use an Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) service.

For most people, a full-verbatim transcription service will provide too much detail, making a transcript difficult to read. When looking at ‘verbatim’ transcripts, it is important to distinguish between the different types to make sure you invest in the one that best fits your budget and transcription needs.

When Less is More: Intelligent Verbatim Transcripts

Intelligent Verbatim takes the editing of verbatim transcripts one step further to provide you with an output that’s quicker and easier to review.

Here, the transcribers will summarize interview questions and moderator input but include participant responses in full. The final transcript won’t include off-topic chit-chat, so you are left with all the important details but none of the irrelevant chatter. You get a shorter transcript that is easy to review and to the point.

However, there is a danger of the wrong things being removed. To make Intelligent Verbatim transcripts work, it is advisable to use a quality transcription service that specializes in Market Research whose transcribers are experienced in delivering the service.

Some services will also provide an additional highlighting service so that you can easily jump to the most important passages of text. This offering will speed up the analysis phase and give you more time back to work on the interpretation.

girl in a chair typing on a computer

Identify The Level Of Detail You Need

Text versions of spoken words can help you make sense of responses, easily search the content and pinpoint exactly what information you need. However, the process can also reveal large portions of text that aren’t relevant or helpful for insight generation.

For example, in a focus group recording, the initial pleasantries and housekeeping announcements do not form part of your analysis. In an in-depth interview (IDI), a word-for-word account of your full questions can make it more difficult to scan the transcript. Although it’s important not to lose any of the important details, some information is surplus.

Intelligent Verbatim has been designed by Verbit specifically for researchers and is an ideal alternative to Verbatim transcripts.

Whether it’s Verbatim or Intelligent Verbatim, transcripts will save you time while delivering value. Make sure you know exactly what you need and what you’ll receive before buying. Understanding the value you gain from each kind of transcript helps you to select the right option for your Market Research project.

Market researchers and agencies can pick the level of transcription detail that is right for them, going beyond standard verbatim to get the best solution. To try the researchers’ favorite, Intelligent Verbatim, upload your audio or video files today.