4 Types of Audio Transcription and When to Use Each

4 Types of Audio Transcription and When to Use Each
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


Owing to machine learning, the possible ways in which audio transcription can be used are constantly increasing.

However, to optimize the use of this continuously growing essential service, it is crucial to understand what it precisely involves.

There are various types of audio transcription services, each with advantages and limitations. The type of audio transcription you opt for can significantly impact your project.

This article discusses the types of audio transcriptions presently available and which one is most suitable for your audio files.

We discuss in-depth all the primary services along with the best places to use each.

Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim Transcription, also known as true verbatim or strict verbatim transcription, is one of the most detailed transcription types available.

It captures the speaker’s words along with all filler words, pauses, and non-verbal communication included in the recording.

As a result, verbatim transcripts are typically lengthy and extensively detailed. 

Typically, verbatim transcription will consist of all verbal and non-verbal communication, including laughter, pauses, and coughing.

For audio files containing multiple speakers, verbatim transcription can also consist of interruptions and conversational statements, e.g., “right” or “uh-huh.”

At times, background noise like talking or noises from an audience may also be included.

Verbatim transcriptions do not contain noises irrelevant to the transcript and unnecessary interferences, such as sirens, thunder, or construction work.

Edited Transcription

Edited transcription, or clean verbatim transcription, is typically the default option given by transcription providers.

Similar to verbatim transcription, it is focused on preserving the meaning of a text and does not rephrase the text or alter its meaning in any manner.

However, it does not capture the manner in which the speaker communicates, such as pauses, unnecessary non-verbal communication, and filler words such as ‘like’ or ‘you know.’

This is done because such inclusions do not add much to the meaning of the text.

Edited transcription includes all the necessary text voiced by the speaker and focuses on balancing between the totality and readability of the transcript.

Intelligent Transcription

Intelligent Transcription, also known as intelligent verbatim transcription, is generally focused on transcribing audio into crisp, understandable texts.

This type of transcription offers transcribers more flexibility to edit and remove parts of speech.

Intelligent transcription focuses on communicating the meaning of the speech in the most natural manner possible instead of only capturing the speech as it was uttered.

This includes omitting repeated sentences, and phrases, and sometimes even grammatically restructuring the spoken content if needed.

Typically, a version of the recording prioritizing clear communication of the meaning of what was said is included in Intelligent Transcription. Punctuation and grammar errors are suitably corrected.

Along with removing noise and non-verbal communication, all filler words, repetitions, and off-topic content are omitted from the final transcript.

The transcript may not precisely match the audio in terms of spoken words but should capture the meaning of everything said in the audio.

Phonetic Transcription

Phonetic transcription differs considerably from the other types of audio transcription discussed above.

This specialized form of transcription captures how speakers utter sounds, focusing particularly on the pronunciation of words.

Also, this encompasses annotating how the speaker’s tone rises and falls and how various sounds overlap within the audio.

Phonetic transcription needs a specific notation system to be performed correctly. 

A phonetic transcription typically includes a full record of all the sounds voiced by speakers in the audio, written in the phonetic alphabet.

Annotations specifying the speaker’s intonation can be included. However, it will not include any sounds that may interfere with the transcript.

Which Type of Transcription Should I Use?

With such varied output across these diverse transcription service categories, it is obvious that each one will suit different project types.

You must cautiously judge which type of transcription will provide you the best ROI as the contents of your transcript can differ widely across transcription types.

As a general rule:

  • Verbatim transcription: It is appropriate for extensively heavily complex projects requiring a complete script analysis, e.g., legal work.
  • Edited transcription: Creates crisp, professional texts that are both formal and comprehensive. This transcript is particularly useful for texts that require publishing.
  • Intelligent transcription: Creates transcripts that are readable and easy to understand. It is suitable for various general business purposes, which require documents to be quickly read, digested, and shared.
  • Phonetic transcription: Gives an extensively detailed explanation of how the audio contents were spoken. It is usually used for expert academic or linguistic projects.

Certain types of transcriptions seem to be more suitable for specific industries. However, choosing the appropriate transcription type is merely the beginning of the process.

To know which transcription suits your requirements and get the most precise and appropriate transcriptions, contact us at GMR Transcription.

Our team of expert transcribers has a quick turnaround time and can provide accurate transcription services at affordable rates.

Read Also: 5 Speech-to-Text Mobile Apps That Spare Much Hassle

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.