What Are Verbatim Transcription Services? 

We all know verbatim transcription; it’s right in the name. However, did you know that there are different types of verbatim transcription and that there is a better, more accurate way of getting verbatim transcripts than speech-to-text?

In this article, we’ll learn that:

  • Human speech is a complex and nuanced process. Verbatim transcription helps capture the full essence of the recording by taking down every spoken word in the content. 
  • Verbatim transcripts come in two types: true verbatim and clean verbatim / intelligent verbatim transcription. 
  • Automated transcription is not an acceptable tool for verbatim transcription, as it requires pinpoint accuracy and high attention to detail. Human transcription services like Ditto offer more than 99% accuracy rates, something no AI transcription can reach. 

What is Verbatim Transcription?

Verbatim transcription is a word-for-word transcribing of audio and video files. This includes everything the speaker says—all the filler words, false starts, grammatical errors, and, in some specific cases, even non-verbal cues. 

These services are commonly used in legal, medical, academic, and research fields where complete and accurate documentation is non-negotiable.

Differences Between Verbatim and Non-verbatim Transcription

Though sounding very close to one another, true verbatim and clean verbatim are very different transcription techniques. To illustrate, here are their main differences:

True Verbatim Transcription

Full verbatim transcription is, in essence, the main type of verbatim transcription. As mentioned earlier, it captures every word and sound the speakers utter. This includes exact words, all ums and uhs, false starts, repetitions, stutters, non-verbal communication (like laughter, sighs, or coughing), and ambient sounds relevant to the context. It even includes filler words and phrases like “you know,” “I mean,” or “like.”

Here’s a full verbatim transcription example from a law enforcement audio file:

verbatim transcription example with everything included

As you can see here, capturing every sound helps understand the speaker’s emotional condition when making a statement. 

Approximately 80% of businesses that utilize verbatim transcription services experience improved record-keeping and documentation. 

Such transcripts are preferred in legal proceedings, where any word or sound made by involved parties can provide further details into their current state. 

Verbatim transcription in qualitative research, psychology, and linguistics are also common. Pauses, hesitations, and inflections can provide deep insights into the speaker’s emotions, attitudes, or stress levels. Additionally, verbatim is the preferred transcription method for media captions and subtitles. 

Full verbatim transcription can be challenging, as every step of the process, from listening to the audio to writing down everything, requires pinpoint attention to produce accurate records. This can lead to increased turnaround times for some transcription companies. It is also less readable than non-verbatim transcription. 

Non-verbatim (Cleaned Up/Intelligent Verbatim) Transcription

Non-verbatim transcription is a type of transcription that excludes all unnecessary speech to make a transcript more readable without editing or changing the meaning or structure.

You’ll notice that all unnecessary speech will be removed in a non-verbatim transcript. This will not change the meaning or structure of the conversation. Using the previous example, below is the same audio transcribed in a non-verbatim, cleaned-up format:

non verbatim transcription cleaned up example

Benefits Of Verbatim Transcription

Full verbatim transcripts provide the following advantages:

Complete And Accurate Recording

Because it includes absolutely everything, verbatim transcripts offer the clearest and most comprehensive picture of any audio recording. This makes transcripts available for use in settings that require precise records, like some parts of the medical field, legal proceedings, and law enforcement files.

Perfect For Qualitative Analysis

Social sciences, linguistics, consumer behavior, and market research all require verbatim transcripts for better analysis of speech patterns and other subtleties in communication. 

Excellent For Psychological and Psychiatric Settings

The study of the human mind is a complex, mind-boggling task. Every verbal tic, hesitation, pause, stutter, or emphasis can hide deeper meaning. Verbatim transcripts allow psychologists and psychiatrists to understand their patients’ psyche, emotions, and personalities better. 


As frequent viewers of content like movies, TV shows, and other videos, we sometimes take our ability to hear everything fully for granted. People with hearing impairments might only be able to enjoy some sound in their content if subtitles and captions are limited.

Full verbatim transcripts include non-verbal cues, sound effects, and other important information that fully contextualize the content being shown. 

Historical Documentation

Language evolves over time. Sometimes, the differences are so minor and minute that recorders fail to consider them. Sometimes, seemingly small changes in revisions in the text can lead to a massive chain of events down the line. 

Full verbatim transcripts preserve every word and every detail, giving interested parties a complete picture of historical events, including nuances in language. 

Costs Of Verbatim and Non-verbatim Transcripts

Ditto’s pricing structure is usually based on a per-minute basis, depending on the type of transcript. Verbatim transcription is normally an additional $.25 per minute. However, many variables impact transcription pricing. That’s why we recommend you speak directly to one of our professional staff to determine the best and most affordable structure for your specific needs. 

Beware of other transcription services that advertise below market rates. Our pricing structures are fair and affordable. Rest assured that we won’t try to upsell or talk you into a pricing structure that isn’t right for you.

Automated Transcription For Accurate Verbatim Transcripts? Just… No. 

FeatureManual TranscriptionAutomated Transcription
AccuracyHigh (99%+)Low (up to 86%)
Speed4 hoursInstant
Human expertiseYesNo
Use casesBusiness, legal, medical, educationBasic transcription tasks
Ideal forProjects that require high accuracyProjects that need quick turnaround times

Automated transcription services use speech-to-text technology to provide fast or real-time transcription. These automated transcription tools are often hailed as the next big thing due to their quick transcription capabilities. However, for all its speed, using AI transcription yields poor accuracy rates. 

Speech recognition software and other transcription technology have difficulty with background noise, overlapping speakers, different accents and dialects, non-speech sounds, and poor audio file quality. It cannot identify nuance and utilize context to create a more accurate verbatim transcription—things that come naturally to experienced human transcriptionists. 

As a result, such transcription software or services can only guarantee up to 86% accuracy—well below the accuracy required for any respectable institution. The benefits of verbatim transcription are immediately invalidated due to this inaccuracy. 

Besides, automated transcription produces a stream of text that is quite difficult to edit. You might as well have done the transcription yourself if it would take that much work to make it presentable. 

Manual transcription services, on the other hand, use human transcribers when converting spoken language to text. Human transcription provides the highest possible levels of accuracy, as close to perfection as they come. 

This is because humans understand humans better. Audio and video files are taken in their context, and human transcribers can utilize their extensive skills and experience to provide the best and most accurate transcripts.

Verbatim or Non-Verbatim? Ask The Experts

Unsure whether to request verbatim transcription? Ask us. Our knowledgeable and trained staff will take the time to discuss your request and recommend the method that fits your needs and budget. 

However, one important thing for all clients to remember is that a transcriptionist is not an audio or document editor. We transcribe exactly what is said. You can request us to leave out words to increase readability. We cannot, however, add words in or change sentences around to make them sound better.

Accurate Verbatim Transcription At Affordable Prices

Verbatim transcription can be tricky, and using the wrong tools or signing up with the wrong provider can end up costing you more time and money in the long run. 

So, look no further than Ditto Transcripts for your verbatim transcription needs. We produce 99% accurate transcripts at affordable rates—all human-made and human-checked to ensure the highest quality in the industry. 

We also offer services like customizable formats, speaker labels, fast turnaround times, excellent customer service, and translation services that guarantee the same 99% accuracy. 

Ditto Transcripts is a HIPAA-compliant and CJIS-compliant Denver, Colorado-based academic transcription services company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcripts for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.

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