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What is verbatim transcription?

by Lasse Finderup, Head of Growth at Good Tape1 February 2024
What is verbatim transcription?
Lasse Finderup

What is verbatim transcription?

Have you ever sat through a business meeting, noting every word, or rewound a legal recording multiple times to catch that one crucial phrase?

Welcome to the meticulous world of verbatim transcription, the unsung hero of accurate records.

Verbatim transcription captures every chuckle, stutter, and sigh in a conversation, recording speech as it's spoken.

It's the backbone of ensuring that every utterance in legal matters, high-stake meetings, and studies is accounted for. It offers a full, unedited rendition of events.

In this article, we’ll walk you through verbatim transcription and how it benefits the corporate landscape. You’ll also find best practices for how to implement verbatim transcription in your company.

What is verbatim transcription, and why is it important?

Verbatim transcription is the process of converting spoken language into written text without changing any words.

It includes every word, exactly as it is said, along with all the non-verbal sounds like laughter, pauses, coughs, and other sounds.

It's like creating a word-for-word script of a conversation or speech, including all the 'ums,' 'ahs,' and 'you knows' people say when they talk.

Its importance must be balanced, particularly when the exact wording could sway a legal case, or a small number can upset a data analyst’s report.

Similarly, detecting non-verbal cues can illuminate the emotions of an interviewee, proving invaluable in qualitative research.

Verbatim vs. non-verbatim transcription

Now, you might ask, "Aren't all transcriptions verbatim?" The answer is, in fact, no – but that's a common mix-up.

Unlike its non-verbatim sibling that smoothens the ums and ahs for readability, verbatim transcripts include every false start, grammatical error, and non-speech sound.

Choose verbatim for legal precision; opt for non-verbatim when you want the gist without the clutter.

Here's a simple table comparing verbatim and non-verbatim transcription:


Verbatim Transcription

Non-Verbatim Transcription


Transcribing the spoken word exactly as it's spoken.

Transcribing the essence of what's said, omitting filler words and non-verbal cues.


All words, non-verbal cues (e.g., ums, ahs), repetitions, stutters, and background noises.

Key speech, edited for clarity and readability, without stutters, filler words, or noises.


To capture the exact language and nuances, often used for legal purposes, detailed research, or data


To convey the clear meaning and main points of the speech, often used for meetings, conferences, or media broadcasting.


Every sound made by the speaker.

Only the intended message of the speaker.


Longer, more detailed transcript.

Shorter, more polished transcript.


More time-consuming and may require a skilled transcriber or transcription software like Good Tape to capture everything accurately.

Less time-consuming, but requires a transcriber who can discern the main points and essential details.

Examples of included content

"Um, well, I – I think, you know, that's – that’s a great point (laughs)."

"I think that's a great point."

Benefits of verbatim transcription

Why choose to transcribe every single sound, you wonder? Well, in legal proceedings and data analysis, the difference between a "maybe" and a "may be" can be vast.

Here are the Top 3 benefits of using verbatim transcription:

  1. Verbatim transcripts provide this level of detail. Thus, it ensures accurate records that capture both words and emotions and subtleties.

  2. Verbatim transcripts are a powerful tool in legal disputes where the exact language and tone can swing a case.

  3. For content creators and data analysts, they are a treasure trove of qualitative data. It offers rich text fields ripe for systematic mapping reviews or studies.

Best practices in verbatim transcription

To the uninitiated, verbatim transcription might seem like a game of who can write the fastest. But in truth, it's a mixture of active listening and precise typing.

Best practices include a keen ear for ambient sounds and the subtle nuances of speech backed by transcription tools that complement human precision.

Embrace active listening

The human ear is unmatched in picking up subtleties. Try to catch non-verbal sounds and external sounds that machines may miss.

Maintain high audio quality:

Garbled words can degrade accuracy. Ensure your audio recording is clear, minimising ambient noise as much as possible.

Utilise the Good Tape:

Data and trust are put in the hands of professionals like lawyers and data analysts every day – losing either is not an option for them.

Good Tape transcription software ensures that you capture every single word without missing out on details.

The professional transcription solution from Good Tape

Good Tape aims to provide transcripts that are precise and efficiently processed, focusing on quality and quick turnaround times.

Clarity in every transcript

Stepping into the world of verbatim transcription with Good Tape is like donning a pair of noise-cancelling headphones: suddenly, everything's crystal clear.

At Good Tape, we understand the diverse needs of professionals, from legal experts who require detailed records to data analysts working through extensive interviews. Our service is built to address these needs with care.

Our approach is simple, yet effective.

We focus on delivering accurate transcriptions that capture every word with clarity, underpinned by robust security measures to safeguard the confidentiality of your discussions.

Your recordings are encrypted, stored within the EU, and deleted post-transcription, ensuring GDPR compliance and data security – unlike other services that may transfer data to the US.

Customised solutions for every corporate need

Corporate clients will find a tailor-made service at Good Tape, where their specific needs are met with a type of transcript that aligns with their objectives, whether they are contracting transcription for legal transcripts, interview transcripts, or any other professional transcription services.

Our customised solutions for corporate clients provide the following:

  • More than enough transcription hours & unlimited tape lengths supported in 90+ languages with no waiting time

  • Transcription Security (DPA (Data Processing Agreement) and GDPR compliance)

  • Priority access to new features & white-glove support

  • Multiple users with centralised billing and much more customised according to your need

Getting started with Good Tape: The transcribing tool for businesses

Good Tape simplifies the transcription process for all types, including verbatim transcription, to suit your specific needs. Its user-friendly interface is designed with busy professionals in mind, ensuring that even those with the most packed schedules can efficiently manage their transcriptions.

To start, Sign Up Free (3 recordings/month for up to 30 minutes in length) or upgrade to Professional and upload your file.

Once uploaded and you have selected your language, click “ Transcribe.”

For Free users, it can take up to 60 minutes for the transcription to be completed, and almost instantly for paid users.

And once it's done, you will receive an e-mail with the link to the transcription file.

Capture every giggle, laugh, and meaningful silence in your next audio recording.

Dive into the Good Tape experience and see the difference an accurate verbatim transcription can make.

Want to try us out?

We believe everyone should have access to top-quality automatic trancriptions.

That's why Good Tape is completely free to use. No credit card required.

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