Strict Verbatim Guidelines
What do I include in a strict verbatim transcript?
Everything! False starts, stutters, grammatical errors, “you know”, “yeah”, “okay”, “um”, and all other words or utterances are included in strict verbatim.
What do I do if I can't make out a word?
Anything you’re not able to make out is transcribed as [Inaudible 0:00:00]. The time represents the time in the audio where the inaudible occurred. Please use this notation if you are less than 95% sure about a word.
If you are almost positive about a word but want to be safe, put [Inaudible 0:00:00 sounds like:]. For example: [Inaudible 0:04:32 sounds like: pistachios]. This is used if you are at least 85% sure the word is correct.
Also, we appreciate if you give your transcript a second look after you’ve transcribed it. Sometimes a word you couldn’t make out originally will become clear after you’ve listened to the entire file. Many of our transcriptionists listen the second time at 150 percent speed in order to speed the process up.
What are the standard notations?
- Laughing istranscribed as [Laughter] when more than one person is laughing.
- If only one person is laughing and you know which speaker it is, use [Laughs].
- Overlapping speech is transcribed as [Crosstalk].
- Anything you’re not able to make out is transcribed as [Inaudible 0:00:00]. The time represents the time in the audio where the inaudible occurred.
- If you are almost positive about a word but want to be safe, put [Inaudible 0:00:00 sounds like:]. For example: [Inaudible 0:04:32 sounds like: pistachios].
- If you’re unsure how something is spelled, such as someone’s name, but are sure you have heard the word correctly, place [ph] after the word. For example: Jane Doe [ph].
- All files should end with [End of Audio].
What if multiple people are speaking at once?
As we work a lot with focus groups, many of our files include crosstalk (multiple people speaking at once), although we almost never take focus group files that are strict verbatim. Please do your best to get everything said, but use [Crosstalk] if you need to.
How do I deal with grammatical errors in a transcript?
Grammatical errors are kept as is in both edited verbatim and strict verbatim transcripts.
Respondent: “I seen him go in there.”
Grammatically, this should be “I saw him go in there”, but we would leave it as is because it is as the speaker said it.
Do I use "wanna" and "gonna"?
Yes, in a strict verbatim transcript you can use shortened words like “gonna” and “wanna” if that is how the speaker spoke the words. Another example is a shortening of “because” can become “’cause“, not any other spelling.