What is Transcription and What Types Are There?

The term transcription is becoming more popular, keeps growing, and is more widely used in today’s world. In this article, we will explore exactly what transcription is and the different types of transcription that exist.

The Definition of Transcription

Transcription is the process of converting spoken language into written form. This can be done manually or with help from technology like speech-to-text software. Manual transcription is done by a person who listens to the audio and writes it out in text form. In contrast, automated transcription uses speech recognition technology to convert speech into text. There are 4 mains types of transcription and each one has its purpose and application.

Types of Transcription

There are a number of different types of transcription, depending on the purpose and context.

1. Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim transcription is the written form of spoken language converted from video and audio files. This type of transcription includes captures of every sound made- even throat clearing and verbal pauses such as “ah,” “um,” and “uh.” Verbatim transcriptions also indicate when laughter or other noises occur in the recording, like a phone ringing or door slamming. They can be invaluable when translating a video or an audio recording produced for specific legal settings.

Verbatim transcription includes everything said, including laughter, noises in the background, verbal pauses, and throat clearing. In contrast, non-verbatim transcriptions only include the essentials without any of the aforementioned extras. Which style do you think should be used? It likely depends on your perspective; for example, a defense attorney might prefer verbatim transcription.

2. Edited Transcription

Edited transcription is the process of taking an accurate transcript and making changes to improve readability, conciseness, and clarity. This includes things like addressing grammatical mistakes, slang, and incomplete sentences.

When you transcribe from written materials, an edited transcription can also fix spelling and punctuation errors and make the spoken words sound more polished.

Edited transcriptions aren’t suitable for every project. For instance, if you’re transcribing an autobiography recorded by the author, using edited transcription would change the author’s voice. See the example below to get a better understanding.

3. Intelligent Transcription

Intelligent verbatim transcription eliminates unimportant fillers and repetitions from the spoken word. The goal is to provide a more concise, readable transcript that still captures the participants’ voices and intended meaning. Examples of adjustments made with intelligent verbatim transcription include:

-Combining multiple utterances into one sentence

-Removing excessive use of “like” and other filler words

-Replacing incomplete phrases with the full phrase

-Correcting mispronunciations and minor mistakes

4. Phonetic Transcription

The phonetic transcription of a spoken word is the way that it is pronounced using phonetic symbols. Although the English language has 26 letters in its alphabet, there are around 44 unique sounds called phonemes.

A phoneme is the fundamental, distinguishing unit of sound in speech. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a written standard used to represent all sounds of spoken languages. The word ‘dish’ is four letters long, but only three distinct sounds are present: diʃ, with ʃ signifying the “sh” sound.

Transcriptions Are Also Common in the Following Industries

Legal Transcription

This type of transcription is used in court proceedings and other legal proceedings, including depositions and hearings. Legal transcription is used to convert audio recordings of legal proceedings into text documents.

Medical Transcription

This type of transcription is used to document medical records and treatment details, in addition to patient conversations with their doctor. Medical transcription is used to convert recordings of conversations between physicians and their patients into written documents.

Clinical Transcription

This type of transcription is used in clinical research studies to document the data collected from a study. Clinical transcription is used to convert audio recordings of conversations between researchers and participants into written documents.

Business Transcription

This type of transcription is used to document business meetings, conference calls, and other conversations between staff members. Business transcription is used to convert audio recordings of conversations between business partners, colleagues, and customers into written documents.

Educational Transcription

This type of transcription is used in educational settings to document lectures and classroom discussions. Educational transcription is used to convert audio recordings of conversations between instructors, students, and administrators into written documents.

Journalistic Transcription

This type of transcription is used to document interviews and other conversations in journalism. Journalistic transcription is used to convert audio recordings of interviews and conversations between reporters, editors, and other news personnel into written documents. Katie Couric, for example, uses transcription to document her interviews, with one of her most famous transcribed interviews being with Sarah Palin.


A transcription is an important tool for accurately capturing spoken language in written form. As technology continues to make great strides in the field of speech recognition and automated transcription, it’s becoming easier than ever to convert spoken language into written form quickly and accurately. Whether you need a verbatim transcript of an interview or a legal document transcribed for court proceedings, there is a type of transcription to suit your needs.

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