Is verbatim transcription of interview data always necessary?

People have evolved to rely on interview data as a reliable source to research and to analyze data. The need for faster information storage, retrieval and dissemination of the collected interview data has brought about the needs for different types of transcription. Verbatim transcription is one such data management strategy which facilitates a one-to-one mapping of the contents of interview data recordings into a textual format.  If you have to decide whether or not to go for verbatim transcripts for your qualitative data then you would need to have closer insights of the verbatim transcription methodologies and your research requirements. Here is all that you need to know about verbatim transcription that will help you to strike a balance between the benefits and to make a better decision for getting your interviews transcribed.

The essence of Verbatim Transcription

When you go for a verbatim transcription you can expect to get a text file that includes all most all sounds in the recording exactly captured as it is said. Verbatim Transcription will include pauses, non verbal utterance, repetition of words and stammering. It will serve as a proof of what had happened during the interview and will give a live experience to any user who reads it.

Key Features that Advocate the Supremacy of Verbatim Transcripts

Verbatim Transcription Never Misses a Detail

When you have a transcript that let you to relive the moment of the actual interview, you get to know all the details, well it is the requirement of any kind of research because you will never know what bit of information might be of a great value to your research in the near future.

Implications through the Response Tokens

The transcribed data includes the intentional sounds made by the speaker like hmm, oops, ah, mm, uh made during the interview process. These response tokens are often used by the speakers when they take time to think. It is bliss to the researchers who are keen in eliciting information regarding the mental makeup of the person who is being interviewed and how the conversation in the interview transforms to reflect the thought process of the interviewer.

Involuntary Inclusions

It includes sounds due to human actions like sneezing, coughing, burping, laughing etc and background noise like opening a door, dog barking, phone ringing and conversation between fellow participants.  All these sounds will be included in the transcripts with a time stamp. This information might be relevant or irrelevant to the analyst.

Non-Verbal Communications

Non-Verbal communications are relevant to verbatim video transcription. It includes unspoken words that are brought about by the speaker’s activities like hand gestures, laughter, raised eyebrows, head nodding and pointing. These non-verbal communications will add reference to the context of the subject.

When to Choose and When to Refrain

Verbatim Transcription is the best style of transcription to adopt when you are concerned about “How” something is said rather than “What” is said. It provides clear, unedited and complete information of the actual interview. If you are associated with projects or research in market analysis, court proceedings, journalism or legal documentation you can choose Verbatim Transcription. Here is what you gain out of it

To quote sources

If you are a journalist, you can get the most out of a verbatim transcription because in the process of reporting a story it will help you to quote a source and describe the event with the right set of words that was actually used by the speaker. The same applies in collecting the data out of a conference or sharing the minutes of the meeting with the colleagues or the stake holders.

Valuable data for Focus Group

When you are a part of a focus group intended to make decision based on the results of the interview data then verbatim transcription will facilitate you to pinpoint the actual set of data that is not welcomed by the public or the feasibility of continuing the project with the intention of serving a particular class or age group of the population. You will be able to gain glimpses of a projects success by the looking into the gestures of the speakers and then act accordingly.

To Provide Evidence for Legal Issues

Verbatim transcription is the best when you are dealing with legal issues like court interviews, witness statements and legal interviews. When the document is destined to serve as a legal record then it should never miss a word.  You will never know when you will be able to derive evidence out of the external sounds available in the scenario to legalize a convict or create evidences against the convict. It is evident that legal issues will benefit the most from verbatim transcription if not for it you will lose the minor details that would be of a great deal to you.

Verbatim transcription is the best, however you benefit out of it you must also acknowledge that in the process of making an exact match of the recordings the transcribed data is adorned with the fillers, grammatical errors, repetitions, noises and pauses. They will certainly disturb the flow of data and interrupt the analyser with too many details. It may even prompt the analyzer to arrive at a wrong conclusion or be influenced by too much detail.  The inter subjective nature of the human communication will create many crest and troughs in the line of argument and might confuse the reader about the subject of importance in the interview.

If you are student or a person who would like to transcribe seminars, interviews, lectures, or dictions then non-verbatim, versions of transcription will help you in a great deal. When you keen in conveying the core of a subject, it is best to cast away the unnecessary fillers. It will quicken the speed of your reporting and will facilitate as an easy deliverable for your university.

The accuracy and the extent of data in a transcript may mean different to people with different needs. It is up to you to choose the best kind of transcription to meet your needs and budget.

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