Full Verbatim or Intelligent Verbatim?

We ask this question a lot as an online transcription service, ‘Hello sir, yes, 65 minutes of audio, no problem, would you like that full verbatim or intelligent verbatim?’

If you don’t know what you would answer to that question, here’s your number one guide.  Don’t forget to book this link so you can easily refer back.

Don’t worry, we can clear that up to the distinction pretty easily.  The differences between intelligent verbatim and full verbatim are clear and easy to understand.  Find your perfect transcription now.

First up to bat, Full Verbatim.

Full Verbatim

Should you choose Full Verbatim from your online transcription service?

If you’re looking for legal transcriptions, medical transcriptions or something as close to the original as possible transcriptions, you’ll want to use Full Verbatim.  Full Verbatim will give you a word-for-word transcript of everything that has been said, including any filler-words, false-starts, repetitions, and mistakes.

We won’t do anything to tidy up the transcript, we’ll just type it exactly as it comes to us.  This is a traditional style of transcription and is suitable for more formal settings.

Intelligent Verbatim

If you decide to go for Intelligent Verbatim from your online transcription service you’re opting for the newer more modern style.

With Intelligent Verbatim, your online transcription service will intelligently decide to remove some of the clutter from the speech.  False-starts, filler-words, and repetitions will be removed if they don’t add anything to the conversation.

Affirmation speech (such as, ‘Yes,’ ‘Go on,’ ‘Continue,’) which we often use to punctuate somebody else’s sentence will be removed if it doesn’t provide any benefit to the conversation too.

An Intelligent Verbatim transcript will read naturally and easily, like how a conversation between two characters would read in a book.


First up, we’ll do an example of Full Verbatim as it’s the closest to the natural source and then we’ll show you how Intelligent Verbatim can increase the readability and clarity of the transcript.

The moderator’s speech is in bold and the respondent is identified as M for (Unidentified) Male Speaker.

 Full Verbatim Intelligent Verbatim
 So, er, what do you think of that one?M:  I, erm, well, I thought-, I know it’s   going  to be better than the last but I-,


M:  I just, er-, I just think it might be better   without the thing on the erm-,


M:  On the top, yes.

 So, what do you think of that one?M:  I know it’s going to be better than the last one but I just think it might be better without the thing on the top.


As you can see from these two examples, side-by-side, the Intelligent Verbatim transcript reads much easier and allows you to easily extract the respondent’s opinion from the text and none of the meaning is lost.

This kind of transcription is beneficial for many reasons and is usually the go-to transcription format for most companies and people.

So, which should I choose?  Full Verbatim or Intelligent Verbatim?

Really, for the majority of people, you’re going to want to choose Intelligent Verbatim just for the clarity and readability from their online transcription service.  The few who need to use Full Verbatim should already know who they are but you can break it down into two groups pretty easily, although there is a lot of crossovers.  You can also see what kind of situation you need the transcript for and that should help you decide, as well.

way of transcriber
‘Are we there yet?’


Those who usually need Full Verbatim

Those who usually need Intelligent Verbatim

Situations where Full Verbatim is usually needed

  • Minutes
  • Court proceedings
  • Advice
  • PACE tapes.
  • Tribunals
  • Instructions to Counsel
  • Affidavits
  • Legal-medico reports
  • Witness Statements
  • Probate Forms
  • Leases
  • Adjudication panel hearings
  • Contracts
  • Disciplinary hearings
  • Bankruptcies
  • Draftsman Bills
  • Land Registry application
  • Wills
  • Particulars of Claim
  • Medical Interviews
  • Medical Seminars
  • Consultations
  • Follow-up appointments
  • Medical Discussions
  • Seminars and Lectures
  • Student Interviews
  • Application Processes
  • and many more

Situations where Intelligent Verbatim is usually needed

  • Focus Group Interviews
  • Interviews
  • After-care Phone Calls
  • Customer Feedback
  • Complaint Lodging
  • Meetings
  • Pitches
  • Discussions
  • Group Work
  • Seminars, Webinars, and Lectures
  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Personal Dictation
  • Dissertations
  • Essays
  • and many more

Deciding between Full Verbatim and Intelligent Verbatim

Your final decision should come down to what the kind of output you want from your transcription.

If you’re looking for something that’s all-encompassing for a formal hearing or event, you’ll be looking at a word-for-word Full Verbatim transcription.

If you’re looking for something that’s easy to read and easy to get information from or in an informal setting, you’ll want a tidied up Intelligent Verbatim transcription.

Now you’ve decided what format you want to receive your transcription in, we come to the major question.

Which Online Transcription Service do you choose?

Well, this is something I’ve spoken to at length regarding choosing a dedication transcription service, hiring freelancers for your transcriptions, deciding to do it yourself or choosing one of the many speech-to-text programs available (featuring the industry’s favorite but often defeated by humans Dragon Professional.)

The things you should always take into consideration is the locality of the service, whether they are local, not outsourcing and are protecting your data correctly, the price of the service and the quality of work.

If you’re opting to try and perform transcription yourself, take a look at the Top 5 Transcription Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them), our Top 8 Commonly Mistaken English Phrases and Expressions .

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