We’ve all been in a conversation with someone who says, “Do you know what I mean?” at the end of every other sentence. I was once in a conversation with someone who said the phrase as one word because he’d used it so much over the years – “Jwormeen” – sometimes mid-sentence. We all have vocal tics, and if you’re not in the habit of recording your conversations for future use then you’ll hopefully be blissfully unaware of yours.

When it comes to transcribing, it’s up to us to make sure that your transcript is readable but natural sounding unless you ask us for full verbatim – and then all bets are off; we will transcribe every sentence you start but don’t finish, every erm, um, and ah, and every time you say "fantastic."

You need to be prepared for that.

I don’t think any of us who haven’t listened to ourselves speaking on microphone are fully cognisant of how often we start lists with a)… but don’t ever add b) to them. Similarly, one of my favourite people in the world, the spoken word artist/podcaster/actor/force for good Scroobius Pip gets a lot of Twitter-based hassle for the fact that he overuses the word ‘again’ in speech. I recently transcribed a conversation in which he recognised that he said, “That’s fascinating” a lot – but then proceeded to say it twice more in the same sentence.

Depending on what you’re going to use your transcript for, we can tailor our services to match. Most of what we do for academic research is for content and thematic analysis, so 'intelligent verbatim', where we edit for readability, makes more sense. Full verbatim transcripts tend to be more useful for discourse analysis or if you really need everything exactly as it was said. 

So, next time you’re, like, having a conversation with someone, like, I mean, if you really, like, start to hear how you’re, like, saying a bunch of stuff and that which doesn’t, like, add anything to the conversation then you’ll be really, like, happy you’ve read this, like, blog or whatever.


AuthorNeil Dowling