In the legal industry, verbatim transcription is considered an important service. Transcribed recordings are often preferred over the actual recordings as it is much easier to reference printed materials than it is to locate and playback recordings multiple times.
When it comes to legal transcription there are specific rules that need to be followed. You should understand the requirements of legal transcription before you have anything transcribed.
1. You Can’t Correct Grammar with Legal Transcription
Often there can be a tempting reaction to correct improper grammar when transcribing a legal conversation. However, when transcribing a verbatim transcription, it needs to be exact and that means capturing what is said exactly as they say it. If a person uses slang or incorrect grammar, like wanna, gonna, ain’t, or cuz it must be typed that way.
2. Nonverbal Communication and Background Noise Should Be Noted
There is another rule that is very important to be captured in transcription is to include all sounds in the recording. This means you have to capture beyond just the words spoken.
An example of this when transcribing what is going on in a courtroom would be to transcribe when someone clears their throat, coughs, laughs, cries, or if there is talking the background. These nonverbal cues can be as meaningful as words which is why they need to be transcribed.
The same thing goes for what many call filler words. In some types of transcription like what is known as intelligent transcription, the exclusion of filler words like “um” or “uh” are encouraged. When it comes to legal transcription those sounds are required to be transcribed.
Similar to nonverbal communication and background noise, filler words can often say more than you think. Lawyers may use these words to help determine just how nervous, prepared, or hesitant a person was when they were speaking to the courtroom or in an interrogation. Filler words can have a big impact on a legal case which is why even the smallest sounds and pauses are strictly not an option.
3. False Starts and Stutters Must be Documented, Too
The legal transcription rules state that all stutters and false starts need to be transcribed. An example of this would be, “I…I..” or “I didn’t, I mean I did…”
To most people, these parts of speech might not mean much but in the legal profession, they can tell a lot. It is important to leave it up to the experts who will be reading the document to decide if the stutters or false starts are meaningful or not.
Trust the Professionals
Transcribing legal documents is a job that is best left to the professionals like ATServices of Central New York. A company that does general transcription might not understand the term verbatim as it pertains to legal transcription.
Not getting the proper help from a legal transcriptionist you risk missing important legal information. This could have serious consequences for a legal case. Contact us today at (315) 454-3969 for professional legal transcriptions you can count on.