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Summarised Transcription

Summarised Transcription Explained

Posted By Cathy Bennett

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Summarised Transcription is a form of editing.  It helps to bring out the key message whilst reducing the more general dialogue, allowing the reader to gain more value in a shorter time.  It is a summary of what has been said rather than ‘verbatim’ or ‘intelligent verbatim’, and where necessary, restructures sentences and corrects grammar without changing the message. 


Here is a short extract showing the key differences between Verbatim, Intelligent or Smart Verbatim and Summarised Transcription:


Fred:      Er … thanks.  You know, I was wondering if we could maybe … sort of … discuss this in er kind of more detail, you know?  Like, you know, er then I will be er able to understand it better, you know.

Janice:    Yeah, no problem. It’s er not very hard to understand really, like I mean it won’t take you very long to figure it out, you know.

Fred:       Okay, er thanks, then let’s…let’s start the discussion when you’re erm ready.

Smart/Intelligent Verbatim

Fred:       Thanks, I was wondering if we could discuss this in more detail, then I will be able to understand it better?

Janice:    Yeah, no problem. It’s not very hard to understand really, it won’t take you very long to figure it out.

Fred:      Okay, thanks.  Let’s start the discussion when you’re ready.

Summarised Transcription

Fred:      I need to understand this in more detail, so I can better understand it.

Janice:    It’s not hard to understand, it won’t take you long. 

Fred:      Okay, when you’re ready, please explain. 

Basically verbatim transcription includes everything that was spoken including all erms, ahs, repetitions, stutters, you knows, sorts ofs, I mean etc.  Intelligent verbatim includes everything that was spoken but omits irrelevant odd words like the ones I have included above.  Summarised transcription would take intelligent verbatim and take relevance to the next level.  Sentences may need restructuring, words omitting, grammar altering and the correct use of syntax, text adding (if the client needs this) all to make a professional, more fluent, enjoyable read ensuring the important points/subjects that you are aiming to get across will be picked up easily from the read.

You may need summarised transcripts for:

  • Telephone conversations where the general chit-chat including hellos and goodbyes and thank you for your help are simply not needed; and
  • Face to face interviews/meetings where again just facts are required and long silences or repeated answers etc can be omitted.

The main idea of summarising a conversation or interview/meeting is that the reader can instantly grasp the important, main points of what is being said without having to plough through unnecessary dialogue, thus saving them time and effort.

Clients may have their own instructions as to how they would like the summary to read.  For example a particular client wanted their summary to read from the respondent’s point of view/perspective, but if the respondent agreed with what the interviewer had said then this needed to be included in his reply.   You may also want the subject matter (for example, if the conversation is regarding another company) to be referred to as singular rather than plural i.e. if the investor refers to the company as they, then ‘they’ should be changed to ‘it’.  You may want your words abbreviated or you may not, for example, ‘do not’ kept as ‘do not’, or changed to ‘don’t’.  Each client will most likely have their own individual requirements as to how they want their summaries to read and their own reasons for that, but the key as the summariser is to be able to pick out the important information and leave out the rest. 

The summarised transcription does not attempt to skew the translation of the original material, it aims to stay as honest and true to the spirit of the original piece as possible.  

Please contact us at if you would like further infomation.

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