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Basic & Verbatim

Basic Transcriptions Rules

Basic transcripts should be grammatically correct throughout. Refer to the CrowdSource Style Guide for all requirements regarding punctuation, grammar, spelling and syntax.
There are also a number of additional style rules you must follow listed below. Check this document often, as these lists may grow.
Persistent Sound Events that Do Not Interrupt Dialogue
When a sound event occurs that does not interrupt dialogue (typing sounds, the AC kicking in), note it in the transcription once at the point it occurred. For example:
Correct
[typing sounds throughout]
Susie:
Let’s get burritos for dinner tonight.
Randy:
That would work.
Filler Words and Statements
Remove filler statements such as “ugh”, “um”, “yeah” and so on from your finished transcription. For example:
Correct
Randy:
That would work.
Incorrect
Randy:
Yeah, that would work.
Conjunctions that Start a Sentence
Remove conjunctions (And, but, etc.) that start a speaker’s sentence. For example:
Correct
Flo:
That’s how I bought a cockroach.
Incorrect
Flo:
And that’s how I bought a cockroach.
False Sentence Starts
Remove false starts (unnecessary repetition or instantaneous revision of words) in a speaker’s sentence. For example:
Correct
Flo:
I would like to think that I’d have bought it again, if I could do it all over.
Incorrect
Flo:
I would like to think, I would like to think that I’d have bought it again, if I could do it all over.
Special Punctuation Rules and Exceptions
Check this section often, as the list of exceptions to Basic style guide punctuation rules and special, additional rules may grow with time.
Colons and Semicolons
Generally, colons and semicolons should be used rarely, if ever, in a transcription. Stick to the most basic forms of punctuation whenever possible.

Verbatim Transcriptions

Because it’s necessary to capture nonverbal and verbal nuances in verbatim transcriptions, the style requirements are somewhat more complex than those of Basic Transcriptions.
False starts, filler, repetitive phrasing and slang should be included in the transcripts. If the speaker clearly says "cuz," then write "cuz" and not "cause."
Punctuation should be accurate, but do not make any grammatical changes to the transcript.
Sound Events that Do Not Interrupt Dialogue
In verbatim transcriptions, indicate every time an unobtrusive sound event (typing noises) occurs, even if it does not interrupt dialogue. For example:
Correct
[typing sounds]
Johnnie:
That was the day I knew I would become a clown.
[typing sounds]
Barbera:
That’s fascinating.
[typing sounds]
Filler Words and Statements
Retain filler statements such as “ugh”, “um”, “yeah” and so on in your transcription. For example:
Correct
Randy:
Yeah, that would work.
Conjunctions that Start a Sentence
Retain conjunctions that start a sentence. For example:
Correct
Johnson:
And he just flew away.
False Sentence Starts
Write out false sentence starts verbatim. For example:
Correct
Johnson:
And I think, I think I would like the steak tonight.
Special Punctuation Rules and Exceptions
You will need to use specialized punctuation and apply more common punctuation in unique ways to capture some of the nuances in verbatim speech. Please refer to this list in lieu of the CrowdSource Style Guide in most cases, with one exception listed below.
Basic Punctuation (periods, capital letters, etc.)
At the most basic level, you need to use appropriate punctuation, even in verbatim transcription. For example:
  • A period ends a sentence or sentence fragment or phrase, unless the person is cut off. You’ll read more about that in the Abrupt Speaker Shifts section.
  • The first letter in each new sentence or in a new fragment is capitalized.
  • Commas are applied where they normally would be under Basic Transcription circumstances unless something about the speech calls for one to be omitted or included.
Stutters and Repetition
Indicate a stutter mid word or the unnecessary repetition of a word with a hyphen. For example:
Correct
Joey:
So I-I'm clairvoyant, and I'll be watching what I call a TV screen that goes on in-in my mind throughout the whole reading.
Speaker Pauses
To indicate a mid-statement pause, use an em dash (—) with a space before and after. For example:
Correct
Christine:
Wait a second — did you hear that?
Abrupt Speaker Shifts and Ensuing Sentence Fragments
As with Basic Transcriptions, use an em dash to indicate a sudden change of speaker (as would happen if he or she were interrupted) or to set off a sentence fragment from a subsequent complete sentence. For example:
Correct
Tim:
I love it. Okay, so let me just explain to you again, um, you know, how I'm — just get my information, and then we'll just jump right into it, okay?
Speaker Trailing Off
If a speaker trails off in the middle of a thought, use ellipses (...) to indicate that the speaker has left the thought unfinished. This is different from an abrupt speaker shift because the speaker does not finish the thought and does not change thoughts. For example:
Correct
Stumpkin:
Oh it’s beautiful. And uh learning about the Medicis was just great. It was just...