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If no other format is desired by the client, we use our standard format (sample below): Microsoft Word; 12 pt. New Times Roman; bolded and centered title block with any relevant speaker, organization, or event information; paginated at the bottom of the page; justified lines with 1-inch margins; single spacing, with double spaces between speaker changes and paragraph breaks. First and last names are used to identify a speaker in the first instance; last name only is used thereafter.  Any unknown speakers are identifed as either MALE or FEMALE.  


John Doe Associates
Speakers:  John Doe, Joe Green
August 23, 2011
Transcript Provided By:  Stellar Transcripts


JOE GREEN:  Thanks for doing this interview.

JOHN DOE:  Sure, no problem. I'm happy to help.

GREEN:  Can you provide me with a little personal background information? For example, where did you grow up?

DOE:  I grew up in Brooklyn. I had a great childhood. My parents are still together.



We offer two kinds of transcription:  verbatim and semi-verbatim.  Verbatim is appropriate for those who want an exact word-for-word transcript.  Semi-verbatim may benefit those who want a transcript with a smoother read.

We do not offer major sentence restructuring, editing, or summarization/paraphrasing.



  • Repeated words

  • Meaningless one- and two-word interruptions

  • Um, uh

  • Superfluous "filler" words

  • Brief affirming interruptions

  • Superfluous verbal pauses

  • False starts

  • The transcript is identical word-for-word to every word spoken in the audio




  • Repeated words (but leaving in “emphasis words,” such as:  “very, very”)

  • Meaningless one- and two-word interruptions, such as:  "So you -- " or "Oh, but --"

  • Um, uh

  • Superfluous "filler" words, such as:  "you know" or "I mean"

  • Brief affirming interruptions from someone who is just listening to someone else speak (such as an interviewer), such as:  "yeah, uh-huh, mm-hmm, oh, ah, right, okay, sure, I see, great, wow, got it, absolutely, exactly, certainly, precisely, indeed, of course."  However, these words are included if they are in direct response to a question, in affirmation, or in agreement, such as:   "Uh-huh, right.  I do like dogs," or if followed by a direct question or comment, such as:  "Great.  Right, okay.  So did you have a good childhood?"

  • Superfluous verbal pauses that do not function as a brief affirmation and become excessive, such as:  "Uh-huh, right, okay.  If we move on to, okay, the next slide, okay, yeah, you'll see five bullet points, okay?"  Instead:  "If we move on to the next slide, you'll see five bullet points."

  • Omission or cleanup of brief, meaningless false starts, such as:   "But that -- so that's where I stand on the issue."  Instead:  "So that's where I stand on the issue."  "No, he -- no, I told him the project was complete."  Instead:  "No, I told him the project was complete."  However, we distinguish between meaningless false starts and fragments that are meaningful to the entire context of the sentence, contribute to the overall '"sense" of what someone is trying to say, or are part of a larger sentence, such as:  "Homelessness must -- this is a big problem in L.A.," or  "It's true -- yes, exactly -- that the economy has taken a downturn."  We will opt to leave false starts in when their relevance is more ambiguous, or the speech is unusually fragmented overall.



  • (inaudible) to indicate both inaudible (can't be heard) and unintelligible (can be heard, but can't be understood)

  • (cross-talk) for cases of significant unintelligible interruption (otherwise using (inaudible) for brief interruptions)

  • (ph) when we’re unsure of a spelling

  • (sic) for glaring factual or grammatical inaccuracies (used sparingly, particularly for non-native English speakers)

  • (sp) when we’re unsure of the spelling of a common name, such as Cate/Kate

  • (technical) when there is an issue with the microphone, camera, or recording device setup--not transcribed

  • (non-interview) for off-topic chit chat that does not pertain to the interview, such as exchanges with support staff or crew, chit chat about scheduling, lunch breaks, and taking private phone calls in the middle of an interview, etc.--not transcribed

  • (cries), (sings), (laughs), (sighs), (gasps), (snaps fingers), (claps) to indicate emotion, mood, or to emphasize a point

  • (phone rings) or any other background noise only if it impacts the dialogue, such as:  "While walking my dog last weekend -- (phone rings) -- oh, excuse me.  That must be my sister.  She's always bothering me about something." 


We use the double hyphen for clear fragments, interruptions, and shifts of thought.  We use punctuation according to the highest standards of the English language to help parse informal speech for the benefit of the reader.

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