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Transcripts on the Web:
Getting people to your podcasts and videos

It's easy and relatively inexpensive for website developers to provide transcripts for multimedia. In many cases transcripts are required by law to provide access to information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Transcripts are an SEO silver bullet for audio and video, and bring more people to your podcast, videos, and website.

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Benefits: More people get your audio and video info with transcripts online

People who might not listen to the audio or watch the video

More traffic to your info

How to get or make transcripts

Options for getting a transcript include: paying someone to make the transcript (which is usually the best option), using speech recognition software, and typing the transcript yourself.

There are many services that transcribe audio files and provide the transcript in HTML format. Costs depend on quality and turn-around time, which ranges from hours to weeks. You can get a good English transcript starting at $1.00 per minute of audio – e.g., $10.00 for a 10-minute podcast.

If it's important that the transcript is accurate, you'll probably need to proof it and make a few minor fixes, unless you've paid for a high quality review.

See the transcription services page.

Use speech recognition software

Using speech recognition software, such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, might be a viable option if you have a lot of media with a single speaker, such as a regular podcast that is mostly you speaking. Such software requires "training" for a particular voice, so if your audio is interviews with different people, this won't work as well. Keep in mind that any software-only option will require more editing to correct mistakes.

Type the transcript yourself

Unless you are an excellent typist, doing it yourself is likely to be frustrating. It's probably worth paying someone else to do it. If you do it yourself, plan for it to take at least three times as long as the audio to type it up – e.g., half an hour for a 10-minute podcast.

There is free software that can help by slowing down the text and providing easy pause buttons, such as Express Scribe Transcription Playback Software.

Best practices

Best practices for the audio

Best practices for the transcript

Bottom line: Transcripts are required

Podcasts, videos, and other audio files must include a transcript in order to be accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you don't provide a transcript for your audio files, you are discriminating against some people, preventing them from getting the information.

Providing a text alternative for your audio is required by law in some cases; in others, it's just the smart thing to do.

Beyond transcripts

For most podcasts, audio-only files, and "talking head" videos, a transcript is sufficient to provide minimum accessibility.

Captions are the text synchronized with the audio. Captions are important when people need to see what's happening in the video and get the audio information in text at the same time.

Even with videos that are only talking heads, it's nice to have captions so that a person who is deaf or hard of hearing can see facial expressions. Some people will even appreciate captions for audio-only files, for example, if they are hard of hearing or non-native speakers and would like to listen yet also have the text to fill in what they can't hear or understand.

When you provide captions, it is good to also provide a transcript in order to provide the benefits of transcripts to users, and reap the benefits yourself.

Sign language is useful for some people who are deaf. (Here are some neat videos that offer sign language option.)

For more info, see:

Resources and References

You are welcome to quote or link to this material if you clearly include the reference:

Transcripts on the Web. Henry, Shawn Lawton. 2009. http://www.uiaccess.com/transcripts/transcripts_on_the_web.html

Resources

References

In other words

What others have to say

"For a one-off recording like this, getting a transcription was an easy, inexpensive option." - Jeremy Keith

"Transcribing audio or video files into text is fast, affordable and beneficial." - Bill Cullifer, Executive Director, World Organization of Webmasters (WOW)

"I simply don’t have the time to waste on video when I can get the information in text." - Joe Dolson

Disclaimer

Resources and links are for information only, no endorsement implied.

Comments and Contributions

Comments on and contributions to this page are very welcome! transcripts@uiAccess.com

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