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How to transcribe your YouTube videos



Video transcription is the process of translating your video’s audio into text. This is done with automatic speech recognition technology, human transcriptionists, or a combination of the two.

YouTube automatically generates a written transcript for every single video uploaded to its website, to which anyone has access unless the user manually hides it from viewers.

However, the problem with allowing YouTube itself to provide a transcription of your video is that, more often than not, the YouTube transcription is inaccurate. In many cases, the auto-generated text bears only a passing resemblance to what was actually said.

That is why it is important for video owners and creators to produce their own transcripts, so that the most accurate version of your video is available for the search engines to crawl. In addition, there are distinct SEO advantages in terms of identifying and highlighting keywords that are important to your business, product or marketing campaigns.

The benefits of adding a transcript to your videos

There are a number of benefits associated with adding a transcript to your YouTube videos. These include:

1. Benefits the hard of hearing

Unfortunately, not everybody is gifted with perfect hearing. Providing a transcript enables your videos to be enjoyed by those who are either deaf or hearing impaired.

Hearing Aid

2. Improves the User Experience

Providing a video transcript is a reliable way to improve user experience on your site.  For example:

  • A student watching a video lecture can use the transcript as a study guide;
  • A journalist can report on recorded events, lift direct quotes, and ensure correct spelling of proper names; and
  • A researcher can quickly find information on a specific topic even if it is buried within hours of footage.

3. Increases your SEO power

Transcripts allow small business owners to take advantage of keyword-rich text and be more strategic about the videos they are creating. By surrounding the video with relevant text, you make the search engines happy by giving them content to index, and you make users happy when your content suddenly becomes easier to find.

Search engines cannot watch a video or listen to audio, but they do index text. A transcript enables search engines to ingest your multimedia content and index it accordingly.

One study by Liveclicker compared 37 web pages before and after adding transcripts. Pages with transcripts earned on average 16% more revenue than they did before transcripts were added.

SEO concept on a shirt

4. It attracts the skimmers

Whether you like it or not, not everyone will be interested in watching your video. They are busy and they just want the immediate facts. By creating a transcript to go along with your video, people do not have to watch it in order to benefit from the information. This may help you attract customers who are interested in learning more, but are not prepared to sit and watch a four-minute video. Some people prefer just to skim.

5. Provides content for people you are not able to watch video

Whether it is because they’re accessing the content via a mobile device or there is an accessibility issue, creating a written transcript provides users an additional way to take in your information and engage with your brand. Without the transcript, they may just keep on going.

Tips for creating a transcript file

Transcripts are a simple way of creating captions. They only contain the text of what is said in the video and there is no need to enter any time codes. YouTube themselves recommend that transcripts work best with videos that are less than an hour long with good sound quality and clear speech. The transcript file needs to be in the same language that is spoken in the video.

The text of what was said in your video needs to be saved as a plain text file (.txt). You can convert other formats (like Microsoft Word, HTML, PDF) into a plain text file or you can use native programs on your computer like TextEdit or Notepad.

In order to get the best results, use these formatting tips:

  • Use a blank line to force the start of a new caption.
  • Use square brackets to designate background sounds. For example, [music] or [laughter].
  • Add >> to identify speakers or change of speaker.

It is also important to optimise your script or dialogue.

One of the biggest benefits of creating a transcript to go along with your video is that it allows you to include keyword-rich text that users and the search engines can use to find you. However, you cannot use those keywords if they are not in the video. That means you need to do your keyword research beforehand to know which terms you want to appear for and make sure you use them in the video.

How to transcribe a YouTube Video

Once you have created a transcript file, you must upload it to your video, following these nine steps.

  1. Sign in to your YouTube account.
  2. Click your username in the upper-right corner followed by “Video Manager” in the drop-down menu.
  3. Click the icon of an arrow next to the video to which you are adding the transcript file.
  4. Click “Captions and Subtitles.”
  5. Click “Add New Captions or Transcript” on the right side of the screen.
  6. Click “Browse.” Select the transcript file you created earlier.
  7. Click the button next to “Transcript File” under “Type.”
  8. Select the language of the transcript file.
  9. Click “Upload File” to add your transcript to your video. When your video plays, the transcription is available to view on it automatically.