Transcribing Webex Meetings

Wall with Productivity written on it

Cisco Webex has emerged as a big player in the video conferencing market, with 39 million users and 650 million monthly meeting participants. Webex is constantly evolving to keep up with the demands of hybrid working and support the calls, meetings and events of teams of all sizes.  

While virtual meetings continue to be the norm, teams are being challenged to deliver the most engaging and inclusive experiences possible for participants. Many companies are now turning to transcription of their Webex calls and events to help with engagement and drive their teams’ productivity upward. 

Why you should consider Webex transcription 

It’s common for important decisions and action points coming out of virtual calls to become lost without clear notes and agreed next steps. Rewatching the recording to retrieve important information is time-consuming and not ideal. Instead, having a Webex meeting transcript created can provide team members with a written record of what was said for easy reference and sharing. 

You may also be using Webex to host events, such as webinars. Converting the spoken dialogue into text that attendees can see live or read through after the fact can make these events more engaging and accessible. For example, individuals with learning disabilities or hearing loss can greatly benefit, as well as others who may be watching on mute. Having transcripts from these events will also help you post-event since the transcripts make the dialogue searchable so that quotes or clips can be pulled easily.  A Webex transcript from your event can also support your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts by allowing the written version to be indexed by Google and other search engines. 

Person on a Webex call on their mobile phone

How to transcribe Webex recordings 

Luckily, Webex audio transcriptions, as well as video ones, can be produced easily.  

Webex recording transcription is a straightforward process. There are two main options available to suit your requirements. 

  • Built-in service for Webex transcription, however, you’re likely to encounter accuracy issues 
  • Human or hybrid professional transcription services – high levels of accuracy delivered for accessibility and guaranteed turnaround times 

Built-in service for Webex transcription 

Webex provide a build-in service for transcribing the recording of your session. You’ll need to turn on both the recording and the transcription options. Your account administrator will have access to do this. After your meeting the MP4 recording will be used to provide a transcription using automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. As a machine is being used you should expect the transcript to have accuracy errors. You can download the transcript and correct the errors manually, but be warned, this is a time-consuming process. 

Human or hybrid professional transcription services 

Person transcribing a Webex call by typing on a keyboard

If you’re after an accurate transcript, you should use a Webex transcription service. High-quality services, such as Take Note, will provide you with a 99%+ accuracy guarantee and give you the option to include speaker identification and timestamps. Including these options helps you to easily see who said what and when, ideal for identifying and reviewing key moments in the session. You’ll also be able to select from a range of turnaround times and other customisation options to suit your budget and requirements.  

To use a professional service, you simply download the recording of your meeting from Webex and upload it to the platform of your chosen provider. Most services can accept a range of video and audio formats. They’ll alert you once the transcript has been produced to your specifications. The high accuracy levels delivered by professional services mean you’ll be able to use and share your transcript straightaway without the need for editing. 

How do I transcribe a meeting in Webex? 

Cisco Webex transcription is available in the Webex app. However, there are some caveats to be aware of.  

The Webex transcription software that’s available uses automatic speech recognition (ASR) to produce the transcript. ASR can produce a transcript quickly, but accuracy is likely to be a problem. If you want to be confident you can use the transcript without rigorous checking and editing or are aiming to provide transcripts as an accessibility solution, ASR is not the best option for you.  

In order to produce a transcript of your session through Webex, it also must be recorded in MP4 format. The transcript will then appear during the playback of the recording with the option to also download it. Note that the Webex post-meeting transcript feature is currently only available in English.  

If your subscription includes the transcription feature, you’ll need your Webex administrator to turn the functionality on. If you’re the administrator, head over to Webex and: 

  • Sign in and go to ‘Common Site Settings > Options. 
  • Navigate to ‘Site Options’. 
  • Check the ‘Create recording for all hosts’ MP4 recordings’ box 

You’ll also have the option to grant permission for individual users to choose whether a meeting requires a transcript or not.  

If you’re the meeting host, you can check you have the functionality turned on by going to your ‘Preferences > Recording > Create recording transcripts for all my MP4 recordings’.  

How do I get my transcription from a Webex recording? 

If you’ve selected the in-built Webex transcription option, you can obtain a copy of the transcript via your account. 

Here are the steps to follow: 

1, Sign in to your Webex account 

  1. Navigate to ‘Recordings’
  2. Find the relevant recording
  3. Check the ‘Download transcript (.vtt)’ option
  4. Click ‘Download’

The transcript will download in .vtt format which will allow you to open it with your chosen text editor. 

Please note, this transcription option is only available for video-centric MP4 recordings. If you’re using a different video format or only have an audio recording a transcription partner will be able to help. 

If you’ve uploaded your content to a professional transcription service, they will notify you when your transcript is ready. If using Take Note, you’ll be able to easily download the accurate output from the secure online portal. 

Security measures to keep in mind 

No matter which method you decide to use – automatic or professional transcription –security should be top of mind.

As your meetings are likely to often include confidential or sensitive information, you should ensure the service you select offers secure transcription. Secure services will provide an encrypted portal where you can upload your recording and download your completed transcript, alongside minimising content exposure and providing security expertise and certification.  

Take Note makes secure transcription easy via a fully encrypted portal. You simply upload your content and only the transcriber allocated to your project will have access. The transcriber carries out the transcription from within the portal, meaning your content never leaves the secure environment. Plus, we’re fully ISO accredited and have ISO 27001 and 9001 certificates that demonstrate our commitment to consistently delivering high-security standards. 

How do I enable real-time transcription in Webex? 

Cisco has recently introduced Webex assistant to provide you with Webex real-time transcription. It is an AI-powered aide to help you with taking notes, recording action items, creating highlights and setting reminders using the power of your voice. The set of features includes the option for real-time transcription and real-time translation into over 100 languages. Turning on Webex Assistant also provides you with access to closed captioning functionality. 

It’s worth testing out the Webex assistant before you use it for any important meetings as voice-activated technology isn’t always perfect. Desperately repeating “Webex transcribe” is likely to get you nowhere. 

Third-party services are also available that can integrate with Webex to provide you with a live transcript as the meeting happens.  

When word-for-word Webex transcripts aren’t needed 

There are times when you may not need full verbatim Webex meeting transcription. Word-for-word output is useful in many situations, but can be overkill in others. For example, if someone couldn’t attend a meeting, having to watch the whole recording or read through pages of text can be tedious. A summarised view can condense the information to include only the necessary details, stripping out filler words and irrelevant chatter.  

Take Note offers a meeting minutes service available through either a recording of the session or provided live with real-time notetaking. Minutes provide a third-person summary of the key discussion points, decisions and actions and are ideal for ensuring your meetings are productive and keep momentum.    

In order to make your calls on Webex more engaging and accessible to a variety of viewers, transcribing them can prove incredibly valuable. For an instant quote for transcription or meeting minutes from your Webex calls and events, reach out to Take Note today.  

Kat Hounsell