Why Transcripts are Critical For YouTube Videos

YouTube open on a desktop

Most companies have come to an understanding that YouTube opens the door to attracting a huge audience, with a massive 1.7 billion unique visitors per month. It can also claim the accolade of being the world’s second most visited website, only beaten by its parent company Google. 

YouTube is packed with every conceivable type of content including educational content, ‘how to’ videos, lifestyle content, and of course cat videos. Lots of cat videos. Over 90,000 cat-related videos get uploaded every day. The popularity of the platform and the breadth of the content provides a great opportunity for you to get your content in front of a large audience.

Now more businesses and individuals using YouTube are taking a moment to not only post but also transcribe the content they’re placing on the platform. YouTube video transcripts help to make their content more accessible and maximise their investment in the channel. 

Why you should be transcribing your YouTube videos

An accurate YouTube transcript is useful in its own right, as well as providing the ideal source for generating high-quality captions. Although YouTube is the largest platform the benefits of video transcription apply to all video content. You should also carry out Vimeo transcription, and transcribe all your webinars, Webex meetings, and videos across your social platforms. 

Accessibility for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing

One of the most important reasons for gaining a transcript of YouTube videos is to improve the accessibility of your content. 1.5 billion people across the globe live with some degree of hearing loss. If your content isn’t accessible, these people won’t be provided with an equitable experience or the opportunity to engage with it.  

Making your content accessible across any industry you serve is the right thing to do, but if you work in the public sector, it is a legal requirement under the EU Accessibility Directive to have subtitles or captions available for all video content. High-quality subtitles or captions start with an accurate transcription that transforms the speech into text. The transcript is then aligned to the relevant timings in the audio or video to create the captions and subtitles.  

Supporting those watching without sound

As well as making content accessible for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, there are many individuals who choose to watch videos without sound. This choice could stem from them not wanting to disturb others, being without headphones, being on the move or them being in an environment with lots of background noise. 22% of YouTube users access the site via a mobile device and may not have their sound on. It’s therefore key to ensure that the experience is optimised for smaller screens too.  

Regardless of the reason, transcribing your videos increases the opportunity for the most people to enjoy your content. Users can choose to read the transcript alongside the content to help them understand the message as well as using the search function to skip to the parts they are most interested in. 

YouTube app on a mobile phone

Appealing to non-native speakers

YouTube is used internationally, offering the opportunity to reach many target viewers throughout the world. Many viewers are unlikely to be fluent in the native language you’re posting your videos in. If reaching more international audiences is a priority for you, having a written form of the content via a transcript can help viewers to follow along and increase their understanding of the content. By transcribing your videos and offering these transcripts to viewers, you can improve the global appeal of your content. 

Ease of re-purposing your content

Transcribing your videos not only provides a benefit to those watching but to your company and workflow as well. A transcript of your video can make repurposing your content a breeze. When you’ve invested time and effort into producing YouTube content, it’s a waste if you don’t reuse that content as widely as possible. A written version of the speech makes it quick to easily search and pull out quotes or identify shorter clips to post on social media – the possibilities are endless. 

Supporting your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts

Unfortunately, video and audio content can’t be indexed by search engines. However, transcripts can be indexed. Uploading a transcript can help with your SEO efforts and boost the visibility and discoverability of your video content. You can also use the transcript of your YouTube videos on your website to further support your SEO efforts. The transcript can easily be indexed like other text on your site and provides an alternative for those who prefer the written word over video. 

Is there a way to transcribe a YouTube video?

YouTube offers some in-built tools for transcription. This is a great initiative to promote more accessible content but be warned, it’s far from perfect. The YouTube transcription tool and automatic captioning usually only provide around 60-70% accuracy. In other words, up to 1 in 3 words can be wrong! The results are clearly not accurate enough to be useful for viewers who rely on accurate transcripts for accessibility. It also can make your brand come off as unprofessional.  

Although often the mistakes might be harmless, they can hurt your reputation, as well as the one you hold with individuals with disabilities. In some cases, a typo in the CEO’s name or something more offensive could occur. If you do decide the auto-generated route is the best option for you, make sure you check the content and edit the transcripts manually before you make them visible to the world! 

If you want to avoid the blushes, you should consider a professional YouTube transcription service instead. Take Note and other companies provide professional transcripts you can rely on over Automatic Speech Recognition Services (ASR) services, which also suffer from accuracy issues. Solutions like Take Note can offer you accuracy levels of around 99% for greater peace of mind. 

How to transcribe YouTube videos 

YouTube offers a variety of ways to transcribe your YouTube videos which can be carried out when you’re logged in to YouTube Studio. 

1. Upload a file 

This is the best option if your priorities are accessibility and accuracy. It allows you to directly upload a professional transcription file which is then converted into captions automatically using the available timestamps. This file will also be used as the official YouTube video transcript which is available to view by users.  

Professional services, like Take Note, will deliver the transcription for captions and subtitles as an SRT file, which is compatible with YouTube. 

2. Auto-sync 

The auto-sync option allows you to type in your transcript or copy and paste the details all at once. The timing of the transcript is then automatically synced to the video content. There is an option to adjust the timings if required. 

Although this might seem like an appealing option as you can be in control of the content, carrying out the transcription yourselves is a very time-consuming task. Professional transcribers are able to produce transcripts far quicker and more accurately than the average person. Outsourcing is a great option and frees you up to work on other tasks. 

3. Type manually 

The last option is to type the transcript manually or to copy and paste from an existing transcription as the content plays. This process has similar pitfalls to auto-sync if carrying out the transcription yourself, and it’s a fiddly process to input the text. If using this option, the subtitle and caption timings will automatically be set by YouTube.  

For all the available options, it is possible to add the transcript during the upload process or to go and edit the video at a later stage. So, if you’ve got some existing videos without a transcript, it’s not too late! 

How to get a transcript of a YouTube video?

The most user-friendly way to add a transcript to your YouTube videos is to upload a transcript file to the YouTube platform. However, you’ll need an accurate YouTube video transcript to ensure the final result is accessible. 

Using a professional transcription service, such as Take Note, is the most efficient way to get a high-quality file which is ready to be uploaded. ASR solutions may look appealing due to potentially lower costs and fast turnaround times, but the transcripts will not be accurate enough to use immediately and will require extensive editing. Experienced transcribers not only produce an accurate transcript quickly, they’re also familiar with formatting requirements you may need. 

In the case of Take Note, to gain a transcript you simply need to upload your video content to the fully encrypted online portal and choose the ‘Captions’ option. Your file will be delivered in an SRT format ready to upload to YouTube. 

Can you get transcripts of YouTube videos? 

As a viewer, there are several ways you’re able to understand the content further by seeing a text version or transcript of YouTube videos. 

If a transcript has been made available by the owner of the video you can select to view this by clicking on the 3 dots under the video, and selecting ‘Show transcript’. 

Screenshot of how to view Transcript in YouTube

On a desktop, this will show the transcript to the side of the video. You’ll also notice these are searchable transcripts allowing you to jump straight to the moments of interest in the video – very handy! 

If you’d like a copy of the transcript, you can simply copy and paste the content from the transcription window into the word editor of your choice. Currently, there isn’t a direct option to download YouTube transcripts 

Screenshot of Transcript in YouTube

If available on the selected video, you can also choose to turn on closed captions/subtitles.

Screenshot of Closed Captions and subtitle option in YouTube

The text will appear on the video screen as you watch. If you see the text without turning on this option it means the owner of the video has added captions, which in essence are burnt into the video and can’t be switched off. 

YouTube transcripts boost the chances of your content being found and understood for greater inclusion. Plus, having access to transcripts makes your content more actionable internally in order to repurpose it. To get an instant quote on how Take Note can help to provide you with high-quality, accurate and secure YouTube transcription services, reach out to us today. 

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Kat Hounsell