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Here’s a quick(ish) way to transcribe YouTube videos

Here’s a quick(ish) way to transcribe YouTube videos

If you upload your own videos to YouTube, it’s a good idea to write a blog to go with it. This has search engine optimisation (SEO) benefits because for any visual or audible media like videos, the best way to help Google out is to provide some text.

Filming and editing videos is time consuming as it is though, so it might feel like sitting down and typing up a blog to go with it is duplicate work. Remember, though, that if you’ve filmed a video and it features a script or dialogue, you already have a lot of “content” made. A fairly quick solution is to get an audio transcript of the words spoken in the video and edit it into something presentable.

Here’s how you can do this with a YouTube video you’ve uploaded:

1. Log into YouTube and click ‘Your Videos’ from the left-hand column. This will take you to your YouTube Studio
2. Again in the left-hand column, click ‘Content’. You should then see a list of your videos
3. Click on the thumbnail image for the video you want a transcript of
4. Click ‘Subtitles’ from the left-hand column. You should then see options that look something like the below, with ‘English (Automatic)’ being one of them

5. Click the option to ‘Duplicate and Edit’
6. You should then see an auto-generated transcript of your video, which you can copy and paste into a Word document

Be warned though that you shouldn’t expect to have something you can simply copy and paste into your blog on WordPress without some serious editing. The problem is not so much accuracy, with YouTube’s speech-to-text capabilities actually being highly impressive. You’ll probably find that unless there’s some major mumbling going on, the transcript has accurately picked up just about everything except obscure names, such as small towns or little-known brands.

If anything, the issue is that the transcript is TOO accurate, detecting all the “ums”, “ers”, “wells” and “you knows” we use in everyday conversational speech. It serves as a reminder of how different spoken and written English can be, and that something that sounds fine when spoken – helped by pitch, speed, intonation, facial expressions, hand gestures and so on – can make little sense when written down.

It’s also not ideal that all you get is a block of text with no punctuation, no capitalisations and no paragraph breaks. So you will have to cast your eyes over it carefully and work out where the commas and full stops need to go, perhaps listening to the video at times to make sense of the words you have in front of you.

So, it’s a bit of a gristly way of eking a written piece out of a video, but it’s still likely to be quicker than putting something together from scratch. If you need help with either written or video content, get in touch with our friendly team at Engage Web.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray

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