As I read my Twitter stream this morning, a tweet from Poynter captured my attention:
— Poynter (@Poynter) July 31, 2017
An online transcription service that quickly transcribes audio files, how did I miss this news last May?
The influx of so many visitors to Happy Scribe crashed their site.
I’m not surprised. Transcribing interviews is one task that many journalists don’t enjoy doing. Who wouldn’t want to find a way to do it quickly and for free?
Do-It-Yourself Transcripts Take Time
Getting transcripts of interviews, presentations, or talks is a time-consuming and tedious process. I’ve done it myself and written about do-it-yourself transcripts.
For each minute of audio, you can expect to spend five to six minutes creating the transcription. A transcript for a five-minute interview becomes 25-30 minutes of work.
Over the years, I’ve changed from creating my own transcripts to sending them to a third-party service.
It’s more cost and time-efficient for me. And that’s what I recommend to others who ask me about transcripts.
Initially launched in May by college students André Bastié and Marc Assens as a free tool, Happy Scribe is now a paid service that automatically transcribes audio files. It uses the Google Speech API to create the transcripts.
I haven’t used it yet, but I plan to later this week.
At a cost of 10 cents a minute (minimum charge of 65 cents) with a turnaround time of less than 30 minutes for an hour-long file, I can see the service becoming very popular for journalists, podcasters, and anyone creating videos.
According to the Happy Scribe website, it’s a three-step process to create your transcript:
- Upload your audio file
- Get the transcript
- Edit your transcript
Note step 3: Edit your transcript. Since Happy Scribe is an automatic transcription service, the transcript you receive may require additional editing.
Happy Scribe is aware of limitations, and shares steps you can take to improve the quality and accuracy of your transcript:
Record your audio in quiet space to limit the background noise
Keep the microphone close to the speaker
Be careful with Phone and Skype recordings
Be careful with heavy accent
Those are similar suggestions I’ve given to colleagues and friends about transcript quality: taking the time to create a high-quality recording will result in a high-quality transcript.
Happy Scribe and Video Transcripts
I chatted online today with Marc Assens, one of the Happy Scribe creators, to ask about the process for getting transcripts for videos.
Assens explained that the first step is to convert the video to audio using the free Online Video Converter, which supports a wide range of video sites, including YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook, and more.
Once you’ve uploaded the audio file and transcript has been created, you can export the transcripts as a .txt file.
To add the transcript to your video, you’ll need to upload the .txt file to YouTube, or whatever video hosting site you use.
At this time, Happy Scribe only offers export of the transcript in .txt format. They are considering other export formats, based on customer requests.
My Thoughts on Happy Scribe
Happy Scribe looks to be a fantastic option for getting transcripts for your audio and video. Read today’s Poynter article for a first-person account of their experience creating a transcript.
I can’t wait to try out Happy Scribe later this week, and I plan to share my experience soon on this blog. I’ve also asked a couple journalism colleagues if they would try it and share their experience with me.
Shout out to André Bastié and Marc Assens for creating such a useful online tool!
Have you used Happy Scribe for creating transcripts? What did you think of their service?