This is part 2 in an ongoing series on transcripts and captions for videos and podcasts. Check out the first post in the series, Benefits of Transcripts and Captions for Your Videos and Podcasts. Other posts for the series are listed at the end of this post.
In part 1 of this series, I explained the benefits of providing transcripts and captions for your videos and podcasts: increased visibility on search engines, translation into other languages, improved accessibility, and longer viewing time.
Now that you know the benefits of captions and transcripts for your videos and podcasts, let’s take a look at the options you have available: do-it-yourself or outsource.
You’ve created your own website, podcasts, and videos. It shouldn’t be that hard to create your own transcripts and captions, right?
While creating captions and transcripts for your videos and podcasts yourself may seem to be an effective and efficient method, you need to be aware of several factors that may impact the end result.
- Was the podcast/video produced using a transcript?
If it’s not a live video or podcast, you likely created a transcript for your recording. Which makes the task of adding the transcript and/or captions a lot easier. If you didn’t have a transcript, you’ll need to create one, preferably in a text editor or Word document.
- How comfortable are you learning a process that requires frequent iterations?
Captions are the text of the audio in a video or podcast. For a video, captions are synchronized, which can take repeated efforts to ensure the text matches the timing in the video.
- What time do you have available?
If you have a transcript for a podcast, it’s relatively straightforward and quick to add the transcript to the podcast you publish online. If you don’t have a transcript for the podcast, you’ll need to create one (see item 1).
For video, expect to spend five-six times the amount of time on the video to synchronize the transcript to the video and to review the video before posting. Example: for a one-hour long video, plan to spend five-six hours.
For the WordPress 3.9 announcement video, a video that was just over two minutes long, I spent 15 minutes creating the transcript, adding and synchronizing the captions, and reviewing the video before it was published.
- How soon do you need it?
Creating the captions and transcripts takes time out of your normal work day. Whether you’re a business owner, web developer, designer, blogger, content strategist, or user experience professional, you have other tasks and priorities for your projects. Can you set aside the time to create captions and transcripts, add them to podcasts and videos, and test them to ensure accuracy?
If you feel prepared to handle the captions and transcripts yourself, stay tuned. I’ll share information and resources about do-it-yourself captions and transcripts in a future post in this series.
As you look to outside sources for captions and transcripts, you’ll want to consider their experience, quality, turnaround time, cost, and be aware of what your needs are. Will you want a transcript and captions? Do you need to meet certain compliance regulations or accommodate a website user with specific needs?
Once you’ve identified your needs, you’ll have several options for outsourcing your captions and transcripts:
- Individual transcription consultants
- Captioning and transcription vendors
You might be surprised to discover there are people who create transcripts and captions for free. That’s how transcripts and captions are added to TED talks. TED announced their plan for transcripts and captions five years ago, putting the translation tools into the hands of their users. And their users have come through, providing captions and transcripts in multiple languages for TED talks.
If you’re hosting videos on YouTube, Amara offers crowdsourced captions for all your YouTube videos. You’ll need to create an Amara account and link it to your YouTube account.
Once the two accounts are linked, your YouTube videos will display on your Amara profile, where you can invite others to help you add captions. The captioned video on Amara is automatically synced back to YouTube.
Individual Transcription Consultants
Consultants have been providing medical transcriptions for years. And you likely have several medical transcriptionists in your hometown or nearby. Transcribers are very affordable, quick, and great at transcribing. For a short video (two-five minutes), you may find your costs to be less than $10 (USD).
You can search online for transcribers, they’re often listed on Craigslist. But one of the better sources for local transcribers will be your doctor’s office, or local hospital. Contact them to find out who they use for transcriptions.
Captioning and Transcription Vendors
Many vendors offer captioning and transcription services for podcasts and videos. The vendors are web-based, providing you the opportunity to submit your files online, and receive the transcription and captions online.
Before selecting a vendor, you’ll want to identify what your needs are. Here are a few questions you’ll to answer about your content before contacting a vendor:
- What format is the content in? MP3? Windows Media?
- Where will you publish your audio/video? YouTube? Vimeo? Another site or platform?
- Is your content for a specialized or unique topic? If it is a unique topic, you want to provide a glossary of terms, acronyms, and phrases to the vendor. Depending on the topic, your transcript/captions may require a trained transcriber.
- Will you supply the transcript or will the vendor?
- If the vendor supplies the transcript, be aware many vendors use speech recognition technology as a first pass for creating captions and transcripts.
- What are is your turnaround requirement? Vendors will charge more for a quick (24-hour) turnaround. If you can wait longer, you’ll find better pricing options.
If working with a captioning and transcription vendor makes more sense for your project, stay tuned. I’ll share information about vendors in a future post in this series.
Hopefully this post has provided you the information you need to make a decision on whether to do-it-yourself or outsource your transcripts and captions.
Captions and Transcripts for Videos and Podcasts Series
- Benefits of Transcripts and Captions for Your Videos and Podcasts
- Transcripts and Captions: Do It Yourself or Outsource? (this post)
- Do-It-Yourself Transcripts and Captions
- Captioning and Transcription Vendors
- Learning More About Captions and Transcripts