how to transcribe video

How to get audio/video transcribed – speech recognition & manual transcription programs

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There are lots of ways to get a piece of audio or video transcribed. In this article we’ll outline several options to help you get the job done efficiently. Some of these tools will allow you to outsource the job to someone else (hire a company) and other options use automated technology or to transcribe the talking yourself.

Options to get audio/video transcribed

DIY transcription tools to transcribe video/audio quickly

InqScribe – Inqscribe is a professional video/audio transcription tool available for both Mac and Windows computers. It allows you to load in a piece of video or audio on one side of the screen and type a transcript of what’s said on the other half of the window.

Inqscribe has a lot of creature comforts to help transcribe audio quickly:

  • Allows you to customize play/rewind/insert a person’s name and other shortcut keys
  • Allows for insertion of time stamps very easily so you know when an item is said in a long transcript
  • Allows for variable speed playback (i.e. play back at half speed so you can type faster, etc)
  • Multiple transcript format export options

Inqscribe is one of the most common professional transcription software tools used for a variety of tasks: medical transcription, transcription of video for documentary filmmakers, speech transcription, and so forth.

You can also get a transcription foot pedal for use with Inqscribe to make your transcription even faster. This foot pedal can control play, fast forward and rewind options.

Video/text transcription services

Rev Rev is a full service transcription company that offers several options.

Rev offers: transcription, closed captions, foreign subtitles, and translation for a very competitive fee. You can get your subtitles done in many, many different formats. If you’re looking for closed captions for television or just about any format of subtitles, they’re able to do it at a reasonable price. Here are some of the formats they offer:

SubRip (.srt)
Scenarist (.scc) 29.97 fps
MacCaption (.mcc)
Timed Text (.ttml)
Quicktime Timed Text (.qt.txt)
Transcript (.txt)
WebVTT (.vtt)
DFXP (.dfxp)
Cheetah .CAP (.cap)
Spruce Subtitle File (.stl)
Avid DS Subtitle File (.txt)
Avid DVD Subtitle File (.txt)
Facebook ready SubRip (.srt)
XML (.xml) is interchangeable with Timed Text => please order .ttml
Want something else? Email us.

Rev’s turnaround is pretty fast and they offer rush transcription and translation services as well (and you can select time stamp options too). If you need captions for YouTube, Facebook etc, Rev is a great service for that. Our experience with Rev transcription has been great.

Automated audio transcription tools

Scribie Automated or human-assisted transcription services can transcribe text faster than any human is able to and because they’re operated by computer they’re available at even lower prices than human-assisted transcription. Because it’s automated in the cloud, a service like Scribie can offer the cheapest transcription service.

Scribie offers:

  • Discount transcription and rush transcription
  • Recording and transcription of conference calls
  • Speaker tracking (the name or initials of the person speaking can appear before the transcript of the paragraph of them speaking)
  • Time stamping
  • Subtitle files
  • Various transcript format options
  • 99% accuracy rate

Scribie even offers team accounts if you’re a business and you’ve got multiple people managing transcription orders.

Otter is another new up and coming voice to text transcription program that has various options and is worth checking out too.

Frequently asked questions about transcription

What is the fastest way to get transcription done?

The fastest way to get audio or video transcribed is by hiring a service like Scribie and uploading your files there and selecing rush turnaround. You will be able to get audio transcribed within a couple of hours at a reasonable rate.

What are the pros/cons of transcribing footage yourself vs paying to get it transcribed professionally?

Pros of transcribing yourself: You probably know the people’s names and you know any special lingo or terms they’re using so you won’t make those types of mistakes that a service might make (although you can sometimes tell them some terms or the spellings of people’s names that they’ll encounter in advance). You also have full control of your material if you’re transcribing something sensitive with privacy concerns so that peace of mind can be important. Depending on how much audio you have to transcribe, it might be cheaper to transcribe yourself rather than farming it out to a pro service.

Pros of hiring a transcription service: The turnaround time with transcription services is typically very fast these days, with rush transcription available for even faster delivery. Professional transcription will also give you options for various file formats, some of which are harder to make on your own. Hiring a transcription service will also free you up to work on other things as opposed to working on transcription yourself because it can be quite time consuming and tiring. Pro transcriptionists can usually type much faster than you can, with better software too.

What format should transcripts be in for YouTube? What is the Facebook transcription format?

Here’s a Facebook ready SubRip format (.srt) example which can be created as a plain text file in many text editing programs:

00:00:00,187 –> 00:00:02,958
(airplane jet engine)

00:00:02,958 –> 00:00:07,474
(bright music plays)

00:00:09,474 –> 00:00:11,120
– Really just stumbled
on them through a website

YouTube can also accept SRT files as well as a variety of other subtitle file formats.

What are some common reasons for transcribing audio?

There are lots of reasons why you might need a text transcription of audio or video. Here are some examples:

  • Transcriptions of footage for documentary filmmaking and editing
  • Courtroom transcriptions for legal purposes
  • Transcripts of conference calls
  • Medical instruction transcripts for doctors and other hospital personnel
  • Transcripts of board meetings
  • Transcripts of interviews by journalists
  • Podcast transcription to make your content findable via search engines like Google
  • Transcription for subtitle purposes for foreign language material
  • Transcription for subtitle purposes for people with hearing impairments


What are the steps to make a documentary film? How to make a documentary

What does a documentary script look like? How to write a script for a documentary film

How to Easily Add Subtitles/Closed Captions to Video Using Adobe Premiere Pro

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