Transcribing Video to Text

Why, What, Who and How?

In this day and age, video transcription services are becoming a more common need, for instance, closed captions are a legal requirement for TV in the USA.

Briefly, video transcription is the process of taking the audio from a video and converting the video to text. This can be in the format of captions/subtitles on the actual video, or a transcript that is provided alongside the video (this tends to be for legal documents or as reference material).

Closed caption and subtitles are methods of displaying text on a television, video screen or any other visual display system.  This can be either verbatim (including all the ums and ahs) or intelligent verbatim (removing all the stutters and non-verbal communication – just leaving what is said).


Video content is officially the biggest marketing format in existence with over 1 billion hours of video consumed daily (what happened to people picking a book up?) – so if your kids say that they’ve learned how to cook a vegan chilli without ever setting foot in your kitchen, the likelihood is that someone has made a video on YouTube and showed them how to. Adding YouTube subtitles or closed captions do two things. Firstly, it adds production value and gives the video a professional look. Secondly, it doesn’t prevent those who are hard of hearing from watching your video.  It’s not just YouTube though, Amazon Prime video subtitles, Facebook Live captions, Instagram video closed captions and numerous movies come equipped with closed captions nowadays to improve accessibility.

If, like the rest of the world, you are a business that uses videos to convey messages, a completed transcript goes along way to improve that video’s search engine optimisation (SEO) or in layman’s terms, improve the video’s position on Google. Video searching is somewhat limited and relies heavily on written content attached to the video file to enhance its Google ranking and in turn, get more views. Just imagine, spending lots of money and time on a nice new video to sell your service and it sits on page 17 of Google where no one sees it.

On a separate note, using a transcript instead of the video makes sense if your using the video as a topic of a discussion in a board meeting. This way, you have a permanent frame of reference, rather than constantly referring to a specific part of the video.


Accuro have been asked to transcribe video to text from YouTube videos for court purposes, where an individual is claiming injury, yet is seen running a 10km, signed up for a half marathon and climbed Mount Snowdon within months of a ‘so-called’ neck and back injury occurring. No, we’re not lying!

Higher education providers who run online courses use visual transcription services a great deal in the run up to a new term to produce introduction videos and offer a recording of lectures (also known as lecture capture). As part of most universities’ diversity policies, lectures have to include subtitles and closed captions to cater for all students.

In short, video transcription services can be used for anything that you need a permanent record of, where a video likely requires internet access and/or can be deleted at any time.


Using a visual transcription service for the first time can be daunting. A lot of companies out there offer ‘free’ or quick turnarounds. A lot of these companies use a piece of software to convert the audio in to text using voice recognition software which is still a new technology – it struggles with background noise, accents and in general produces a low quality conversion – just look at the automatic subtitles on YouTube!

The guidelines we would recommend are as follows:

  1. Are they based in the same country you are? (Accents can be a pain at the best of times).
  2. Do they have a large base of typists to transcribe the video to text?
  3. Have they done it before, and do they have references?
  4. How long will it take them? Be wary if they say they can turn it around extremely fast – the transcript accuracy might not be great.
  5. Value – don’t sign into any contracts if you only need a few videos doing, you should be looking to pay a ‘per minute of video’ rate – anything over £2.00 per minute and you could be getting fleeced – always enquire!


Now you’ve got your new fancy video ready to be transcribed. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Choose a provider – see the ‘Who’ paragraph when considering all suppliers.
  2. Send them a digital version of your video (.mp4 tends to be the most common file type).
  3. Sit back and wait (no longer than 48 hours) for your transcript to be sent to you.

To learn more about how Accuro’s experienced services can help your business or organisation, click here or call a member of our team in our head office on 01565 748000. Our team will always be available to ensure that all of queries are answered and you can make an informed decision on your video transcription.

Share this post