6 Easy Steps for Transcribing and Close-captioning a YouTube Video

6 Easy Steps for Transcribing and Close-captioning a YouTube VideoA couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post on how to grab a transcript while you record. I am now going to show you a simple 6-step process on how you can transcribe and close-caption a YouTube video.

The 6 steps are:

  • Record video
  • Upload video
  • Extract Audio
  • Get rough transcript
  • Clean up transcript
  • Auto synchronize transcript

Let’s look at each one of these steps.

Record video

The first thing that you’re going to want to do is record your video. This could be a video from a smartphone, an iPad, or one that you create on a video editing platform. You can also use a video that you find on YouTube, one that you need to transcribe in order to meet ADA requirements.

Upload video

Once you have recorded your video, the next step is to upload it to YouTube. As usual, you will add a title, a description, set privacy, add it to a playlist, and a variety of other things. At this point in time, the video is now available on YouTube; however, it lacks a closed-caption and a transcription. This we will take care of in the next step.

Extract audio

For the next step to work, you are going to need an audio file from your video. You could render this audio file directly from your video editing software. However, I prefer to download an audio file from YouTube, and I use a program called Anything2MP3. I like this program because it will allow me to extract an MP3 file from both YouTube and Vimeo videos.

You simply input the URL of your video into the field provided and wait for the resulting transcript.

Enter video URL in field provided and click on the convert button.

Enter video URL in the field provided and click on the convert button.

Get rough transcript

Once you have an MP3 file, the next step is to upload this file into a program called VoiceBase. VoiceBase will then take that audio file and provide you with a rough text transcript. This happens in mere minutes, which is one of the reasons I like to use this program.

Example of a VoiceBase transcription

Example of a VoiceBase transcription

Clean up transcript

Once I have gotten the rough text transcript from VoiceBase, I paste the transcript into a Google Doc so that I can clean it up. I do this by listening to the audio file as I am making the adjustments to the text file. The end result should be a clean transcription of the video.

Auto synchronize transcript

The last step is to go back into YouTube and upload the transcript and have it auto synchronize with the video. This has worked tremendously well. I’m very pleased with how it auto synchronizes. Naturally, you can go back and make adjustments to the synchronization to meet your needs.

To auto synchronize a transcript, follow these steps:

  1. Log into YouTube and navigate to your video.
  2. Click on the Video Manager button.
    Youtube video manager button
  3. Click on the Edit button for your video.
    YouTube video edit button
  4. Click on the Subtitles & CC link.
    Youtube subtitles and CC link
  5. Select a language and click on Set language button.
    Select language for YouTube video
  6. Click on Add new subtitles or CC button. Choose your language.
    Select Add new subtitles and CC button
  7. Click on Upload a file button.
    Upload a file
  8. Select the Transcript button, choose your file, and upload.
  9. YouTube will then auto synchronize your transcript to the video. Be patient, it may take a few minutes.

With this 6 step process, I have been able to create a 4 to 5-minute video,  clean up the transcription, and auto synchronize it to YouTube and within 45 minutes. If you have any questions on how this is done, please contact me.

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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