Transcripts for Audio Files

What Is an Audio Transcript?

A transcript is a text version of audio content. This includes spoken words, but also information about who is speaking and any sounds relevant to understanding context and meaning. For example: [laughter], [applause], [ominous music], etc.

Unlike closed captions, audio transcripts are separate files that users can refer to without simultaneously playing the audio.

Example: Transcript of Dr. May on PlayMakers Radio

Why Add Transcripts?

You need to provide an alternative format for audio so that people with hearing impairments can still access the information. Transcripts can also benefit all users, since they create a searchable version of audio content and can be helpful for reviewing, printing and note-taking.

How Do I Create an Audio Transcript?

You can either create audio transcripts yourself or find a service that will create them for a fee.

For audio files you've recorded, you may be able to save some time by uploading your file to MediaHub or YouTube, generating automatic captions, and then downloading them as an editable transcript. However, keep in mind that these transcripts may still need to be edited to make sure that they are accurate.

Alternate options: 

General Tips for Transcripts

  • At the top of the page, include identifying information such as title, source and date. For example: "The Alibi" from This American Life, aired Oct. 3, 2014.
  • Always indicate who is speaking.
  • The first time someone speaks, identify them by their full name (and title, if relevant).
  • Each subsequent time a person speaks, you can identify them either by their full name (Jane Smith) or an abbreviated name (Jane).
  • Describe any sounds relevant to understanding context and meaning. For example: [laughter], [applause], [ominous music].
  • For long transcripts, use headings to divide information into logical groups.
  • Split text into short paragraphs to make it easier to read.

Additional Resources