Posted in Content | 6-min read
Closed captioning — it's not just handy for the hard of hearing.
Have you ever been looking at a video on YouTube and see the “CC” button or subtitles button at the bottom? What the heck is that? Closed captioning. These are not just for your grandmother's television anymore. While this feature is great for keeping up with videos in sound-sensitive areas, did you know that transcriptions of your videos can actually help throttle your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? In this piece, we’re going to look at the benefits of quality video transcription.
The Benefits of (Quality) Video Transcription
1. Yes, video transcription helps the hearing impaired.
Closed-captioning was first developed to address the needs of the hearing impaired and continues to serve this purpose. When you make the effort to provide edited subtitles or closed-captioning on your videos, this not only opens up your video content to this community but also shows that you care about their ability to process your message.
2. Video transcription is great for low-volume/volumeless content viewing — a very pleasant experience.
We’ve all been in scenarios where we’d like to watch a video on a certain subject, but the situation doesn’t allow for external sound. Maybe we’re in a public place with no headphones, a loved one is sleeping nearby, or other sounds would mask the video’s audio. Quality subtitles allow your audience to consume your content in more situations.
3. Video transcripts are seen and processed by search engines.
When you provide a transcription of your video’s content, you’re essentially telling search engines what the video is about. This is true whether or not you provide the transcript in the subtitles/closed-captioning feature of the video player or simply listed in article-form on the same page of the featured content — both! We definitely recommend both.
4. Video transcript content can be repurposed.
Sometimes, sitting down and writing a new piece of content can be a headache. When you’ve developed a full transcript from a well-developed video, you typically have more than enough material for several different types of content.
Whether you want to structure the points and improve the language for an article, use the ideas for a podcast episode, or create a useful infographic from the material covered, you’re off to a great start. Different kinds of visitors have different media consumption preferences. Diversifying your content types will expand your audience reach.
5. Video transcriptions can increase link-building opportunities.
When you feature an edited video transcript along with its accompanying video on a website, this allows you to link sections to other relevant pages on your website. Linking to other relevant pages on your own site can help visitors see you as a quality source for such content. You may also link to authoritative websites used as source material. This not only strengthens the authority of your own content but also can increase the likelihood that these authoritative sites may link back to you.
6. Video transcription can increase social engagement.
An SRT file is a video transcript file that contains time markers for when certain lines are spoken. For many videos on social media, especially Facebook, if this SRT file is installed, it can show the user what is being said within the video even before they interact with the video in their timeline. This preview can drastically increase the rates of user interaction with a video on social media.
7. Video transcripts can open your content to non-English speakers.
This point may sound way out in left field but bear with us. The accuracy of translation systems is getting better — whether they’re built into web browsers or video players. When you create a solid transcript of your video content, it makes it easier for these programs to translate it into different languages for non-English speakers, thus expanding your audience.
YouTube Auto-Transcription Stinks
If you’re reading this and thinking, “I already have my videos set to be transcribed by YouTube, so I’m good to go,” the content of your videos is definitely not reaching its full potential. Why aren’t YouTube’s auto-transcriptions not good enough?
- YouTube auto-transcriptions are often incorrect. If you’ve ever attempted to follow the auto-transcription of a YouTube video, you’ll notice that grammar is nearly non-existent. You’ll also notice that many words, especially industry-specific terminology and lingo, is almost always misspelled. For example, watch any video about SQL Server and you’ll think you were watching a view about “sequel server” — not a lucrative keyword.
- YouTube auto-transcriptions provide a disjointed reading experience. Sentence structure is nearly an afterthought for auto-transcription. Following broken phrases as they come across your screen can make for a very unpleasant reading experience for anyone hoping to comprehend the content of a video.
Spiff Up Your Video Transcript
If you’re planning on featuring your video transcript in a text section on a page along with your video, you will want to clean this text up a bit.
While you could sit down and manually type out a transcription of your videos, there are free programs that are happy to do the work for you. However, they need an audio file to work with.
Most videos these days are MP4 format. However, it is not difficult to export and create an MP3 audio file of them either from video editing software or a file conversion system. Once you have an MP3 audio file, you can upload it to a free transcription service such as Otter.ai. Within a few minutes, you'll have a much more polished version of your transcript ready for your final edits.
SRT File Export
When exporting your text transcript, also make sure to export an SRT file (SubRip Title). This file contains timing information to tell video players when to display certain text on the screen for viewers. Most online video players such as YouTube, Facebook, and other social media services, will have a place to upload a video's associated SRT file.
Editing Your Transcript for Publications Made Easy
Most raw transcripts are not polished lines of text ready for publication. When publishing your transcript in the body of a blog post with the accompanying video, consider how a magazine would publish a recorded interview. Nice, right? Edited to perfection and enjoyable reading.
To make the editing process simple, run the video transcript through a spelling and grammar checking service such as Grammarly or the Hemmingway Editor. If the content of your video contains a variety of ideas, organize them into paragraphs with relevant headings. Breaking up thoughts in this way will make it easier for your reading audience to consume. Still, only use this to correct structuring issues and not to change the wording to ensure continuity between the video and the transcript.
There you have it — your guide to making the most of your video transcript!