Free Video Transcripts Using YouTube

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Having a transcript from a video can be very useful. Dedicated programs that perform this task can be expensive. Hiring a transcription service isn’t cheap either. But, I’d like to offer a free solution: YouTube!

The YouTube Transcript Process

When you upload a video to YouTube, their AI system will automatically generate a transcript to use for closed-caption subtitling. Once the transcript is done, a menu option appears below the video on the lower right that says “Open Transcript.”

When you click the open transcript link a time coded text box will appear. You can select the text, copy, and paste it into a new document.

If you set the video to unlisted, it will not appear in searches or on your channel. Then, once the transcript is done, you can delete the video from your account.

Limitations and Tips

Using the YouTube AI to generate your transcripts isn’t a perfect solution.

YouTube doesn’t always generate a transcript, and there is no control over how long they take to do the job, but the accuracy is pretty good and the price is excellent! Another bonus – thanks to the time code, it’s easy to go back and listen to the source when the AI gets the transcript wrong.

The better your source audio, the better the results. If you have clean clear audio without a lot of background noise, distortion, or loud background music you should get good results. It also helps if the speaker has a fairly neutral accent.

I have only performed this process with videos recorded in English. I am not sure if it works as well (or at all) with other languages. Leave a comment if you’ve used this process successfully in another language.

If you have the time flexibility, YouTube AI is a great option for generating a transcript from your video..

Andrew Seltz

Andrew was born in Michigan, raised there and in Tennessee, and has since lived outside Orlando, in Chicago, New York City, and now Birmingham, Alabama. He produces videos and websites for a living and is married to a beautiful, generous, loving woman who also happens to be a talented actress and writer - www.ellenseltz.com. They have two daughters.

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