How to transcribe video the right way

Video transcription is needed for reasons that affect not only your viewers' watching experience, but also the success of your business.

First off, having transcripts and captions are essential to ensure your video is as accessible as possible, for all audiences. As a bonus, having text attached to your video also makes it much more SEO-friendly, helping boost your view count and engagement.

Here's what we'll cover in this guide

  • The importance of video transcription
  • Types of video transcriptions
  • What types of projects need audio transcription?
  • Who is responsible for video transcription?
  • How to transcribe video

The importance of video transcription

Let's face it, manually transcribing videos is not easy. It takes time and money - and can be pretty tedious too. But it's an undeniably important part of creating video content nevertheless.

Videos with captions can receive 40% more views than those without. Plus, the YouTube algorithm favors transcribed videos, resulting in a higher ranking and more views. 

So it's important from a business standpoint, but there are even more reasons to include captions or transcripts for your videos:

  • It makes the video accessible for people with hearing impairments
  • When you use the right keywords, it can help boost your place in SEO rankings
  • Translated text helps you reach customers outside your language area
  • Most people watch videos on social media without sound: if there are no subtitles, they'll just keep on scrolling.

Types of video transcriptions


A video transcript is a full document of every word that's spoken in a video. It's just plain text (in a Google Doc, for example) with no timestamp or other data attached. 

Verbatim transcripts include all utterances and sound effects, and are ideal for scripted videos. Clean read transcription edits the speech a little bit to make it easier to read and comprehend, useful for interviews and recorded live speeches.


Captions are the words found at the bottom of a video's frame, corresponding to the audio on-screen. Captioning involves dividing a transcript text into chunks, known as caption frames and time-coding each frame to sync up with the audio of a video. 

It should be assumed that anyone reading the captions can hear nothing in the video, so the text should include sound effects and the names of speakers where necessary. 


Have you always assumed that 'subtitles' and 'captions' are the same thing? Think again!

Captions are designed for viewers who cannot hear the audio in the video, while subtitles are for viewers who can hear but do not understand the video's language. Subtitles are important for expanding the potential audience of your video. 

What types of projects need audio transcription?

YouTube videos

YouTube is the world's second largest search engine, and is the second most visited site after Google. The YouTube algorithm relies on search terms, so you have a huge opportunity here to reach new viewers who may have not otherwise found your content. 

To rank high in the YouTube SEO, it's important to have high-quality transcription and captions, filled with relevant keywords.

Film and television

There are pretty strict laws around captioning for film and TV projects. Of course, it's essential for helping people with hearing impairments enjoy the content, but it has evolved further than that. 

Journalist Sean Neumann detailed how closed captioning gave him a much better understanding of the (often hard to follow) TV show Game of Thrones by helping him process the huge amounts of information in each on-screen conversation. While many Gen Zers say they love watching things with captions as it helps them to multitask. 

Journalism, documentaries, and interviews

As many journalists and documentary-makers can attest to, you never know what's going to happen when you switch your camera on. Background noise and other disruptions can really get in the way of a great story - unless you use transcript captions to fill in the gaps.

Plus, when you're putting out factual and important content that other people may want to use as a source, having a text file transcript is a huge help for your audience. It's also handy to have transcripts should any legal issues arise when reporting. 

And if you need any more convincing, over 100 studies have found that captioning a video improves comprehension of, attention to, and memory for the video itself. 

Social media posts 

A whopping 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound. That means, if you don't have captions, then your content is basically irrelevant. Harsh, but true!

On social media, where there is so much content, and users scroll through their feed so quickly, accurate captions are make or break. 

Courses and academic resources

Just like with documentaries and interviews, accurate transcripts for academic resources makes your audience's lives so much easier. One study found that 70% of students without hearing difficulties use subtitles at least some of the time, as it helps them improve comprehension. They can then refer to the video transcript as a useful study guide. 

Who is responsible for video transcription?

When it comes to transcribing a video file, this job could fall to anyone. 

People on the marketing team should have a hand in it, especially if the video is for social media or for recruiting new clients. If your company has an accessibility/diversity team, perhaps the transcription should fall to them? Depending on the content of the video, the legal team may want to be involved in the transcription process too.

How to transcribe video: DIY and automatic transcription

There are a few ways to transcribe your video:

  • Manually transcribe, where you watch the video and type it out word for word.
  • Hire a transcriber or transcription service who will manually transcribe your video for you.
  • Use YouTube's automatic transcriber once your video is uploaded; you'll probably have to download it and edit any mistakes by hand, as it's not exactly perfect.
  • Use Google Voice within Google Docs to transcribe in real-time as the video plays. Heads up, though, this voice typing tech can be glitchy and is prone to errors.
  • Utilize AI transcription software like Simon Says to transcribe videos. Just upload the video file and let the AI do the hard work for you.

Why you should use Simon Says for your video transcription

After you've gone to the effort of scripting, producing, shooting, editing, and scheduling your video, the last thing you want to do is take on the final step of transcription. 

It's an essential element and you don't want to get it wrong - but it can also be such a drag. Simon Says helps users to accurately transcribe, subtitle, caption, and translate audio & video with A.I. If you want top-quality transcriptions that'll boost the performance of your videos and engagement, we're the tool for the job.

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