Editing Transcripts of Your YouTube Video

on Thursday, July 19, 2012

CSU Accessibility requirements state that any YouTube video you publish on-line have an accurate transcript of what is being said. If you worked with a script, that's fairly easy to do; just upload the script as a transcript (more on this at the end of the post).

If you don't have a script, it's a bit more difficult. But the job is made much easier by YouTube's own automatic transcription. It will contain many errors (some unintentionally humorous), but the bulk of the transcription will be done, and all you need do is edit the errors.

After you upload your video, go to the Toolbox above the video and choose Captions on the dropdown on the right-hand side (see the figure below).

Click anywhere in the box just below Machine Transcriptions (see figure below).
You'll see a copy of YouTube's transcript. Click the Download button at the bottom (see figure below).
You'll download a file called captions.sbv. It can be opened in Windows Notepad or the free text editing software TextEdit (available here). Make your corrections. Use >> to indicate a change in who is speaking; use brackets to indicate other aural events (e.g. - [applause]). Ignore the numbers; they are timecodes that tell Youtube when to show the text.
Last step: upload the new transcript. Go back to that Captions tab, and this time click the Add New Captions or Transcript (see figure at right).
Make sure you have Caption file chosen (see figure below), then upload your edited transcript. Delete the machine transcription and you're good to go.

One final note: if you already have a script, you can skip to the last step.  Save the transcript as a .txt file and upload it as a Transcript file (see figure above).