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Photograph of a microphone being held up in a stand with a pop filter in front of it. In the background is the top of a computer screen displaying an audio editing program.

Photograph of a microphone being held up in a stand with a pop filter in front of it. In the background is the top of a computer screen displaying an audio editing program.

This procedure is a work in progress that I am currently adding to and changing as I explore different options for doing these things. I created this reference because it is hard to get step-by-step instructions for getting audio transcripts off YouTube. Articles like “Dirty, Fast, and Free Audio Transcription with YouTube” by Andy Baio give some great examples of timing and how long the automatic transcription process takes, but don’t cover the step-by-step way to get those transcripts.

Be aware that the transcripts that YouTube creates have a lot of errors in them, so it is important for a person to go through and correct them. YouTube transcripts are useful because the reduce the amount of work that it takes to make a transcript.

Step 1: Sign up for a YouTube account and a YouTube channel if you don’t already have them.

Steps 2 & 3: Convert the podcast audio file into a video file and then upload the video file to YouTube. TunesToTube is a free option for doing both of these things.

Step 4: Download the transcript. Note that the following instructions start from the point a video has already been uploaded to YouTube.

  1. If needed, sign in to your channel at www.youtube.com in chrome (can’t use firefox!).
  2. In the top right, click on your account icon.
  3. Click on YouTube Studio (beta).
  4. Once in the studio, click on Videos in the left side bar.
  5. In the list that comes up, find the video you want and click on its title.
  6. Click on Transcripts in the left side bar to make it list all of the transcripts that it has for this video.
  7. In the list of transcripts click on the automatically generated transcript (it will have the word “Automatic” in parenthesis next to it) to enter the transcript editor.
  8. Once in the transcript editor, click on the Actions drop down button on the top left of the screen (it should be right above the text of the transcript).
  9. Click on the sbv extension in the drop down list (the drop down list has the word “download” at the tope with multiple file extensions below it). Note that any of these file types would be useable, but the sbv seems to be the easiest format to work with.
  10. Open the transcript with Microsoft Notepad or another text reading application. For those using a different file type, Notepad should be able to open any of the file types.
  11. You are ready to work with and edit your transcript. “The Podcaster’s Guide to Transcribing Audio” by Join the Party Podcast provides some excellent style guide and posting suggestions for podcast transcripts.

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