How to Create a Readable Video Transcription

If you want to make a clear and appealing written transcript of your videos, here's the guide for you.

September 16, 2020

Do you want a written version of your favorite videos? A way to speed up your academic studies by using video references? Or to make your videos accessible to the widest audience? Then video transcription is the best tool for you!

More than converting your interviews and reports of all kinds, it brings also a lot of valuable benefits to your marketing strategy: 

  • A written transcript boosts your SEO, enabling you to reach long-tail keywords.
  • It makes your content more shareable, allowing your users to tweet the content they like.
  • It can serve directly as subtitles to increase the accessibility of your visual content or an introduction or summary to your articles. 

Only problem? It’s actually not easy to make a transcription by hand, that you can quickly organize and edit. It requires strong and steady hands; especially if your video is very long (good luck!). 

How to Create a Readable Video Transcription

There are of course lots of different tools to help you with your task. But which ones to choose, you might ask?

Here is a complete guide to convert your talking video into a clean and organized written file.

How to make a video transcription manually 

First method: sit down at a table with your computer screen in front of you and take the entire audio of your video by hand. 

It doesn’t sound too good, but if you feel like it, there is a specific method to follow. And tools to assist you.

Which tools for manual transcription?

By default, for manual transcription, you only need a good keyboard and high listening-skills. That is if you just stick to the more traditional version -which will at least avoid you this kind of weird situation :

But transcription professionals have other tools at their disposal to make the work easier.

To focus exclusively on your keyboard and the audio stream, you can use a foot pedal or keyboard shortcuts to control audio playback. This takes one less task from your desk and helps you transcribe at your own pace. You can also use headphones that isolate you from noise and increase your concentration.

It’s already been a while that nerds have found software that makes that kind of repetitive task faster. Express Scribe or Transcriber, for example, make manual transcription easier by connecting your foot pedal or other devices and by displaying your video correctly. These tools have a free version, but you’ll have to pay for an unlimited version.

Other software used by professional transcribers, such as word expanders programs, allows you to select and set up word shorthands to make your writing even more instantaneous (immediately turning your “bc” into a “because”). Install for instance Textware Solution or Shorthands for Windows.

How do I produce a proper and clean manual transcription file?

Being efficient in the rewriting process is one thing, creating a readable and well-organized transcript file for the user’s eye is another. Let me give you some advice.

After choosing your writing program (Microsoft Word, Google Doc, Notepad…), you may define the different symbols used in your dialog lines:

  • dialog and interlocutor changes : “Steven >>” or “Ashley:”  
  • to evoke sound effects or noises: “[laughing], [a bell ringing]”
  • to evoke actions: “(enter in the room)”

As you transcribe, be careful to leave space between the lines and don’t hesitate to add other types of characters and different colors.

Converting video by voice

There is another trick when making a manually written transcript: dictate the audio content of your video to a speech-to-text recognition software. The AI will automatically take over the dialog lines and make a file out of them, although the quality may vary. You will then only have to correct and edit its work.

The Google Voice Typing Tool on Google Doc, the integrated Youtube transcriptor for example, or by using the deep learning Dragon Naturally Speaking tool can speed up your task without making too much effort.

With all this at your disposal, you will become an expert in video transcription by hand!

Which Automatic Video Transcription Software Should I Use?

Let’s say you’re a little lazy or want to increase the volume and productivity of your work. Then there is plenty of different software and online tools available to do the written transcription of your video content for you. All these tools on the market each have their pros and cons.

How to choose an automatic transcription software?

The most important thing when considering transcription software is to know that their features vary a lot between them. Therefore, it is important to check and compare one by one: 

  • the list of the software’s features
  • The accuracy with which it transcribes audio and video files
  • The amount of text editing tools it offers
  • The number of languages supported
  • Web, smartphone, or software support
  • The ergonomics of the experience it offers
  • Price and limits of free and paid versions
  • The type of subscription and its specificities (monthly, according to the number or duration of videos…)

What automatic transcription tools are available on the market?


The Authôt tool is specially designed for the automatic transcription of audio documents. Its “text to speech” technology recognizes voices well under normal sound conditions and is compatible with some 40 languages. 

The editing interface is especially suitable for occasional transcription projects, bearing in mind that rates are higher than on other platforms. 

Yet, you can’t work on cutting the script, modify the time codes, and thus convert the transcription into subtitles.

Pricing: 54€ per hour of recording with a decreasing rate according to volume. 

Sonix is an affordable automatic transcription software with features that allow you to transcribe audio and video files in minutes. With just a few clicks, you can transcribe 30-minute audio or video recording.

The editor enables you to playback your video recording from a specific point in time. In addition, you can change the playback speed of your files and download text excerpts as audio files.

The tool is also compatible with many file types. However, transcriptions are not perfectly accurate.

Pricing: The first 30 minutes of transcription are free, with pricing options starting at $10 per hour.

Vocalmatic is a simple online tool for podcasters and journalists who want to transcribe audio and video files. With it, you can transform a video or audio recording into text in a few simple steps. The platform sends you your transcription by e-mail and lets you correct it.

You can control the transcription over time and speed up the reading of the file. However, there aren’t many export formats except as a plain text file or Word document. It is a fairly basic tool for basic tasks.

Pricing: The first 30 minutes of transcription are free, pricing options start at $15 for one hour.

How to Produce Accurate Video Transcriptions with Checksub

Looking for ways to produce subtitles and easy transcriptions in all languages in 2017, we realized in Checksub that there were no suitable tools for accurate and optimal video subtitling.

So we decided to create a user-friendly online software that saves media, translators, researchers, and video creators of all kinds a lot of time. Since April 2020 we have opened this new transcription tool to the public.

Why choose the Checksub subtitling web tool? 

During these 3 years, we have been trying to perfect a solution that brings together the best of current technologies: 

  • the best speech recognition and machine translation APIs to analyze your video 
  • A powerful and very easy to use online transcription editor
  • A collaborative platform for working with translators, clients and other partners

How does CheckSub automatic captioning work?

The approach is quite straightforward: 

  • Upload your video
  • Indicate the original language and the languages you may want to obtain (there are 128 languages in all).
  • Check the result
  • Export the written transcript file and do whatever you want with it.

No time to waste! Come test our solution and find one of the best transcription tools in the market today.

How to Create a Readable Video Transcription

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