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Quick Start To Interactive Transcripts


All right. We’re going to get started now. So welcome, and thank you for attending this webinar on interactive transcripts. My name is Josh Miller. We have about 30 minutes to cover the basics of interactive transcripts. And we’re actually going to try to make the presentation about 15 minutes and then leave the rest of the time for questions.

The best way to ask questions is by typing them in the questions window that you should see in the bottom right corner of your control panel. We’ll keep track of them and address them at the very end. Also, please feel free to email or call us at any time after this webinar to discuss specific questions. Our contact information is on this slide. And for anyone following along on Twitter, the hashtag for Twitter will be #InteractiveTranscripts.


So, for the agenda today, we are going to walk through an overview of interactive transcripts. We’ll also go through the process and workflow step by step of just how to get those interactive transcripts on your site. And we’ll also provide a little more information about who we are as a company.

What Are Interactive Transcripts?

So what are interactive transcripts? Here are some of the basic characteristics that you’ll find with an interactive transcript. First, the text is precisely synchronized with the media, which means the words are being displayed and highlighted as they’re being spoken. So the transcript is also actionable. The user can search by keyword, or jump to specific segments by clicking on a word. And finally, the transcript lives outside of the video player, as opposed to a more traditional caption overlay, which is directly on top of the image.

How Are Interactive Transcripts Used?

Interactive transcripts can be used in many different ways. We have built them to be quite flexible in the way that they are implemented from a look and feel to an orientation perspective. So here are some examples where it can be below the video player, or next to the video player, it can be collapsed, and so on.

Examples of Interactive Transcripts

We’ll walk through a few examples real quick. This one’s from EducationUSA One unique piece about this implementation is that they recently added translation to the transcript. So if you go to their website www.educationusa.info, you’ll see a drop down to switch between different languages within the interactive transcript, and each language is actually synchronized as well and is its own interactive transcript within the same widget.

This page from AutomotiveVideo is a good example of how companies are using the interactive transcripts in a training setting. So the text acts as a valuable tool for users to review any specific portion of e-learning or training material and really learn at their pace. So this page also shows how the look and feel of the transcript can be changed to match the color of the player better.

And this last example shows some of the cross-file search capabilities we offer. In the first two examples, both transcripts offered the ability to search within the video based on the spoken words. Here, what you see on the right is a search box that is actually searching over 100 different video interviews from this video library. So users can jump to an exact segment of a video, even if it’s a different video, that the keywords from their search appear in. So we call this functionality archive search, and it’s an extension of the interactive transcript.

Benefits of Interactive Transcripts

There are several key benefits to interactive transcripts. First and foremost, they allow for more user actions, such as search and quick navigation through a video based on what’s actually being said. Once an interesting piece of content is discovered, it can also be shared very easily.

Transcripts are also a key component of improving the SEO performance of your videos. Transcripts, whether they’re in the form of interactive transcripts or even more traditional closed captions, also provide an accessibility solution for hearing impaired viewers. and people in noisy environments such as an airport, or a quiet environment such as an office or library where it would be inappropriate to put the sound on. And finally, transcripts are really the first requirement to translating content into other languages to reach a broader audience.

Account Setup

So we’re going to walk through the process of really how someone would get an interactive transcript on their site. So first would be just setting up an account, which is a very quick process with us. Some things to keep in mind about our account system is that it’s very secure, and you can set permission levels for different users and have multiple users within one account.

Uploading Files

When it comes to uploading files, and really all of the processes here, we really aim to make workflows as unobtrusive as possible. So we give you the ability to automate as much of the process and workflow as possible. So in order to create a transcript, we would need you to upload the actual video file or audio track for us to transcribe. You won’t have to change the way you host or publish your video content at all. The whole point is to link in to what you’re already doing. So you’re simply adding the transcripts that we’re creating to what you already do with your video.

So there are several ways to upload videos, including a secure web uploader, FTP, or our API. We’ve also built integrations with several online video platforms and lecture capture systems, such as Brightcove, Ooyala, and Kaltura to make the workflow even easier. Everything is really based on this web interface, so there’s no software to install at any point.

Interactive Transcript Compatibility

Our interactive transcripts work with many web media players. And specifically, the players below here are all built to work without any need for customization or additional development. We’re adding to this list all the time. In general, the interactive transcript is controlled by Javascript controls and our API. So the media player must be embedded on the page itself as opposed to an iframe, and have basic Javascript control features. If you aren’t using one of the listed players and want to discuss this in more detail, please get in touch with us after the webinar and we can walk through the exact specifications that you’re working with.

Interactive Transcript Configuration

When files are complete, you have the ability to configure your interactive transcript however you like it in terms of the appearance. You can select various parameters, such as whether to enable a clipping feature for people to share segments; transcript downloading or printing; whether it can be collapsed on the page; and pick from a few standard skins for how it appears. You then hit Update Settings and the code actually updates immediately for you, so you just lift that code out of the page and paste into your HTML code.

If you dig into the code itself, you’ll see references to a particular file ID and API key. These are unique to your account and can be referenced within the account, but it’s a way so the code is actually replicable very, very easily from page to page, and all you’re doing is changing the file referenced.

Other Outputs

In general when files are complete, you also have access to many different transcript and caption formats that you can download at any time. We actually store these output files indefinitely for you to come back to whenever you need them. So for example, if you’re using one video platform one day but decide to switch to a different video platform six months from now, you’d actually have access to a different caption format if needed without having to reprocess anything. So there are many other features within the account system as well that could be useful depending on the type of work you’re doing, and we can certainly walk you through that separately if you’re interested.

Company Background

So a little bit about who we are. The inspiration for 3Play Media started when we were doing some work in the spoken language lab at CSAIL, which is the computer science lab at MIT. We were approached by MIT OpenCourseWare with the idea of applying speech technology to closed captioning for a more cost-effective solution. We quickly recognized that speech recognition alone would not suffice, but it did provide a starting point. And so from there, we really developed an innovative transcription process and an entire platform that uses technology and humans to yield high-quality transcripts with time data. So we’re constantly developing new tools to leverage the fact that these transcripts have time data, and those new products are really built with the input from our customers.

Overview of Services

Our focus is certainly transcription and captions. We’ve also built lots of different mechanisms for automated workflows, both with and without a video platform. And we also provide translation into many different languages.

Accuracy and Quality

We use a multi-step review process. As I mentioned, it includes both technology and humans. And it delivers more than 99% accuracy, even in cases of poor audio quality, multiple speakers, difficult content, or accents. Typically about two thirds of the text in the work is done by a computer, and the rest would be done by transcriptionists. So this makes our process much more efficient than other providers. More importantly, it affords our transcriptionists to have the flexibility to spend a little bit more time on the finer details. For example, we’ll diligently research difficult words, names, and places. So we’re really putting more care into the overall transcript and have ways to ensure correct grammar and punctuation are really put in consistently.

We’ve also done a lot of work on the operational side of the business, such as making it possible to match transcriptionist expertise to certain types of content. So we have about 300 transcriptionists on staff, and they cover a broad range of disciplines. So if you have tax-related content, it can be matched up with people who have a financial background. And one thing to note is all of the transcriptionists who do work for us have gone through a rigorous training program and are all based in the United States.


One thing we’ve found is that no matter how hard we try, certain proper nouns or vocabulary can be extremely difficult to get exactly right. So, we’ve built the ability for you to make changes on the fly. So if the name is misspelled, or if you decide you want to redact text, you can actually make that change on the fly and just press save, and those changes will immediately propagate through all of your output files. All of the time data is maintained as well. So there’s no need to ever reprocess files just because a little change needs to be made.

Customer Support

While we build many tools that are self-service or automated, much of our success as a company is really based on the fact that we give all of our customers lots of attention. We expect to walk people through the account tools and enjoy building those relationships, and it’s also through these conversations that we learn about what other features and products would really be worth developing, as I mentioned before. So we really do value the feedback that we get from our customers.

So we’ve included some URLs here on this page. They range from some resources on our website to some video tutorials that all talk more about some of the tools we offer, some of the processes that we have on-hand, as well as some examples here. So the EducationUSA and the MIT150 examples are two that we showed you just now if you want to take a look at those live. Certainly my contact information is here.

We’re going to take a couple minutes to aggregate the questions, and then we’ll come back and answer them. So if you do have questions, now’s a great time to enter them into the question box. We’ll be right back.


So the first question has to do with pricing. The standard cost starts at $150 per recorded hour, and that’s of the content itself. There are different ways that that could change based on turnaround or the difficulty of the content, but that’s the starting point. And that’ll get pro-rated to the exact duration of the file. So if it’s a two minute file, you’re only going to pay for two minutes’ worth at that rate.

One thing to keep in mind is that that standard– I had mentioned that there are expedited options– that’s a four business day turnaround. And it could be several hours of content, and you’ll still get in those four business days. But that’s the standard starting point.

There’s also a question about larger archives and how that’s handled in terms of turnaround. We can handle– what we normally quote is up to 20 hours per customer per day to still get the four day turnaround. Now, if you have a large archive, say 100 hours, 200 hours that needs to get processed, that’s something that we would plan out with you to achieve a timeline that works for both of us. The process though, I should say, is entirely the same. There are ways to upload in batches, as well as download files in batches should you need to download the output.

So there’s a question about if you have transcripts, can we turn them into interactive transcripts or captions? Unfortunately, we don’t have the ability to do that. Because our process is pretty unique, the text and time data are all being created in that same process. As opposed to some other methods are to transcribe first and synchronize after, there are certain quality concerns that we would say with that process, which is why we do things the way we do them, which also means, unfortunately, we cannot take a transcript and synchronize it. If you do have transcripts or text, the one thing we could do is use it as a reference point to just ensure just a little bit higher level of quality, specifically for things like speaker names or difficult vocabulary.

There’s a question about how Section 508, which is an accessibility law, comes into play and how interactive transcripts can address that. The law states that for video content, synchronized text has to be made available. And usually that means closed captions, and that’s because the text will appear in synchronization with the image so that people with hearing impairments can follow along. Because the interactive transcript is synchronized, it will achieve that goal as well. The key being that the text is synchronized and can follow along with the video and be there right next to or below the video. So it is a good way for the accessibility goal to be met.

There’s a question about how we create an interactive transcript and we put on our site, but where do the transcripts actually live? So by default, if you were to install an interactive transcript in the method that we described just now, it would actually live on our server. The transcript itself would be coming off our server over the API to the web page. Now that’s an option. You can also self-host the transcript, and it’s just a little bit of a change in the way the Javascript points to the source transcript. So it’s absolutely possible to put on your own server if that’s what you prefer to do.

So there’s a question about whether you need to be the actual owner or publisher of the video to get interactive transcripts. We’ve seen examples where people want to take a video on YouTube and put it on their site with the transcript or captions, and that is something that we can enable. So that is possible. As long as you’re able to get the embed code for that video, that’s fine. And the other caveat is that you would need to get the video file itself. Even if you don’t own it, you would need the video file. YouTube is unique in that we can pull the video from the video pages, but most other sites make it more difficult to do that. So somehow, some way, you’d need a video file to upload to us.

There are some questions about the idea of using a video platform and what that process looks like if say you have a Brightcove account. What happens in those cases with Brightcove, Kaltura, Ooyala, and some others, basically we enable a linkage between your video platform account and your 3Play account. So when you enter some certain credentials into your 3Play account, you’re actually able to see all of the videos in that account that you’ve already uploaded while you’re logged into 3Play, and then you just press a button to choose which files you want to process.

So it takes the extra step of uploading files out of it. It also helps us pull in certain relevant metadata, such as the video ID, from that platform account to make the process easier down the road. So there are definitely some advantages to doing it that way. It certainly simplifies things on your end. And so it also enables other functionality down the road, such as automatic post back that can take place with captions, and really just making the overall process much, much faster.

So a question as to whether using the interactive transcripts has an extra fee on top of the transcription rates, which is a great question. We don’t charge monthly fees to use the service. We don’t charge fees to use the interactive transcripts. The rate that I quoted before, the $150 per recorded hour, is an all-inclusive rate of all the formats and all of the different transcripts and captions that we produce. So if you wanted one format one day and another format another day, you’ve already paid for it. And that includes interactive transcripts.

There’s a question about how interactive transcripts or captions could work together, or was it one or the other, or does it have to be one versus the other? The way we’ve set this up is that interactive transcripts are not meant to replace captions and vice versa. These are modular pieces of content that you can use together or separately. It’s really up to you. So it’s not meant to replace. It’s meant to be just another option for publishers to allow their users to consume the content in another way. So if you prefer to use captions, that’s absolutely fine. If you prefer to use both captions and interactive transcripts, that’s fine as well.

There’s a question about how SEO plays into interactive transcripts. Basically, the interactive transcript itself is a JavaScript widget, which means the transcript isn’t on the page. And that’s the critical point for SEO. So there’s an extra step that would have to take place, which is very, very quick, but there is one more step to get the transcript in the HTML code that we would walk you through, and that’s basically putting the text into a noscript tag. But the key to SEO is to have the text from that transcript in the source code so that Google or any other search engine can crawl it. Otherwise with a normal video, or even just the JavaScript, search engines can’t actually crawl inside them. That’s why having a transcript for any video is really valuable.

There’s a question as to whether it’s possible to have multiple videos on a page with multiple interactive transcripts, and that’s actually a feature that we just recently released. So yes, you can have multiple interactive transcripts referencing different transcripts and different videos on a single page if you need to do that.

There’s a question about if you have a playlist on a page, and you’re switching between videos within the same video player. And you see this a lot with the video platforms, like the Brightcoves, Ooyalas, Kalturas of the world, where you can have multiple thumbnails essentially to initiate the playback of different videos. And so there is a way to enable multiple transcripts to play on the same page in the same interactive transcript widget as well. Basically when the video would change, the transcript would as well. And again, that’s made much easier when you’re using the video platform from the beginning and importing the videos to us for processing. That actually accomplishes a lot of the work to enable this type of feature. Even if you’re not doing that, there are ways to enable this type of functionality that we can walk you through. But the answer is yes, you would be able to enable the transcript to switch with the video.

We are just about out of time now, so thank you very much for joining us and taking the time. If there are any other questions, please feel free to reach out. I would be happy to speak with you in more detail. So thanks again.

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