Wish You Could Search Within a Video? Use an Interactive Transcript

October 10, 2018 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: February 28, 2020

interactive transcript video player on phone with quote that says 55% of people watch videos online every day Video has completely revolutionized the way we consume online content. We can instantly receive valuable information paired with captivating visuals, making it more engaging and memorable as opposed to standard text. Video has become a preferred medium in which we consume content. According to Digital Information World, 55% of people watch videos online every day. With so many people tuning into online video, how can organizations create a better user experience for their viewers? Whether it’s for business, entertainment, or educational purposes, an interactive transcript allows viewers to search within a video, bringing forth an innovative approach to how we engage with content.

Interactive Transcript

Transcription is the process in which the audio content of a video is converted into a written document. A transcript is only text with no time codes. Although time-consuming, it’s relatively easy to create a transcript. You simply write the audio information from a video into a word processor and voilà, you have a transcript! Transcripts are a great complement to video, giving viewers a useful tool to follow along with your content. However, if you really want to take your video to the next level, providing an interactive transcript gives your viewers a viewing experience like no other.

an interactive transcript is a time-synchronized transcript that highlights the words as they are spoken in a video

An interactive transcript is a time-synchronized transcript that highlights the words as they are being spoken in a video. The transcript is hooked up to the video player, and they work in tandem to deliver an interactive experience for the viewer. An interactive transcript grants viewers the ability to search within a video. Viewers simply type a search term into the search bar to see every location where the keyword is spoken within the transcript. Clicking on one of the instances of the search term will jump viewers directly to that point in the video. This is incredibly useful if you would rather go to more pertinent or interesting parts of the video as opposed to watching the entire video.

Imagine you’re a student studying for your upcoming Intro to Marketing exam. To study, you decide to watch a previously recorded lecture on your university’s online learning management system. The online video lecture is accompanied by an interactive transcript so you can search for the exact term you’re looking for, which in this case is search engine optimization (SEO). You can navigate directly to the part of the lecture that mentions SEO, saving yourself valuable time to study the most critical information. In a case study conducted by MIT’s OpenCourseWare, results showed that 95% of students were able to find the desired content. Having an interactive transcript makes it easier than ever to search for specific information in a video.

gif of interactive transcript on SEO

Benefits of an Interactive Transcript

There are many benefits to providing an interactive transcript with your video. Let’s explore how providing one can enhance the viewing experience.

benefits of an interactive transcript visual

1. Video search and interactive features:

gif of infinite history video playing while someone searches for the keyword algorithms in the video library. the search populates with all the videos with the keyword, and the user jumps to the spot in the video where it appears.
Viewers have far more control over what they’re watching at any given point by using the text as a navigation tool.

2. Better comprehension:

Instead of solely following along with the audio, an interactive transcript gives viewers text to follow along with, making it easier to focus on and understand what’s being said in the video.

3. Flexibility to view in noise-sensitive environments:

According to the United Kingdom’s Ofcom, 80% of people who watch video with closed captions on are not deaf or hard of hearing. Whether you’re on a noisy train or in a quiet library, with an interactive transcript you can still comprehend the information without hearing the audio.

4. Boosts SEO:

gif of google search of interactive transcript benefits

When you have a corresponding interactive transcript with a video, your SEO will improve. Search engines are built around text and can’t decipher the audio information spoken in a video. They can’t watch a video, so they rely on the text to understand the content of the video. Search engines index video with an interactive transcript, which make them more likely to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords.

5. Accessibility

Nile Dimarco signing thank you in ASL

There are over 48 million Americans with hearing loss. Providing an interactive transcript allows a wider range of people to watch your content.

6. Satisfies legal requirement:

There are several accessibility laws in place, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Sections 504 & 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, that require closed captioning for video content. Organizations that don’t make videos accessible may lead to a potential lawsuit.

7. Reusability:

Having an interactive transcript gives content creators the ability to create other pieces of content from certain sections in the transcript.

8. Translation to foreign language:

You can accommodate your global audience by giving them the ability to select which language they prefer.

Interactive Transcript Features

The interactive transcript is apart of the 3Play Plugin. It allows publishers to create a fully interactive and accessible video experience for users – even for videos they don’t own. The interactive transcript works with most video players including YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, and many more. Most interactive transcripts will allow users to search within a video, however, 3Play offers a wide range of features that will create an even more engaging experience for viewers.

  • Collapse and expand: make the interactive transcript disappear and reappear when needed

example of collapse feature of interactive transcript

  • Download: download a PDF version of the entire transcript example of download feature of interactive transcript
  • Multiple text tracks: toggle between different languages for international audiencesmultiple text tracks feature of interactive transcript
  • Progress bar: turn on to follow progress of video (indicated with the orange bar). It also works with the search bar to show viewers exactly where the keyword is in the transcriptexample of progress bar feature of interactive transcript
  • Progressive tracking: highlights previously tracked words in a different color (indicated in blue). It shows what has already been said.

example of progressive tracking feature of interactive transcript

  • Keywords: toggle this feature on/off to show the most important keywords. It changes the font size of prevalent keywords. The more used a keyword is, the bigger it will be on the transcript.example of keyword feature in interactive transcript
  • Highlight by caption frames: instead of highlighting the interactive transcript word-by-word, it will highlight by chunks of words.example of highlight by caption frames feature in interactive transcript

Interactive Transcript Best Practices

When hiring a transcription company, it’s imperative that the interactive transcript meets the FCC’s guideline for accuracy and synchronization. If the text is inaccurate or the timing is off, you can hinder your users’ viewing experience, decreasing video engagement. Look out for these transcription standards:

  • Ensure accurate grammar and punctuation
  • Use speaker labels
  • Communicate non-speech sounds
  • Transcribe audio content as to close to verbatim as possible


Learn more about interactive transcripts and the 3Play Plugin today!learn more about the 3play plugin call to action

3play media logo in blue

Subscribe to the Blog Digest

Sign up to receive our blog digest and other information on this topic. You can unsubscribe anytime.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.