Transcript Formats Explained

September 19, 2018 BY JACLYN LAZZARI
Updated: December 23, 2019

When we say format, we mean file format – transcript file formats to be precise. If you’re a video or audio content creator, or if video or audio are an important part of your marketing strategy, transcripts can be helpful to you. Basically, a transcript is a document displaying speech and sound information in text format. Things like conversations, speaker identities, and non-verbal sound effects like a doorbell ringing would be included in the body of a transcript. Before we step into the details of file formats, let’s briefly uncover the importance of using transcripts.

Transcripts: A Bundle of Benefits

First, transcripts make video and audio content more accessible to d/Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Transcripts can also be used to create closed captions for videos which are needed to create an equivalent viewing experience, per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On top of that, transcripts are accommodating to those consuming video and audio mediatranscript trio-SEO, accessibility, UX in a sound sensitive environment, as well as those who are non-native English speakers.

Transcripts aren’t glamorous, but they supplement content in a valuable way. An Oregon State University study showed that 81% of students use transcripts as a study aid. User experience (UX) is an important aspect of content strategy, and transcripts help to create a well-rounded experience. They provide another way for the user to interact with video and audio content, and make it more memorable.

Finally, transcripts boost video SEO. Search engines don’t have the ability to view videos or listen to content, so offering a plain text transcripts allows bots to understand the content. In the end, transcripts can help video and audio media rank higher in search engines, and increase inbound traffic.

Transcript File Formats: What About Them?

Now that the benefits of transcripts have been exposed, what are the next steps? Transcribing content is a fairly simple process, one which can be done in-house, or through a professional transcription service. Whichever method of transcription you prefer, it’s a good idea to have some knowledge on the various transcript file formats available.

The use"Think about it!" inside a light blue cloud with a lightbulb icon at the top case for file formats is entirely dependent on your unique and individual needs. Think about these questions for a moment.

  • Which video hosting platform do you use?
  • Which file formats do they support?
  • Are you hosting and embedding videos directly onto your own website?
  • Do you want to make your transcripts available for user download?

The answers to these questions weigh heavily into deciding which file format is best for your needs. Now it’s time for a deep dive into the world of file formats. Ready? Let’s go!

Plain Text File Formats

blue document iconPossibly the most common type of file formats, plain text is simply the text version of video or audio content. No complicated bells and whistles here! Specific plain text file formats include plain text (.txt), Word doc (.doc), and PDF (.pdf). Each type is essentially the same deliverable, save a few differences in text formatting. If your goal is to provide a transcript that is easy for users to download and view, these plain text file formats will come in handy.

Time-stamped File Formats

red wristwatch iconA time-stamped document is typically a Word document that is time-stamped at the beginning of every paragraph. This type of file format is often used as a reference, helping to gauge both when and what is said in the video or audio content. A time-stamped file displays timecode in hours, minutes, and seconds, whereas a SMPTE stamped doc has SMPTE timecode and incorporates the frame rate. Both offer great use for technical purposes, especially for video editors during the editing process.

HTML File Formats

light blue magnifying glass iconIf you host and embed videos on your own website, chances are HTML file formats will be useful for you. An HTML transcript file is simply the HTML code version of a video or audio transcript. There’s also an HTML format which is specifically formatted to be optimized for screen reader usage.

JS and JSON File Formats

A less common type of file format, JS (js) and JSON (json) files areyellow paper airplane icon used for development purposes and unique time synchronization. By that we mean that every word within this transcript file has its own time stamp on it, down to the millisecond. This characteristic makes it useful for interactive purposes, such as for interactive transcripts or playlist search. This file type’s formatting is extremely difficult for a person to read, making it the less-than-ideal choice for downloadable transcripts.

As-Broadcast File Formats

purple star iconAlso known as the “As-Broadcast Script” file format (.docx), it is mainly used for media and entertainment. There are three main types of As-Broadcast formats. The Script Format is used to submit to award shows and as a first step to translating foreign films. The Technical Format is used for the purpose of editing, dubbing, and subtitling. Finally, the Documentary Format is specifically tailored to suit the editing and subtitling needs of documentaries and reality television.

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At 3Play Media, we provide premium transcription services with a guaranteed accuracy rate of 99% and a large variety of transcript format options. Now that you’ve expanded you’re knowledge on file formats, get started with transcription today!

Get Started Today! Or Learn more about 3Play Media's transcription services.

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