Transcripts are text versions of the content in an audio or video presentation. They are provided as an alternative to watching the video or listening to the audio.
For an audio presentation (e.g., a podcast), this is the only means of providing access to the content for people who are unable to hear it.
In contrast, video presentations should be captioned, as it’s important for the text to be synchronized with the video. However, it’s a best practice to provide transcripts, even if videos are captioned, as the transcripts provide additional benefits.
Transcripts are accessible to people who are deaf-blind (e.g., accessing the web using a Braille device), whereas captions generally are not. Also, transcripts benefit people with slow Internet connections or other technical issues that prevent media from playing; and they can easily be searched or scanned quickly, so they provide a more efficient means for busy people to access the video’s content.
Since a transcript is an alternative to the video, it should include both audio content and descriptions of important visual information.
If you are using Able Player (the free, open-source media player developed at the UW), it has the ability to generate an interactive transcript automatically using the video’s caption and description tracks. For additional information about Able Player, see our Media players page.