Skip to main content

Descriptive Transcripts for Time-Based Media

Descriptive transcripts are not only a requirement for accessible videos, they are also the only way some people can access video content. This includes people who rely on braille displays to access information or people who need to translate the information into another language.

A video is not always accessible to everyone but a descriptive transcript is.

On this page learn more about transcripts and see an examples of videos that include descriptive transcripts.

Transcripts in a Snap

In this video from Rooted in Rights, learn more about transcripts and what is found in a descriptive transcript including:

  1. Everything said in your video
  2. Relevant sounds
  3. Key visual information to understand what’s going on

Video has closed captions available and a transcript is provided on this page.

Video Transcript

[NARRATOR]: Transcripts in a snap. [snap] Think of a transcript as a text version of your video. When made correctly, video transcripts can be read by screen readers or turned into Braille documents, making your content accessible to people who are blind or low vision.

If a video player doesn’t support captions, a transcript can provide access for people who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. They’re also helpful for people who want to quickly scan or search a video’s content. So what’s in a transcript?

A basic transcript is just a written version of everything said in your video. It also indicates who says it, and any relevant sounds. [clapping] To make our transcripts more accessible, make sure to include any key visual information someone would need in order to understand what’s going on, such as locations or important nonverbal communication.

How else would someone relying on a transcript know that your characters were waving from a train? [train whistle] Many service providers will transcribe your video for you for less than a dollar a minute.

But if you’ve already done the work to caption your video on youtube, producing a video transcript is a breeze.

First, navigate to the video on Youtube and click the three-dot icon just below the player in the bottom right. Select “Open Transcript” from the drop-down menu and a list of the video’s captions will appear.

Remove the timestamps by clicking on the three-dot icon in the transcript toolbar, and selecting “toggle timestamps”. highlight all the text, and copy and paste it into a document. Add in important visual information where needed.

You can group lines together by speaker if you like, but it won’t make a difference for people needing to access your content using screen readers.

Its important to remember that not all documents with text are accessible. Most PDFs, for instance, “flatten” text into the document, making it invisible to assistive screen readers. So it’s best to save your transcript as plain text in a file type like .doc , .txt, or html.

After you’ve saved your transcript, include a link to it in your share text or on your website. If you share your video on social media, paste the transcript text as the first comment on your post so that users don’t have to click to another page to access it.

Our goal here is accessibility, and accessibility is cool. Produced by Rooted in Rights.

Video Example - Lucky Peak Power Research

Learn from Kendra Kaiser about the work she is doing to forecast power production at Lucky Peak dam.

Play Lucky Peak Power Research video

Video contains closed captions. For a descriptive transcript, please access Video Transcript – Lucky Peak Power Research.

Video Example - Help Desk at the Zone

In this video, there is no dialogue and all the information is provided in the visuals. A descriptive transcript is provided that includes the relevant information a viewer would need to understand the content of the video.

Play The Help Desk at the Zones

Video contains music but no dialogue. Descriptive transcript is available at Come Visit the Help Desk at The Zones.

Back To Top