About Transcripts

About Transcripts

Transcripts are an entirely text-based alternative to multimedia, including both the audio and visual components.

Transcripts are helpful for learners who can't access videos by perceiving the audio or visual content, so they grasp the information by reading the text version of the content instead.

There are two types of transcripts:

  • Descriptive transcripts: Descriptive transcripts provide information about the visual elements in a video in addition to the audio components (such as dialogues and music). They give viewers additional clarity around the context of the information.
  • Interactive transcripts: In web-based videos, interactive transcripts highlight text as it's spoken in the video. Interactive transcripts allow users to click a sentence or phrase in the transcript and then redirect the user to that location in the video.

Qualities of Good Transcripts

The goal of a transcript is to be entirely readable and understandable without listening to the audio or watching the pictorial part of the video. Good transcripts have the following qualities:

  • Headers provide the reader with the ability to navigate throughout the transcript.
  • Sections and paragraphs organize content in logical chunks so that there isn't one large block of text.
  • Bulleted and numbered lists improve the readability of the content.
  • Words and text contain links to provide additional information (if needed).
  • When there are multiple speakers, hanging indents or bold font indicate the speaker's name.
  • Brackets clarify ambiguous text or sentences.


Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions. WebAIM. (2020, July 1). https://webaim.org/techniques/captions/.

Transcripts. Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). (n.d.). https://www.w3.org/WAI/media/av/transcripts/.

Author: Katherine Baeckeroot

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