How To Get A Transcript Of YouTube Videos

Here are three easy ways to get a YouTube transcript— from free options and AI to professional human typists.

how to get transcript of a youtube video

If you want to know how to get a transcript of a YouTube video the easy way, you’ve come to the right place. We know a thing or two about fast, affordable video transcription, so here’s what you need to know to get a top notch YouTube transcript (no matter your timeline or budget).

What is video transcription?

Video transcription refers to the process of converting a video’s audiovisual content to written text. A video transcript can be a valuable tool for YouTube channels that wish to reach a wider audience, improve accessibility, and improve the usability of their content through YouTube subtitles.

Video transcription is not to be confused with closed captioning. Captions appear in real-time at the bottom of a video during playback. In contrast, a video transcription exists as a separate text file that may be displayed on-page as subtitles with a video or as a separate document altogether.

Why is video transcription necessary for YouTube?

Video transcription offers several benefits both for YouTube users and creators. While YouTube is a fantastic informational resource, its audiovisual format also poses an obstacle—the fact is, video isn’t always ideal for users.

Whether due to physical limitations or personal preference, YouTube subtitles and a video transcript is essential for creating user-friendly content. Here are some of the key benefits you get with a YouTube video transcription:

Accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing

First and foremost, YouTubers must consider the needs of those with hearing disabilities. A video transcript is a fantastic resource for the deaf and hard of hearing because it means they can read video content at their own pace using the transcript or Youtube subtitles.

Accessibility for language learners

YouTube video transcripts are extraordinarily valuable for those who are learning a language. It means they can listen to the video while reading along, helping them bridge the gap between written and spoken language.

Consumable content in any environment

In 2023, many of us probably spend more time than we care to admit consuming web content—and often, we’re in public, where it’s not always possible (or polite) to watch a YouTube video. A video transcript gives users an option to get the info they need, even in sound-prohibitive environments, like trains or restaurants.

Great for SEO

If your goal is to reach more users, YouTube video transcription is an excellent addition to your website or channel. It helps search engine crawlers index your content, which helps boost your ranking in the SERPs.

Allows for physical distribution

While most web content is consumed on-page these days, it’s nice to give users something “printable.” For example, a printed video transcript can be really helpful in academic or religious environments.

Three easy ways to get a YouTube video transcription

Generally speaking, there are three options for getting a YouTube video transcript: manual, automatic, and hybrid transcription. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and depending on your use case and budget, one may be preferable to the others. So let’s look a little more closely at each.

Manual transcription

Manual transcription, also known as human transcription, means your video will be transcribed by an actual person rather than by AI. While it’s typically more expensive than automatic transcription, it’s an excellent option for those who need an accurate, properly-formatted video transcription.

  • Accurate transcription by humans
  • Proper formatting, including speaker names and timestamps
  • Allows for customization
  • More expensive
  • Longer turnaround times

Here are a few ways to get a human transcription of your YouTube video:


You can transcribe your videos yourself if you have the time and skill. If your YouTube video was scripted, this is an easy choice. Just ensure your transcription is appropriately formatted for readability.


You can hire contractors on freelance platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork. Check your freelancer’s profile carefully to ensure they have a strong client history and portfolio. Some freelancers use AI for assistance, so if you need a fully manual transcription, be sure to specify that before placing an order.


Speakwrite offers fully-human transcription for YouTube videos, meetings, interviews, and more. Speakwrite’s transcriptionists are professionally trained and can have an error-free transcription ready in as little as a few hours. Moreover, they’ll format your video transcription to your specifications.

Automatic transcription

Automatic transcription uses AI speech recognition technology to create a video transcription. It’s a quick and affordable option for video transcription; however, AI transcription software may not work well if your video features many different speakers or speakers with unique accents. Additionally, you will likely have to comb through the transcription to correct errors and format the text correctly.

Otter is an excellent option for automatic YouTube video transcription because it can differentiate between voices. Plus, it offers free transcription for up to 300 minutes of audio. However, like all AI transcription services, it’s error-prone, so be sure to read through your transcription carefully before publishing.


Scribie is also a solid choice if you need YouTube video transcription and don’t mind editing the transcript for accuracy. It’s a fully AI-powered platform that can have your transcription back in as little as 30 minutes. In addition, you can expect accuracy rates ranging between 60 and 80% depending on the audio quality and the speakers’ accent.


Sonix is another fully-automated transcription service that offers immediate results. It’s on the pricier side, however, and will require editing and formatting on your end. Nevertheless, Sonix could be a safe choice if you don’t mind the extra work.

Hybrid Transcription

Hybrid transcription services take a “best of both worlds” approach to video transcription. These services use AI for the bulk of the transcription and employ a human to edit and format the final copy.

Compared to human transcription, hybrid transcription services aren’t entirely as accurate or well-formatted. However, a hybrid might be the way to go if you don’t mind formatting your document yourself.

Rev is an awesome service for hybrid transcriptions and offers a few service tiers depending on your needs and budget. While it provides human quality assurance, the transcription is performed mostly by AI. Rev tends to do poorly with formatting, so if you need a lot of formatting, there might be better options out there for you.


TranscribeMe is another good choice for hybrid transcription. It’s on the pricier side, however, it’s marginally better than Rev when it comes to formatting and quality. For hybrid transcription, TranscribeMe is the way to go.

The little things matter: how to enhance transcription quality

Be proactive

The quality of your transcription depends on how well you prepare in advance. Before submitting your audio or video to be transcribed, consider taking a few proactive steps, such as:

  • Cleaning up noisy audio before transcription
  • Providing clear instructions about the formatting needs of your transcript
  • Working with human transcriptionists who are skilled in the subject matter of your audio/video

Add speaker IDs and timestamps

Speaker IDs and timestamps to the transcription to help viewers follow along. No matter which transcription service you choose, read through the finished product carefully and make any necessary changes before publishing. Doing so will ensure that viewers understand the content of your video and can easily navigate to their favorite parts.

Use the SpeakWrite App for ease

SpeakWrite is a powerful transcription app that offers an intuitive and user-friendly platform for quickly transcribing audio and video files. The app allows users to easily upload files, add speaker IDs, format text, and review transcripts with confidence. In addition, SpeakWrite’s expert human typists ensure accuracy while providing quick turnaround times (as little as three hours!) Check out our transcription services case study to see what makes us stand out from other transcriptionists. 

How to Get a Transcript of a Youtube Video for Free

YouTube video transcriptions are valuable to audiences and creators alike. Not only are transcriptions user-friendly for the masses, but they’re also an indispensable accessibility feature for native speakers and the deaf and hard of hearing.

So whether you get a quick video transcript via automatic transcription software or a professional, error-free transcription from a professional transcriber like those at SpeakWrite—your audience will thank you.

We’re so confident that you’ll love transcribing your content with SpeakWrite that we’re offering a Free Trial. So sign up now to experience the benefits of our transcription services and enjoy a complimentary $10 credit applied to your account.

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