One big question has come up within the world of transcription, largely from people on the fence about it: Does transcription ruin the viewing experience for people who don’t expressly need it for accessibility?
It’s an understandable concern. We take so much time to make sure that our websites are open to anyone who may want to visit them. There are lots of factors to consider. Will fixing one part break another? Will working to serve one audience sabotage the experience for another?
You’re probably wondering, does video transcription ruin the experience for people who don’t “need” it?
The answer: Absolutely not.
Photo by rawpixel
Video transcription is the sign of a healthy and viable video channel. It’s a sign that you want all people to use your channel, and you want to make it easy for any visitor to access the art and messages you’re putting out into the world. Like talking about merchandise or having a call to action, it rounds out your channel and sets it up for success.
Providing a transcript or captions doesn’t just apply to people who need extra accessibility tools. Video transcriptions also aid those using programs to translate content into a foreign language. Viewers who are learning to read or speak the native language of your video may also use a video transcription to follow along.
And of course, the SEO bump of a video transcription is always worth considering, given that social networks are predicted to increasingly favor video content. The top videos will be set up to serve as many different viewers as possible. Every time someone is able to watch your video all the way to the end without stopping counts!
Some have even taken the idea of video transcription a step further. By using tools such as video transcription and subtitling, some videos in the horror or mystery storytelling communities provide clues to their listeners about the underlying story in the videos.
The YouTube channel CatGhost made a name for itself by separating out the videos containing video transcription from those without this feature. The videos that contained transcriptions had special clues hidden within the extra details available via the subtitles.
Photo by whereslugo
In terms of video transcription, it’s always easier to go backward than forward. If a viewer doesn’t want to see video transcription in subtitle form, they can simply turn off that feature.
Most of the top video platforms, such as YouTube, provide options that allow users to automatically alter the subtitles to suit the viewer’s preference. If captions are truly alienating for you or your audience, a video’s transcript can always be provided as a separate file for those seeking it.
If you’re on the fence about providing transcriptions for your video channel, jump in and give it a try! Your deaf or hearing impaired visitors will be able to access content they would otherwise miss out on, and viewers for whom subtitles or transcripts may not be strictly necessary are sure to find hidden worth within them.