Transcribe Audio & Video Files to Text On Youtube

Let us imagine you watched a video on youtube and you want the text version of it. Or you have audio lectures and want to make it a pdf file or a text version of it. What will you do?

There are so many transcription services online where you can hire people who can accurately transcribe the audio file into text. But it will cost you more money. The inexpensive option would be to take help of Youtube. A new feature on youtube now shows subtitles or captions for videos where the audio quality is decent and only one speaker is speaking at a time. Google uses Speech recognition technology and displays the speech as text from the video files. The text is stored in a hidden javascript. We can download this as a plain text file. It may not be as accurate as human transcription but if the audio quality is good then it converts perfectly.

When you see a CC button on a youtube video, then it is enabled for Subtitles. Google allows you to view the subtitles in various languages.

Transcribe Audio and Video To Text
Transcribe Audio and Video To Text

How to Download Audio Transcriptions from Video Files :

1. Go to and upload your video file. If the file is an audio/mp3 file then you can use softwares like MovieMaker, Camtasia etc to convert it to a video file and then upload the video file to youtube.

2. Once the video is uploaded, it may not be immediately available for transcription. After the video is completely processed, if you can see the CC button on the video then it is ready to be transcribed as text.

3. Press F12 if you are on windows or Press Option+Cmd+J if you are on Mac. It will open the Javascript console in your Chrome browser. Type the following code in the console :

if(yt.config_.TTS_URL.length) window.location.href=yt.config_.TTS_URL+”&kind=asr&fmt=srv1&lang=en”

Transcribe Audio and Video to Text
Transcribe Audio and Video to Text

4. Once you hit Enter after pasting the above code, an XML file will be shown with the transcribed text. Now press Ctrl+S to save the webpage as .html file

5. Now Open the saved html file to view the transcription as plain text.

Transcribe Audio and Video to Text
Transcribe Audio and Video to Text

If you are not an uploader, you can transcribe the videos into text with the existing videos on youtube. Also, if you want the transcription in different languages like French or Spanish, then replace ‘en’ in the above code with ‘fr’ or ‘es’ respectively.

Try it on any youtube video now and leave comments if you like this post. Don’t forget to share it with your friends on your social networks.

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