4 Reasons to Automatically Transcribe a Video

Is the hassle of transcribing a video worth it? Transcribing your video and embedding captions at the bottom of a video makes it more accessible, more engaging, and more clear to potential viewers. Here's how and why to do the work.

4 Reasons to Automatically Transcribe a Video

Listen. Pause. Play. Listen. Pause. Video transcription can be a laborious and time-intensive task. Many modern media teams spend hours transcribing and translating videos for social media. Publishers also hire contractors on Fiver, Rev, and UpWork to transcribe videos for them, although this can get expensive.

Is the hassle of transcribing a video worth it? Transcribing video to text and embedding the resulting video subtitles at the bottom makes all of your content more accessible, engaging, and clear to potential viewers. But entrepreneurial creators must be resourceful, and it's hard to know if video transcription is worth the time and financial investment.

Although manual transcription - listening and recording what you hear - can take hours, modern tools use artificial intelligence to speed up transcription. The best tools have a mix of ML-powered automation with fine-grained manual controls so that creators can get a suggestion but still make any edits they like. In this article, I'll explain how to use a free online tool called Kapwing to automatically create video transcripts online and add the text as subtitles.

Benefits to Video Transcription

A Transcription Helps Search Engines Find You

Google does its best to make search work in the most convenient way possible for searchers. And it’s no secret that today, videos are one of the most popular forms of media consumed online. That being said, it’s still not possible for Google’s search algorithm to efficiently index visuals — unless text is included to identify them.

Search engines understand text more than visuals. And when you add a video transcription, it’s easier for Google’s crawlers to index your video. Your audience will find your video for more search terms, leading to more traffic for your video.

Now you may be thinking, “My video has text in the title and description. Isn’t that enough?”

The answer is no. The more text you provide for search engines to index, the more accurate their results are for potential viewers. You are competing against all the blog posts, news articles, and videos that do have full text available for Google to index. The more information (text) you provide, the more likely your target audience is to find you.

Opens Up Your Audience to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Including text in your videos is increasingly important for reaching a wider audience online. There are over 11 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the US alone. A video transcription can be the difference between that person getting the message of your video or not.

Adding subtitles also helps to make videos easier for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to follow along. Subtitles give them an option that allows for following along with the video rather than reading the transcript without video. The captions improve accessibility and create a more equitable internet.

You can help out your audience by adding subtitles to your videos with software like Kapwing Subtitles. And having a transcription of the video can make adding subtitles even easier. The transcription can prevent embarrassing typos in the final subtitles.

Allows English as a Second Language People Better Access

Transcriptions and subtitles also help individuals in your audience who speak English as a second language. Often, they understand written language better than audible language, and the text reinforces the audio. In fact, research has shown that subtitles help students learn a second language faster than non-subtitles videos.

Kapwing's automatic subtitles tool allows users to subtitle in any language. In the language selector, people can use their preferred dialect, like English (Australian) or German. In the below product review, an Italian social media video maker describes how to use Kapwing.

Viewers can follow along with the text at their own pace. They don’t have to fight against difficult to understand accents. And they can look up the meanings of words they’re not familiar with, which they may not be able to do after hearing it alone. After all, hearing a word doesn’t mean you know how to spell it.

Captions Give Viewers the Option of Muting the Sound

People watch videos in a lot of different settings. And sometimes they are somewhere that they can’t have audio on, or where the background noise is too loud to hear audio. In fact, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without the sound on.

When that’s the case, having text on the video allows them to watch it now, while they’re thinking about it. If you lose a viewer because they can’t listen right now and don’t have access to text, you may never get them back.

Additionally, you can convert audio to text to have the text version of your content readily available for anyone to read.

People are busy and highly distracted. So the best time to get them to watch your video is when they initially come across it. Later, they may forget about it or move on to something else. Remove barriers so that they can watch it right away, and add “thumb-stopping” visual elements like subtitles to help them catch on.

How to Transcribe and Caption a Video

If you have a video that you want to add subtitles to, open Kapwing's Subtitle Maker and upload your video. You can either manually transcribe the video or automatically transcribe it using machine learning technology. Once you have the transcription, use the sliders to adjust the timing of each subtitle and adjust the text styling options in the left-hand panel.

Once the caption preview looks correct, click CREATE to process the MP4. You'll be able to download the subtitled video to publish on social media after it's processed. Kapwing is free to use, although you do need to pay to download the auto-generated subtitles as an SRT file.


Video transcriptions can be outsourced and completed within just a few hours. And there are few other methods that can increase your ROI on video marketing campaigns as easily. With these services readily available, it really makes no sense to miss out on potentially millions of viewers who require subtitles or transcriptions, or who couldn’t even find your video indexed in the search engine.

The online audience moves on quickly to the next thing. Don’t miss out on them.

Create content faster with Kapwing's online video editor →