Generating captions and transcripts for Open edX videos - Appsembler

Generating captions and transcripts for Open edX videos

The typical process for adding captions to videos is as follows:

  1. The video is captioned, typically by an automated mechanism. There are a few good options for this, but here’s the ones I’ve used and think are worth reviewing, in order of pricetag:
    Free: YouTube – YouTube has automated captions that are typically horrendously inaccurate, but they can be edited directly in their site. It’s the most manual work on your end to make them usable, but the price is right (because it’s free).
    Midrange: Rev– More accurate than YouTube thanks to their freelance human reviewers, but not as accurate as 3Play Media, typically, and you pay a small amount for using them. The middle of the road option that works great. We use this on the Appsembler Academy and all of our videos on YouTube. Full disclosure: That link includes our referral code. If you do sign up using it, you’ll be helping to fund transcripts for the Appsembler Academy, and get some free credit for your own account.
    Top end: 3Play Media– used by a lot of big organizations, the most expensive of these options, but you get what you pay for. High quality captions and alignment service for existing transcripts. A US-based editor manually reviews your transcripts before they come back to you for final correction, making them by far the most accurate for US-English content (but a manual review is still always necessary no matter who makes the captions).
  2. Once you have your video captioned and you’ve reviewed it, you need a .srt file. This is a pretty standard subtitle format that any service will be able to output. If you’re using YouTube, you can import the video directly by using the video component.
  3. If you’re using YouTube to provide your videos, your best bet is to upload your captions directly to YouTube so that they’re available in both locations and easy to find in the future. The instructions to do that are available on YouTube’s help and support site.
  4. Once your captions are on YouTube, in Studio if you hit Edit on a video component you can directly import the captions straight from YouTube. Alternatively you can just upload your captions directly within the component in Studio. The instructions for doing this can be found in our article “Adding subtitles to videos in Open edX”

Optional 5: Most of these services will also let you output a PDF or Word document transcript. You can upload this to your video by the following steps:

  1. Upload it to Files & Uploads
  2. Copy the Studio link, which starts with /static/, for example /static/transcript.pdf
  3. Open up your video component and go to the Advanced tab to find Download Transcript Allowed and Downloadable Transcript URL
  4. Set Download Transcript Allowed to True, and paste the link to your transcript file in the URL field
  5. Save

This will mean that not only do you provide your learners with an interactive transcript, but you also provide a downloadable copy of that transcript to take away (which you could even go all out and brand if you really wanted to). The main reason for this is a lot of users of assistive technology prefer working with files rather than the video player, and others just like to have the transcript as a take-away resource. They’re also useful in other contexts with learners who are unable to use the video player, such as those who are on extremely limited connections, or are studying in busy environments where they need to hear their surroundings (security personnel, military etc.).

There are many other transcription providers on the market, and so long as they produce a .srt file you can use any of them that you wish. If you have a different transcription provider that you’ve had a good experience with, please let us know and we’ll add them to the list!