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What Are the Different Transcript Formats?



Do you remember the good old days when a file was something you stuck in a manila folder and jammed into an ugly green filing cabinet? Today, most files are digital files—especially when it comes to video and audio content—and understanding the many file types and their technical details can be overwhelming. But with some basic explanation, it’s not as complicated as you might think.


Video transcripts come in many file types. A video transcript is a bit like a move script: it includes all the dialogue and various other sounds not made by the human voice, as well as speaker identities and other information. The transcript is important because it can enhance SEO and expose your content to a larger audience, including people who are hard of hearing and non-native English speakers.


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Here’s a quick outline of the different types of transcript formats you may need.

Plain text files

You’re probably already familiar with text files, which use the .txt file extension. This basic file type stores your content as plain text and can be easily converted to a PDF, Word document, or other file format. Almost everyone can open text files and PDFs, no matter their operating system.


Coded (usually HTML)

These files are used if you embed your videos to your website. Variations in the HTML format allow for optimization of screen reader use.


SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) and time-stamped formats

These formats allow the user to mark what is said and where. A time-stamped file can be a Word document with a time stamp at the start of every paragraph. Like a TV or movie script, an SMPTE incorporates industry standards to label individual frames.


Other, less common, transcript formats include JS, JSON, and As-Broadcast files. JS and JSON files use more precise time stamps and are often used for interactive transcripts. As-Broadcast files are used primarily in the entertainment industry.


No matter the needs of your project, a professional transcription service can help you determine which transcript format is best for your audio or video project. Get top-quality transcription services today.

Explore transcription services

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