How to Get a Transcript of a YouTube Video

27 October 2021
GoTranscript Blog How to Get a Transcript of a YouTube Video

YouTube's transcripts and closed captions provide a way for the hearing impaired to enjoy videos. They're also handy if you're watching something but can't use the sound for whatever reason. More importantly, video transcripts provide indexable text that helps content rank better in search engines, ultimately resulting in more traffic and higher engagement.

If you're wondering how to get a transcript of a YouTube video, it's not as hard as you think. Following a few easy steps, you'll learn about all the resources that are at your fingertips. In no time, you'll have the text you need from the videos of your choosing. 

Getting Existing Video Transcription Directly From YouTube

First, it's necessary to differentiate between transcripts and closed captioning, as they are two different forms of communication. The transcripts are what you're looking for, so don't get them confused with closed captions. Clicking on the CC button or Settings button on the video's toolbar will give you captions. While they're fine for reading, you won't be able to extract them for future use. This is where transcripts come into play. 

Transcripts on a Computer

Obtaining video transcripts from YouTube is fairly straightforward, though it's important to note that only videos with closed captioning have transcripts.

Quality is also a factor when you're dealing with transcriptions. Some videos have automatic transcripts, which can contain many mistakes depending on the audio's clarity. YouTube content creators who add their own words tend to provide a superior and more accurate transcript. 

Finding Transcripts

To get a transcript of a YouTube video, open your browser and head over to the site. 

  • Log into your YouTube account. This will give you better results and records if you need to refer back to something later on.
  • Select the video you want, and play it.
  • Underneath the video on the right, you'll see three dots. This is the More Options button. Click on it.
  • You'll see a few categories in the drop-down menu. Select the Open Transcript box.
  • A video transcript will appear on the right of your screen outside of the video's scope. There, you'll see a word-for-word write-up of the verbal contents juxtaposed to their time spoken in the video. 

That's is all you need to do. Once you get the hang of it, the process will take only a second or two. 

Downloading Transcripts

After you find your transcripts on the side of the screen, it's time for the next step, which is downloading them. For the record, there is no official download button anywhere, so you'll have to take matters into your own hands. Don't worry, though, 'cause there's nothing to it. 

  • Look at the transcript box. In the top right corner, you'll see three dots. Click on them.
  • The Toggle timestamps option will appear. Select it to make the timestamps disappear from the text box.
  • Highlight the text or the parts you need. This is just a regular copy and paste job, so simply hit CTRL+C to take the information verbatim.
  • Open the text editor of your choice (Word, Notepad, or any other) and paste the content. You can now alter the transcript as you please.

Transcripts on Phone

When you're on the go, getting a transcript on your mobile device can't happen the way it does on a computer. YouTube simply doesn't offer this option. Instead, you'll have to rely on closed captions. As listening to something may not be an option for you when you're out and about, captions still offer a viable alternative.

Enabling captions in the mobile YouTube app is very similar to doing it on a computer. Again though, remember that not all YouTube videos offer captions. 

  • Open the YouTube app on your smartphone, and find your desired video.
  • When you tap on the screen, you'll see a CC button and the three dots button in the top right corner of the video.
  • Pressing the CC button will give you instant captions in English.
  • Pressing the three dots will give you the option of selecting other languages if they're available. Scroll down and choose your preferred language. 

Captions will automatically show up on your screen. To turn them off, simply tap the CC button again.