Trials and tribulations of podcast tanscription

Podcasts are getting ever more popular on the web and for good reason. They’re a portable easy way for many of us to keep up with what’s going on whilst on the move as well as a welcome alternative to wasting trees by printing things off to read on the train. Listening to podcasts from South by Southwest 2007 (SXSW), Web Axe and Equal Access to Software and information have provided a welcome distraction for me whilst wedged in between disgruntled commuters on the way home (and also a lot easier than reading a paper).

For many people it’s also their preferred format when sourcing information. When meeting with Hidden Differences last week, an organisation that represents people with cognitive and reading problems, they talked about how when canvassing a large organisation’s employees recently on their preferred format for internal communications around a third opted for audio. Interesting.

However for some of us listening to podcasts it is not an option. If you’re deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, do not have a soundcard or speakers you’ll be locked out of content if it is only provided in audio format. Not only that so too will search engines. The guidance therefore, according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, is to provide a transcript of what’s being said.

Getting a good quality text transcript is not always as easy as it seems though. Just published in the Web Access Centre I look at overcoming the challenge of podcast transcription.

2 thoughts on “Trials and tribulations of podcast tanscription

  1. Good article, thanks for writing.

    I wonder about the link about “overcoming the challenge of podcast transcription” – it seems that it no longer exists on the organization’s website. I reported this to RNIB. That link also exists on a W3C guidelines page, so I hope this can be fixed.

    The SXSW online issue was already discussed in other blogpost and unfortunately, none of their videos or podcasts are accessible.

    About WebAxe, I could not help noticing the big irony. Sean Zdenek wrote an article about Dennis, the author of that website:

    http://seanzdenek.com/?page_id=42

    “Dennis explains away the need for a transcript on financial grounds (“I can’t afford a transcriber”), and then assumes that his “podcast/blog” will be “informative and valid” anyway. But podcasts without transcripts are not informative – to say the least – for “listeners” who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

    That’s true. I cannot access podcasts. I came across Dennis’ site before seeing this blog and could not help shaking my head at this big irony. When I informed him that I am deaf and cannot access his podcasts, he complained that he did not have money or time to create transcripts. I had to tell him that it does not make sense to talk about web accessibility and not make it accessible to those who cannot hear and that there are many ways to get transcripts. Finally he made the first transcript for the following podcast:

    http://webaxe.blogspot.com/2010/01/podcast-77-interview-with-terrill.html

    Hopefully, he will make them for each podcast he creates.

    Also, there’s a good link by Glenda Watson about how transcripts will increase the audience:

    http://www.doitmyselfblog.com/2008/using-transcripts-to-increase-your-audience/

    She types her blogposts with her only left thumb, by the way.

  2. It is interesting that many people with disabilities can create transcripts and many of those who have ten well functioning fingers complain about typing.

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