Transcript Practice

I am doing transcripts for Buddhist related videos and audio available on the Internet.  The reasons I am doing some transcripts are numerous.

  • sometimes videos disappear from YouTube for various reasons
  • sometimes I like to quote from videos and end up transcribing some of it
  • sometimes it’s faster to read a transcript than to watch a video
  • its useful to encounter the material in a variety of formats to increase understanding of it
  • some people’s learning style is more textual or visual than audile. (I’m one of those)
  • it only takes about an hour for a 10 minute video and makes an interesting blog post for some readers
  • it can be more thoroughly indexed by search engines making the material more easily available
  • it can be read by deaf people. Very few YouTube videos have closed captioning nor do audio files have transcripts
  • it is useful for people who don’t have English as a first language since accents or local manners of speaking can make understanding difficult

If you have a favorite dharma talk, interview or relevant material that is only available in audio or video format it’s an exercise that can give you a better understanding of the material as well as a lesson in patience.

I am using a modified screen-play format in posts which contain the transcripts just to make them as clear as possible. That format, which is in bold, explanatory notes are in plain text, is as follows:

[brief listing of subject content in square brackets]

–link to video


Introductory Text: (as it appears on the screen-if any)

Title Text: (if any)

Text: (as it appears on the screen-if any)

Transcript contents can be divided between main portions if there is more than one major subject. If there are several speakers they also need to be identified by name if possible. If they are discussion group members each could be indicated by a number. This is particularly important if people are talking off screen.

[Principle Speaker]

Speaker 1:

Speaker 2 (off-screen):


Concluding Text or Titles: (as it appears on the screen-if any)

Video Details: (if any)

Here is an example of the format. So if you’ve run out of things to do on your blog and you have a favorite audio or video talk that doesn’t have a transcript or something that you want to get into a little more deeply you could try this transcript work-study practice. No need to follow my format. It’s more of a note to myself. I just find having a structure ahead of time means I don’t have to think about that when dealing with the material itself.  If you don’t have a blog I’d be happy to post any that are done here as well. It’s quite a mindfulness-listening exercise as well as one in patience.

I type it up on a word-processor then go through it for spelling, punctuation and formatting. A fair bit of stopping and starting involved initially if the speaker talks fast and the video is long. But I’m finding it a worthwhile exercise. Putting in adequate punctuation seems to be the moment when reading for the meaning of the words is really accentuated. You can’t just gloss over any parts or let your mind wander, which I admit, happens to me sometimes when I’m watching a video or listening to an MP3.


By NellaLou

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