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Impact: High
Effort: High

Transcripts provide a written account of an audio file or the spoken portion of a video. Transcripts are usually made available to students in a file separate from the video or audio file. Unlike captions, transcripts are not synchronized or displayed along with the audio. However, transcripts can contain cross-references to PowerPoint slide numbers. Transcripts are commonly provided as a searchable PDF file.

If you are creating a video, podcast, or narrated PowerPoint for your students, start by writing a script. Although this takes some time, you will find that the time you invest at the beginning of the process will save time during the recording. Once you have completed the recording, you can make your script available to your students as a transcript.


Transcripts offer a pathway to access for hearing-impaired students. In addition, they provide all students with a valuable study aid that can be reviewed, searched, and annotated. For these reasons, we rated transcribing as a high impact activity.

Creating transcripts comes with a cost. If you use a pre-written script as a transcript, you invest time at the beginning of the process. Transcribing after the fact can be accomplished in-house, but it is time-intensive. It can also be outsourced for a fee. Because of the resource-intensive nature of this activity, we gave it a high effort rating.


Bill Gates gave a TED Talk in 2009 entitled Mosquitos, Malaria, and Education. You can watch the video by clicking the link below. A transcript of the Gates video is also available.

The science fiction writer, Ursula K. Le Guin, was interviewed by Scott Simon of National Public Radio. Click the Play button below to listen to the interview. A transcript of the Le Guin interview is also available.

More Information

The WebAIM article on Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions provides a comprehensive overview of accessibility mechanisms for video.

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