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There has been some level of effort to provide written transcripts of official Stack Exchange podcasts. Transcripts for the first four Unicorn Meta Zoo podcasts were posted on Github, and the ninth received a transcript as an answer. Some podcasts don't seem to have transcripts at all anywhere, and for those that do, their locations are inconsistent. Externally-hosted transcripts can decay at any time.

Let's have an official process or practice to create transcripts of official podcasts. This would benefit several groups:

  • Users with hearing or auditory processing disabilities
  • Users for whom English is a foreign language and that prefer reading at their own pace
  • Users in areas where listening to a podcast is socially inappropriate and/or potentially disruptive, such as a public library, classroom, or workplace
  • Users with low bandwidth and/or high-latency connections

As SolveIt mentioned, this would also greatly aid searchability. If I have a vague recollection that there was a podcast that happened to venture into best practices in how much unicorn sparkle dust to feed moderators after midnight, I can check it out myself with a single search rather than listening through hours of podcasts or asking the community to do so for me.

  • Perhaps they could look into otter.ai – marcellothearcane Oct 16 '19 at 19:31
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    @RobertColumbia Transcripts would also be useful for anybody who can read considerably faster than people are talking on the podcast, and would rather save time by reading (including possibly skimming parts they don't have much interest in) than listening to an entire podcast. Also, it makes it much easier for anybody to go back and do things like reread some particular section of the podcast at a later time. – John Omielan Oct 17 '19 at 0:30
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    To add to the benefits of transcripts, transcripts are also searchable and indexable. – SolveIt Oct 17 '19 at 2:43
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    A written transcript would indeed be very nice to have for these podcasts. SE shouldn't assume that anyone wanting to follow the podcasts has the ability to listen to it. With the wide audience SE reaches there will be people that are more comfortable reading it in text, for whatever reason. Even an option so that users can provide transcripts would be most welcome. – Remy Jan 21 at 14:05
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    @SolveIt Which is why this feature-request is so sorely needed and will also likely be ignored. – Boaz Jan 21 at 14:17
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    I would read the transcripts, while I won't listen to the podcasts. Too much noise with not enough signal. Transcripts would fix most of that. – Mast Jan 21 at 14:21
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    Understanding written English is much easier for me than when listening to it, esp. when the pronunciation is not BBC level. – Suma Jan 21 at 19:02
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    I don't mind transcribing the podcasts. I'm sure others wouldn't mind volunteering if their were a process for doing so. – dustytrash Jan 21 at 22:21
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    I know some podcasts, like Buffering The Vampire Slayer, have a process set up for volunteers to provide transcripts. So it's not like they'd need to reinvent the wheel. – April Salutes Monica C. Jan 23 at 17:40
  • I use Otter.ai and it isn't perfect by any means; but I figure if you combine that with a meta.se community wiki post for the transcript, then people can edit it to improve it without a lot of fuss. Of course, that also brings up if the community really wants transcripts, they can make a CW post and just... well.. make a transcript. – George Stocker Jul 21 at 16:31
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+500

I am happy to report that we now have transcripts up for the most recent podcasts. All of the podcasts posted since #239 on May 29 (with the exceptions of 241 and 249) now have a link on the related blog post to the episode transcript.

The transcripts themselves are hosted on Simplecast, who is our podcast host - so if you happen to listen to the podcasts directly on that site, you will see a link to Transcript for any episode where we have a transcript. For example, here is how it looks for #251:

Image of interface on the Simplecast website showing the transcript

Big thanks to Ben Popper and his team for helping to set this up.

I will post an update here if/when more transcripts are available for additional older episodes. Moving forward, every new episode should be getting a link pointing directly to the transcript in its related blog post.


on each podcast post:
no longer just audio;
transcripts wait for you

| improve this answer | |
  • Navigating to the transcript is obscure. Follow your own links to podcast 239. Quick--where is the link? And why should I be forced to read or even skip somebody's summary of the content to find a link instead of just following a link & reading the content? – philipxy Jul 22 at 20:49

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