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Step by Step Guide to Get YouTube Video Transcripts


Ryan Stewart

I have an unhealthy obsession with being considered the world's BEST internet marketer. I'm highly active on social media and love a good debate.

We do a ton of YouTube SEO for clients.

A great way to add a ranking boost to videos is by adding the video transcript into the description section.

YouTube Transripts

Problem is, typing out a transcript is a pain.

I don’t present problems without offering a solution. In this case, I’m giving you two:

Sound good? Let’s get into it.


Pull your own YouTube transcripts

  • Firebug is a lightweight browser plug in that’s a MUST if you’re a web analyst. It allows you to easily perform a number of technical debugging actions on HTML, DOM elements and live editing of CSS properties.
  • It also helps you get the transcript for your YouTube videos.
  • Download the free add on here: Firebug
  • Install Firebug and restart your browser
  • Head over to YouTube and open the video with the transcript you want to download.
  • Open Firebug: Tools -> Web Developer -> Firebug -> Open Firebug
  • Go to “Net” in the Firebug tab
  • If disabled, click on the button to enable it
  • Refresh your browser
  • Press the closed caption [CC] button located in the bottom right hand corner of your video
  • In the Firebug search bar (top right of the Firebug screen), type ‘timedtext’ (no quotes)
  • Locate the 2nd instance of ‘get timedtext’
  • Right click on the ‘get timedtext’ and open in a new window
  • Your video transcript will be in the new browser. You may have to do some decoding and re scripting, as YouTube voice recognition greatly depends on the quality of your audio. However, this is a huge time saver from writing the whole thing out!


Cheap video transcription services

What I just laid out is a nice hack, but it’s not perfect.

You’ll notice you still have to do significant cleaning in order to get the transcript to appear how you want it.

That’s why I don’t mess with all that – I pay someone to do it.

If you’ve looked around the web for a video transcription service, you’ve probably noticed they range from $1.00 – $4.00 per minute.

That’s insane.

I found a website that does it for $.60 per minute. That’s right buddy, $.60 per minute.

What’s even better, they have an automated platform that allows for easy ordering. Bulk upload your videos or YouTube video URLs and their team transcribes and formats them, perfectly.


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  • Haley Says

    Wow! I am learning so much from your blog. I never even fathomed that I could get transcripts from Youtube. Thank for sharing!

  • Laua Dixon Says

    Very informative. I like the step by step guide and informative video’s. This is a skill that will come in very handy for any marketer or video creator. Thanks for posting this guide.

    • Ryan Stewart Says

      You’re very welcome Laura

  • Bandle Says

    I can tell you really got a lot of experience with this. Great site!

  • Justus Says

    Darn this is brilliant! Genius Man Genius!

  • Mcmurry Says

    dude how did you learn all of this? freakin awesome!!!

  • Macrina Says

    I read somewhere in a forum where somebody was trying to sell how to do this, so thank you a great deal for providing this helpful info for free.

  • Somrak Says

    Really enjoyed the vid! I learned a lot about youtube video transcripts.

  • Vale J. Says

    Does firebug contain any spyware? I am hesitant about downloading stuff I never heard of.

  • Derrick Rodkin Says

    Some people think the description section is unimportant. But that is probably more important than the vid itself in the eyes of search engines.

  • Conway Says

    and all the time I’ve been writing these out. Man! wish I had seen your tutorial earlier…oh well guess better later than never.

  • Sam Q. Says

    Didn’t know making YouTube transcripts was this easy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sam Q. Says

    Thanks for sharing! Helps me a lot!

    • Yuvraj Says

      TYVM you’ve solved all my prlmeobs

  • Jan Says

    Is there any way to get the transcript where you don’t have access to the ‘CC’ button? I have a locked (private) video I want to do this with but I can’t get at the CC button. Thanks.

  • Koemei Says

    Hey, a guy from Koemei here. Just wanted to let you know that if you want to get a machine transcript in an easy way and even to search your videos based on the transcript, you may want to try Koemei https://koemei.com using a free trial. Moreover, you can integrate the video search into your own website. Hope it be of use for your.

  • Mika Douglas Says

    Followed the steps however, there is only 1 instance of “timedtext”. Any idea as to the issue?

  • gen Says

    what plugin did you use to lock that link? pretty cool

  • Khaldoun Says

    It’s just for English language, but for another laguage it is not working. Have you another idea for it.

  • learn share Says

    On Safari (web-Inspector) is possible to do this, but we have to copy from the element tag (div “transcript-scrollbox”).

    Thanks for sharing, 😉

  • johnc Says

    Any tips on extracting from the xml?

  • Rob Stephens Says

    I use video transcripts on my blogposts – if I use the same transcript in my YouTube video description will I get penalised for duplicate content?

    • no, but i wouldnt use them on both…i like to use the full transcript on blog posts and a summary on youtube videos

  • chris Says

    I am inputting timed text in to the search but nothing is showing…

  • I was excited when I saw your tip/tutorial here, but for the life of me I can’t see the text. Here is a screenshot of the speaker at a funeral. The video has CC, so I enabled it as well as added “timedtext” with no quotes into the search box under the NET tab. It looks like a running list of IP addresses, hmm, am I overlooking something perhaps? I apologize for posting a link here, but I don’t see a way to upload an image into your comment form here. https://goo.gl/photos/V7UU77JDpif8gFrr6

  • John is Homeless in Boulder Says

    I have another question, I promise I’m not spamming, I just see that my previous comment hasn’t been reviewed yet, but I’d really like to ask this also.

    The Firefox Add-ons page says this is no longer supported and suggests using the Mozilla dev tools. Does that operate the same as this somewhere deep down in the setting?

    New question:

  • Brian Says

    Succinct, actionable info. Thank you! Tried selecting five stars but no visual feedback when I clicked.

  • ma sarvamangala Says

    Was looking for just this. Thank you.

  • Marinette Says

    Hello! Thanks for sharing this info. Do you know if it is possible to add a transcript for a YouTube video that is embedded on a different site?

  • Ahmed Says

    Hello Rayan

    We have a youtube channel with ranking videos about jobs and resume. and we wish to create a website that will have blogs and articles made out of video transcriptions of our channel.

    For example:
    ABC youtube channel has a video about how to write a resume (with closed caption CC)
    Can we make an article out of it on our new website XYZ?

    Note: the video CC (transcript) are not found online on any article or website.

    it’s unique to the web but not to youtube as there is transcription in the CC, not the description.

    just advise us if it’s ok we do that without getting penalized for palgraizm or duplicated content.

    If you upload a transcript (or caption) to YouTube, then post that video/transcript in your blog, wouldn’t you get pinged for duplicate content?

  • Freelancer Parvez Says

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    Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job Man,Keep it up.

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