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Podcast Transcription: How & Why You Must Transcribe Podcasts


Podcast Transcription: How & Why You Must Transcribe Podcasts

Ready to unlock your podcasts’ full impact? Grow your reach with podcast transcription.

Transcribing your podcast may seem counter intuitive. A podcast is designed to be listened to, so you’d be forgiven for thinking we’re being ridiculous. But, transcribing your podcast can actually boost it’s visibility on search results and it makes your show more accessible to different audiences. You can even use transcriptions to repurpose your content. 

In this article, we’ll teach you how to transcribe podcasts plus we’ll explain why it’s worth it. We cover different transcription methods, services and a full step-by-step on how to seamlessly transcribe your own podcast with Riverside.

What is podcast transcription?

Podcast transcription is the conversion of your podcast’s audio recording into a written text copy. You can use software that automatically transcribes podcasts for you, or you can transcribe manually by listening to the audio and typing it out.

With automated podcast transcription software, it’s possible to convert podcasts to text live during your recording session. Although, the most common technique is to produce your podcast transcription once you’ve finished recording. 

Why you should transcribe your podcast

You may wonder why anyone would want to transcribe a podcast to text. Aren’t podcasts supposed to be heard? 

Well, yes, while podcasts are more of an audio medium, creating transcripts can help enhance your podcast’s growth and repurposing content is always a good idea for reaching more audiences. You can turn transcripts into descriptions, blog posts, and even podcast subtitles. 

So read on to find out what benefits you can take advantage of, if you’re transcribing your podcasts.

Benefits of podcast transcriptions

Improve accessibility 

Over 5% of the world’s population (430 million people) suffer from ‘disabling’ hearing loss according to the World Health Organization. A transcript is essential to making sure your podcast is inclusive and accessible.

Reach a new audience

Not only will you reach those who are hard of hearing or who have a hearing impairment, but you’ll also gain new listeners: 

  • Non-native speakers
  • Those with unreliable internet connection 
  • Those who simply prefer reading

Great for listeners short on time

 A transcript (especially with timestamps) can act as a map for listeners that want to skip through and find specific content.

Maximize SEO and reach

Transcripts increase the amount of SEO content you can play with. By including transcripts on your podcast’s online page, you can help Google rank your post for keywords and topics covered in your show. This means that if you’re savvy, your podcast will be properly indexed, and you’ll instantly boost your search visibility and organic engagement.

  • Keyword opportunities. You can ensure that keywords are woven through your transcript. If you’ve hired someone to transcribe for you, equip them with an essential keyword list.  
  • Backlink opportunities. Backlinks are great for SEO and if you have ‘next steps’ or resources mentioned in your podcast, you can link them within your transcript and help your listeners action these.

Reusable and adaptable content

 A transcript gives your podcast life beyond audio. You can repurpose your content for other purposes such as marketing campaigns, social media posts, blog articles, you name it!

Get quoted and reviewed!

You’re saying some inspirational stuff on your podcast, make sure your audience won’t forget it! A podcast transcript means you can get quoted, referenced, and reviewed (accurately).

Transcripts get people to your platform

Readily available transcripts of your podcasts are a great lead magnet to attract listeners away from listening platforms like Apple or Spotify to your own website! This is a great chance to engage them with your other content or products!  

Types of podcast transcripts

File formats for your transcription

How you publish your transcription is up to you, and we’ll be looking at how others do it later. 

Downloadable PDF or Word Doc. You can offer your transcript as a downloadable file for your audience.

Text to be published on your website. You can publish your transcript as a blog post on your website or directly beneath your podcast episode description.

For Video Captions: 

SRT File otherwise called a SubRip Subtitle file is a plain text file that contains subtitle or caption information. Crucially, they include start and end time-codes which ensure that your subtitles match your audio timing. 

  • SRT files work on most social media platforms, meaning you don’t have to manually upload your captions 
  • SRT files are indexed by Google meaning they also bring SEO benefits. 

Manual versus Automated Transcription 

As we mentioned there are two types of transcription: manual and automated, and it really depends on how much time, money, and effort you want to commit to your transcription. 

Manual Transcription 

This is where a human listens to your audio and manually types out what they hear. You can either do the transcription yourself or pay a freelance or agency transcriptionist to do it for you. 


  • Accuracy. Humans understand context, nuance, tone, and punctuation in a way that computers just can’t, so you’ll get a much more natural and digestible transcript that needs little to no editing. 


  • Slow turn-around. Unlike AI solutions, humans require more time than you might think to transcribe even a short audio recording. This can disrupt workflows or leave you waiting around for your final transcription. 
  • Costly. Unless you decide to undertake your podcast transcription yourself, enlisting a human transcriber can be expensive. Charge structures vary from person to person and platform to platform - some charge by the hour of work and others by the length of audio.

Automated Transcription

This is where software automatically produces a transcription of your podcast audio. There is an array of transcription software available online, and we’ll outline the best options later. 


  • Quick and easy. Software solutions are intuitive and user-friendly, and automated transcription takes no time at all. 
  • Affordable. Automated transcriptions are usually much cheaper than their manual counterparts because you’ve cut out the labor cost. 


  • Inaccuracy means you must edit. Automated transcriptions are often riddled with inaccuracies that don’t reflect the original recording. This means that although you’ve paid for the original transcription, you or one of your team will have to edit it before publishing. 

Video Podcasts & Captions 

Transcripts are not just for audio podcasts. If you’ve recorded an HD video podcast using, there’s no reason not to include captions:

More accessible.
Including captions on your video podcast means that those who are hard of hearing or non-native speakers can still enjoy your visual content.

Scroll culture means most of us watch videos without sound. If you’re promoting your video podcast with dynamic excerpts and beautifully cut montages, you need captions. Captions mean your target audience will still be able to enjoy your promotional content without sound. 

Subtitles versus Captions 

You’ll often hear ‘subtitles’ and ‘captions’ used interchangeably, but they’re not actually the same thing. 


Subtitles are intended for non-native speakers. They only communicate dialogue and not sound effects or other relevant noises. 


Captions are for those who are unable to hear the audio. They convey both dialogue and any other relevant audio. 

  • Closed Captions (CC) can be turned off by the viewer 
  • Open Captions are embedded into the video and cannot be turned off

How to transcribe your podcast: 3 Ways

DIY Transcription 

This is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re transcribing a podcast yourself, listen to the audio and get typing. 


  • Free. DIY transcription is perfect for those with a tight budget. 
  • Easy. There’s nothing complicated about transcribing your podcast, simply listen back to your podcast recording and type what you hear. 
  • Accurate. You know exactly what was said during your session and you also know how you want it to come across. Plus, as we said before humans understand context and nuance in a way that computers can’t.


  • Time and labor-intensive. Don’t underestimate how long it takes to transcribe even an hour of audio. You may not have the time to give, in which case DIY transcription may not be an option for you. 

Pay a Transcriptionist

If you want to save yourself all the hard work, another option is to pay for a podcast transcription service. A professional transcriptionist will transcribe your podcast for you. 


  • Accurate. The human touch means your final transcription will be free from mistakes or grammatical errors. It also means that unnecessary verbal tics or mistakes will be cut out. 
  • No need to edit. Human transcriptionists can edit your transcription themselves; this will make the copy more readable and save you time.


  • Costly. For obvious reasons, hiring a human transcriptionist is the most expensive option. 
  • Longer turnaround time. Although turnaround time from most services online is still only one to two days, this may delay your working processes.

Use an Automated Transcription Service

This is the fastest of the three methods. You’ll simply have to find a reliable podcast transcript generator to upload your podcast’s audio recording to. The generator then creates a podcast transcript within minutes. 


  • Fast & easy. Automation services often take no more than half a day. All you have to do is upload the recording and wait till it's done.
  • Affordable. The advancements in technology gave rise to many software-based transcription services. This has led to lower prices, making this an affordable option for many podcasters.


  • Proofreading is essential. Although automated transcriptions has become much better in the last years, it still contains inaccuracies. It'sa must to carefully go over the transcription to finetune it.

Best Podcast Transcription Services: 

Once you’ve finished recording your podcast using a platform like, you’ll upload your WAV file to get it transcribed. 


You may know Riverside as a studio-quality podcast recording platform, but did you know that we also offer transcriptions? Instead of going through the hassle of downloading and re-uploading your podcast recording, do everything in one place. With Riverside you can download both TXT. or SRT. transcriptions straight after recording. 


  • Instantly fast video and audio transcriptions within just a few clicks after recording.
  • Transcribe podcasts in over 100+ languages to increase your reach and cater to your audiences.
  • Accurate AI speech to-text recognition so you can spend less time proofreading.
  • Differentiates between multiple speakers without you having to edit anything.
  • Top-quality recording and transcriptions in one platform so you don’t need to have multiple accounts on different software.
  • Local recording to ensure you have crisp and clear audio for more accurate transcriptions 
  • Video Captions available in various styles, fonts and any color
  • Magic Clips tool which turns your podcast recordings into short shareable promotional clips, all at the tap of one button
  • Text-based video and audio editing, so you can use your transcripts to seamlessly cut and navigate through your recordings.


  • Transcriptions in other languages may not be as accurate as English transcriptions.

Sign up to start transcribing effortlessly! You can also try our free transcription tool first.

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Go Transcript podcast transcription services

Type: Manual Transcription 


  • Cheap. Under $1/minute of audio, although the prices vary on which turnaround time you elect. 
  • Video and Audio Transcription. 
  • Rush order option. So you can meet tight deadlines. 
  • Accurate. All texts are reviewed, proofread and quality checked to ensure maximum accuracy. 
  • Technical Transcription. GoTranscript caters for more complex or technical topic areas, so if your podcast looks at specialist material - they have you covered. 
  • Timestamps. GoTranscript adds timestamps in one of two ways: either a timestamp every 2 minutes or every time the speaker changes. 


  • Turn around is slow. Unless you pay for their rush order option, turnaround can take up to 3 days. 


Rev podcast transcriber

Type: Manual 


  • Audio and Video Transcription. 
  • Fast turnaround. Most transcriptions are delivered within 12 hours. If you need to meet a tight deadline, pay an additional $1/minute of audio to get files back up to 5x faster. 
  • Accuracy. 99% accuracy   
  • Transcribes all accents. No additional charge for non-American accents, and able to transcribe tracks with multiple speakers and background noise. 


  • More costly.  $1.25/minute of audio. 
  • Additional cost for timestamps. Additional $0.25/audio minute to add timestamps.


Trint podcast transcript generator

Type: Automated Transcription 


  • Quick turnaround. Literally within seconds (although you’ll probably have to do some editing) 
  • Follow, edit, and verify on the Trint Editor. You can watch in real-time as your podcast is transcribed, verifying the words that appear on your screen. 
  • File can be any duration. Because of the subscription structure of their pricing, your file can be any duration you want. 
  • Vocab builder. If your podcast is jargon packed, Trint allows you to build a bank of specific vocabulary, phrases, names, and words which helps with the overall accuracy of your transcription. 
  • Timestamps. Timestamps are automatically included in your transcription. 


  • Expensive annual or monthly subscription. Trint starts at $44/month, which may not be a viable option for some in terms of cash flow. 
  • Lower accuracy. Automated transcription still requires you to make edits. 

How to transcribe podcasts effortlessly with Riverside

It’s easier than ever to transcribe podcasts accurately with Riverside. Simply follow these quick steps:

Step 1: Record a high-quality podcast

Sign in to your Riverside account and create a new recording studio. You can invite up to 7 guess to join you remotely and you’lll receive separate audio and video tracks for each. 

After setting everything up, join your studio and start recording. Make use of Riverside’s echo cancellation to ensure your audio is tip top. The clearer your audio is, the more accurate your transcriptions will be.

If you’ve already recorded your podcast on another platform, and just want a transcription you can always use our podcast transcript generator. We do suggest recording on Riverside for the best results, though. 

Step 2: Generate your automatic podcast transcriptions

After ending your session, Riverside will redirect you to your recording files. Here you'll see a preview of your transcript. You can either view the whole transcript, or select Download transcript to save your automatic transcriptions.

Downloading a podcast transcription on Riverside

Step 3: Download your Podcast Subtitles and Transcriptions

Once your transcriptions generate, you can choose between subtitles (SRT.) files, or a text transcription. SRT files are best for captions as they include timestamps. You can easily use these to burn captions to your video or to add them on any platform as open captions.

Note that you can also enter the editor to use these transcriptions to edit your video.

Where to include your podcast transcriptions: 

There are several ways you can include your podcast transcription. It really depends on your audience and what you’re looking to do with it. 

  • On each episode’s page. You can post your transcription directly beneath your show notes as text. This makes it instantly accessible and invites listeners to make use of your transcription.

  • A dedicated page for your transcripts. You could create a specific page for your transcripts - this will act as a sort of ‘bank’ or ‘archive’ and means your audience can access all your transcripts at once.
  • Downloadable transcripts. Some podcasters prefer making their transcripts downloadable. You can offer your transcript as a PDF or Word Doc so your audience can download a copy for themselves. Note: PDF or Word Docs included on your website do not help with your SEO
  • Publish as a blog post. This is a great way to repurpose your podcast content and make your transcript shine. Publishing as a dedicated blog post is a good way to drive traffic to your blog and other content.

  • Video podcast. If you’ve recorded a video podcast, we recommend simply including your transcription as captions. This means your viewers still enjoy your HD visuals. 

Great Podcast Transcript Examples (and why) 

If you’re still feeling a little bit bewildered, we’ve included some examples of how popular podcasts use and publish their transcripts. Get ready to be inspired! 

New York Times’ The Daily

The Daily Podcast Transcript example

Linked as a lightbox on each episode’s page.  This means the transcript is easily accessible, should you want to use it.

Formatted for easy reading. 

  • Ample spacing between paragraphs and speakers, meaning navigating the transcript is easy. 
  • Archived recording is included as an indented quote to help the reader differentiate. 

This American Life Podcast Transcript 

The American Life Podcast Transcript

Published on a dedicated page. Each episode’s transcription is linked directly from the episode page.

Formatted for easy reading. 

  • Each speaker’s name is emboldened
  • Guest paragraphs indented to distinguish from the host
  • Sections are titled for easy navigation.  

Freakonomics Radio podcast transcript 

Freakonomics podcast transcript example

Published directly beneath each episode. Meaning you can read along whilst you listen, if you please.

Formatted for easy reading. 

  • Guest quotes are placed in in-dented colored boxes. This delineates between the host’s commentary and their contributions.

Additional Resources & Backlinks. Freakonomics includes backlinks to previous episodes of theirs (great for SEO!), as well as a list of resources at the end of each transcript. This gives the audience more background and information about the episode content and helps them act on Freakonomics’ recommendations.

Archive of Transcripts. Freakonomics also has an archive of all their previous podcast transcripts on their website. This means readers can peruse at their leisure. 

Bonus Tips for your Podcast Transcripts 

  • Record your audio in HD.  Record and save your audio in uncompressed - lossless - file formats such as WAV ( does this automatically). WAV files preserve audio quality, making it easier to be transcribed (particularly important if you’re using an automatic transcription service).
  • Produce a style guide. While this does require a small investment of time, the benefit is huge. Whether or not you’re using AI software or human transcriptionists, you’ll want your transcripts to look consistent - a style guide helps your team to understand format, grammar, structure, etc.
  • Make sure to include timestamps in your transcript. Timestamps help the reader navigate the text, especially if they’re looking for a specific section.
  • Think about formatting. You’ll notice that the examples we gave above take some time to consider their formatting just like they would an article, adding quotes, subheadings, etc. Formatting also helps with SEO optimization and reader experience.

  • Use your transcript. You’ve dedicated time and money to produce a podcast transcript - make sure you use it. Beyond posting it on your website, consider repurposing your text for marketing or social media too!

FAQs on Podcast Transcriptions

How do I transcribe a podcast for free?

You can easily transcribe a podcast for free online! Some free podcast transcript generators include:

  2. OTranscribe
  3. Express Scribe
  5. Transcribear

How do I transcribe podcasts to text?

There are three ways you can do this. You can:

  1. Manually transcribe a podcast yourself
  2. Pay a professional transcription service to create podcast transcripts for you
  3. Automatically create transcriptions with a podcast transcript generator

How long does it take to transcribe a podcast episode?

Transcription time depends on the method you’re using as well as the length of the episode. If you’re transcribing manually it will likely take a few hours, if not longer. On the other hand, if you’re using an automatic transcription tool it’s possible to receive transcripts in minutes. 

Can I get a transcript of a podcast?

Yes! You can easily get a transcript of a podcast. If it’s your own show, you can use a podcast transcript generator, or service, to get a transcription effortlessly. 

If you’d like to get the transcript of a show that’s not yours, it depends on the distribution platform. For example, on YouTube you just need to click the three ellipses under a video to request a transcript. If you can’t receive a transcript this way, then you may have to ask the podcaster. 

Is a podcast transcript worth it?

Podcast transcripts can boost your visibility and reach, making them a highly worthy investment. Transcripts help search engines rank your show in search results. This is why it’s best to think of keywords you’d like to rank for and include them in your transcript where possible. Using podcast transcripts also helps non-native speakers follow along, making your show more accessible to larger audiences. It’s also a good idea to repurpose your podcast transcripts into blog post or social media content to increase your reachability even more.

Final Thoughts 

If you weren’t convinced before, we hope you are now. As we’ve seen, even the biggest and most famous podcasts out there are ensuring to provide episode transcriptions. If you’ve been wondering how to expand your reach - look no further. You’ll instantly make your podcast more accessible and inclusive, you’ll be giving a new life to your audio content, and you’ll amp up your quotability. It’s a no-brainer. 

Even better: With's Pro and Enterprise plans, you get unlimited automatic podcast transcripts. Sign up to check it out.

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