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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Nov > Nov 9

Transcribing UFO Podcasts And Documentaries

From: Isaac Koi <isaackoi.nul>
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2012 13:12:55 +0000
Archived: Fri, 09 Nov 2012 22:33:52 -0500
Subject: Transcribing UFO Podcasts And Documentaries

A while ago I mentioned I was interested in including PDF transcripts
of podcasts in my growing library of digitised UFO material.

I thought I'd report back to this List about a bit of
experimenting I conducted with a few options.

The results were rather disappointing.

After a bit of searching, it seemed that the two most promising
pieces of software were Dragon Naturally Speaking and Adobe
Soundbooth's Speech Search transcription function.

(1) Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon Naturally Speaking  is discussed on various websites,
including at:



In short, after doing some reading regarding Dragon Naturally
Speaking, it seems that software needs to be trained to the voice of a
particular individual, by that individual reading out various passages
of text.  This is, of course, a considerable problem when I was
seeking a means to transcribe large archives of podcasts featuring
various presenters and guests.

(2) Adobe Soundbooth:

I therefore turned to Adobe Soundbooth's "Speech Search"
transcription function which is discussed online at, amongst
other places, this link:


I used that software to create a transcript of Episode 400 of
EBK's Strange Days Indeed... podcast. That sample transcript is


As can be seen from that sample, the results are basically unusable
and I'm not convinced that seeking to correct that transcript would be
quicker than starting from scratch and simply transcribing a podcast

(3) Using Youtube's automated "closed caption" system:

While looking into the above two pieces of software, I can
across some material on Youtube's automatic "closed caption"
system.  Basically, it is possible to upload any video or
podcast to Youtube and use Youtube's automated system to create
a transcript of that material. The link above includes a sample
of second transcript of Episode 400 of EBK's "Strange Days
Indeed" podcast created using this method. (The relevant episode
of Strange Days Indeed was uploaded to a private folder so it
was not made publically available.  Errol is happy for me to
share the sample transcripts created by the various methods
outlined above).

While this method has the advantage of being free and very easy to
use, the results are - once again - very disappointing and almost
unusable as can be seen the from Youtube sample transcript at the link

(4) Downloading Youtube's "Closed Captions":

One of the more interesting incidental discoveries I made during the
above exercises regarding transcribing podcasts is that the closed
captions that can be displayed on almost all Youtube videos (by
clicking on the "CC" at the bottom right of each video and selecting
"Transcribe Auto") can be downloaded quickly and easily using various
methods.  The simplest and most reliable that I've found so far being
the one at this link:


Open the video page in Chrome browser (or any other browser that
provides HTTP debugging/Developer Tools) and pause the video

Right click anywhere on the page, and click on Inspect Element

OR hit the F12 function key.

Click on Network tab

Under the Network tab, look for an item called timedtext.

Right click on it and open that file in a new tab.

An xml file containing subtitles with their timestamps(the stuff
inside of <>) opens up.

You can then convert the transcript into numerous formats using
free software, e.g.: "Subtitle Edit" at:


Since many UFO documentaries are already on Youtube, I thought
this could be a great way of quickly building up a library of
transcripts of documentaries.

Unfortunately, the automated transcripts on Youtube videos are
generally _very_ poor and hence not much use.

They can, however, be quite amusing.

For example, if you turn on the automated captions on Youtube's
copy of de Caro's "Special Assignment" on CNN at the link below,
you get treated to mis-transcriptions such as "that silly UFO"
(4:47) and "crap landing" (5:16), plus my favourite - when
Airman Greg Battram ("Airman Greg") states on the video that "I
think I saw a UFO, some kind of spaceship from someplace not of
this Earth" the automated captions for the final bit say
"someplace closer" (4:41). Preparing my own transcript for ease
of future reference and searches using that transcript as a
starting point turned out to be rather time consuming due to the
errors and missing sections in the automated transcript:


Many of the comments on Youtube's automated closed captions
include the word "FAIL". In fact, the weakness of Youtube's
automated transcriptions is the source of some humour in the
Youtube video at the link below:


In a small number of cases, the transcripts on UFO documentaries
on Youtube are very good because someone has uploaded a human
transcription.  But a bit of random sampling of UFO videos on
Youtube suggests this applies to, oh, less than 1 percent of
videos so this only applies to a very small number of UFO
documentaries (as does - so far as I've seen - downloading
transcripts of UFO documentaries from Livedash.com and torrent

All-in-all, I found these results very disappointing.

I'll post something based on the above on the AboveTopSecret.com
forums shortly, since there are many technically capable members
on there that may be aware of some service or software that can
improve on the poor results mentioned above.

All the best,


Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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