Automatic Apple Podcasts transcripts are coming. Here's how to make sure they're accurate.

Automatic Apple Podcasts transcripts are coming—and bringing better accessibility and SEO along. Make sure yours are accurate with this guide.
February 5, 2024
Arielle Nissenblatt
In this article
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Matt D., Copywriter
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What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
Podcasts
Social media clips
Transcriptions
Start editing audio & video
This makes the editing process so much faster. I wish I knew about Descript a year ago.
Matt D., Copywriter
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What type of content do you primarily create?

Videos
Podcasts
Social media clips
Transcriptions

Late last month, Apple Podcasts announced that in their upcoming iOS update, they’ll be auto-transcribing audio content and making the transcripts available to listeners who want to read along with their favorite shows.

My immediate reaction was to jump for joy. I’ve been secretly (and not so secretly) asking and hoping and praying for this for a while now. I live in New York City and always have AirPods in my ears. And while I try to keep the volume on my podcasts to a responsible level, it gets difficult when there are a lot of loud commuters or the train skids over a track and makes a screechy sound.

For years, I've turned up the volume a little bit. But I know how damaging that can be. So let me read my goshdarn podcast, won’t you? Now, Apple Podcasts will!

What does this mean for listeners?

It's not just good for me and my commute, though. Disability advocates have been pushing for this change for a long time: transcripts make podcasts more accessible so that D/deaf and hard of hearing folks can enjoy the content that podcasters put out, too. There are also some folks who’d simply prefer to read—whether it’s because it works better for their comprehension or they just feel like it is none of my business. And this move by Apple Podcasts allows for all of the above.

What does this mean for creators?

But as a podcaster—maybe one who hasn't wanted to be bothered with transcripts until now, maybe one who's been publishing transcripts religiously—what does this change mean for you?

You’ve likely been hearing for a while that transcripts are great for SEO, and it's true. Audio is famously difficult to search, which is why podcast episode titles and descriptions are so important: you need to include any keywords that potential listeners might be using to find you in text form. But because a transcript is literally a text version of the words spoken in your podcast, it makes it that much easier for potential listeners to find you and your show. And once they're there, they can search your transcript directly for the idea they're looking for.

Here's how these transcripts will show up in Apple Podcasts.

Podcast transcript in Apple Podcasts
Credit: Apple

Apple's auto-transcripts are:

  • Complete: Transcripts will enable the audience to read the full text of the episode.
  • Dynamic: Each word is highlighted as the episode plays so listeners can follow along.
  • Searchable: Search for a word or phrase, and tap the text to play from that point in the episode.
  • In multiple languages: Apple is providing transcripts for English, French, German, and Spanish-language podcasts across 170 countries and regions.
  • Limited: Apple won't transcribe any audio dynamically inserted after the first upload—i.e. dynamically inserted ads—and it also won't transcribe any music lyrics.

Apple's podcast transcripts officially launch with iOS 17.4, which is expected to release by March. And importantly, Apple leaves the option open for podcasters to upload their own transcripts through their hosting providers via the RSS transcript tag. They've provided a handy list of podcast hosts so you can check to see if your supports custom transcripts.

How to make sure your transcript is accurate (with Descript, naturally)

While it’s reasonable to expect that Apple’s auto transcripts will get better with time, they’re not gonna be perfect right off the bat. And I want to make sure that you’re being represented in the best possible light to your listeners—we don’t need AI misconstruing your words. So, yes, you can rely on the auto-generated transcripts, but you can also take the transcript bull by the horns and own your destiny.

Which is why I think you should edit your own transcript in Descript and upload it to your hosting provider. You'll know that everything is correct: your guest's name is spelled right, your website and social handles won't lead people astray, and your episode topic is written in a way that's easy to search.

How to export a transcript in Descript

1. Edit, mix, and finalize your episode

  • Add your music, sound effects, and all the special things that make it your show

2. Correct your transcript by listening or reading through and changing common misspellings. Just highlight the word and then click Correct (or type C), then type in the right word.

  • Hint: use Descript’s transcription glossary to correct certain brand words that you don’t want to worry about episode after episode

Screenshot of correcting a Descript transcript
Correcting the Descript transcript

3. Export your audio (and/or video if you’re also a video podcaster)

Screenshot of exporting podcast audio in Descript
Exporting podcast audio in Descript
‎4. Export your transcript separately
  • Click Publish on the top right corner of your screen
  • Click Export
  • Click Subtitles
  • Under Format, select SRT. Choose Show speakers.
  • Export your subtitle file.

Screenshot of exporting a subtitle file in Descript
Exporting a subtitle file

That’s it. Now, in addition to exporting your audio and video files, you’re also equipped with a file of your latest episode’s transcript. Now what should you do with it?

Even before Apple Podcasts made this latest announcement, I’ve been advocating for transcripts. Lots of people have. So you may have been following the best practices laid out by podcast marketing and content experts for a while — adding your transcripts to your websites or using the transcript tag in your RSS feed to have it displayed in certain other podcast players, but incase you’re totally new to this, we got you.

Bringing your transcript to Apple Podcasts

As we shared above, Apple will automatically generate a transcript for your show every time you upload a new episode. This is a great start. But we want you to bring your carefully edited, Descript-transcribed transcript into your Apple Podcasts Connect account so that your listeners (and now readers) can use that, better one. Here’s how:

  1. Go to podcasters.apple.com and sign in. (Side note: if you haven’t explored this page, do! There are events, opportunities to promote yourself, a social media image generator, and more.)
  2. Click on your show.
  3. On the left side of the screen, click on Availability.
  4. In the Transcript section, click the second bullet point: Display transcripts I provide, or auto-generated transcripts by Apple if one isn't provided.
  5. Go back to your podcast hosting provider’s dashboard. When you upload your new episode, use the transcript tool to add the associated transcript your RSS feed. Here's what that looks like in Captivate.

Screenshot of the "add or edit a transcript" link in Captivate
Adding a transcript file in Captivate

That’s it! Now that you’ve uploaded your transcript, you control what your listeners read rather than relying on the auto-generated transcript. This big news from Apple Podcasts means they're making a push for accessibility for listeners and consumers of podcasts. And because these transcripts are searchable, it’s also reasonable to assume that this news will have implications for search and discoverability for creators. It's a win-win.

Arielle Nissenblatt
Arielle Nissenblatt is the Community Marketing Manager at Descript. She's a big-time podcast creator advocate and listener. She's the founder of EarBuds Podcast Collective, a podcast recommendation newsletter. She hosts two podcasts about the podcast industry, Feedback with EarBuds: The Podcast Recommendation Podcast and Trailer Park: The Podcast Trailer Podcast.
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Automatic Apple Podcasts transcripts are coming. Here's how to make sure they're accurate.

Late last month, Apple Podcasts announced that in their upcoming iOS update, they’ll be auto-transcribing audio content and making the transcripts available to listeners who want to read along with their favorite shows.

My immediate reaction was to jump for joy. I’ve been secretly (and not so secretly) asking and hoping and praying for this for a while now. I live in New York City and always have AirPods in my ears. And while I try to keep the volume on my podcasts to a responsible level, it gets difficult when there are a lot of loud commuters or the train skids over a track and makes a screechy sound.

For years, I've turned up the volume a little bit. But I know how damaging that can be. So let me read my goshdarn podcast, won’t you? Now, Apple Podcasts will!

What does this mean for listeners?

It's not just good for me and my commute, though. Disability advocates have been pushing for this change for a long time: transcripts make podcasts more accessible so that D/deaf and hard of hearing folks can enjoy the content that podcasters put out, too. There are also some folks who’d simply prefer to read—whether it’s because it works better for their comprehension or they just feel like it is none of my business. And this move by Apple Podcasts allows for all of the above.

What does this mean for creators?

But as a podcaster—maybe one who hasn't wanted to be bothered with transcripts until now, maybe one who's been publishing transcripts religiously—what does this change mean for you?

You’ve likely been hearing for a while that transcripts are great for SEO, and it's true. Audio is famously difficult to search, which is why podcast episode titles and descriptions are so important: you need to include any keywords that potential listeners might be using to find you in text form. But because a transcript is literally a text version of the words spoken in your podcast, it makes it that much easier for potential listeners to find you and your show. And once they're there, they can search your transcript directly for the idea they're looking for.

Here's how these transcripts will show up in Apple Podcasts.

Podcast transcript in Apple Podcasts
Credit: Apple

Apple's auto-transcripts are:

  • Complete: Transcripts will enable the audience to read the full text of the episode.
  • Dynamic: Each word is highlighted as the episode plays so listeners can follow along.
  • Searchable: Search for a word or phrase, and tap the text to play from that point in the episode.
  • In multiple languages: Apple is providing transcripts for English, French, German, and Spanish-language podcasts across 170 countries and regions.
  • Limited: Apple won't transcribe any audio dynamically inserted after the first upload—i.e. dynamically inserted ads—and it also won't transcribe any music lyrics.

Apple's podcast transcripts officially launch with iOS 17.4, which is expected to release by March. And importantly, Apple leaves the option open for podcasters to upload their own transcripts through their hosting providers via the RSS transcript tag. They've provided a handy list of podcast hosts so you can check to see if your supports custom transcripts.

How to make sure your transcript is accurate (with Descript, naturally)

While it’s reasonable to expect that Apple’s auto transcripts will get better with time, they’re not gonna be perfect right off the bat. And I want to make sure that you’re being represented in the best possible light to your listeners—we don’t need AI misconstruing your words. So, yes, you can rely on the auto-generated transcripts, but you can also take the transcript bull by the horns and own your destiny.

Which is why I think you should edit your own transcript in Descript and upload it to your hosting provider. You'll know that everything is correct: your guest's name is spelled right, your website and social handles won't lead people astray, and your episode topic is written in a way that's easy to search.

How to export a transcript in Descript

1. Edit, mix, and finalize your episode

  • Add your music, sound effects, and all the special things that make it your show

2. Correct your transcript by listening or reading through and changing common misspellings. Just highlight the word and then click Correct (or type C), then type in the right word.

  • Hint: use Descript’s transcription glossary to correct certain brand words that you don’t want to worry about episode after episode

Screenshot of correcting a Descript transcript
Correcting the Descript transcript

3. Export your audio (and/or video if you’re also a video podcaster)

Screenshot of exporting podcast audio in Descript
Exporting podcast audio in Descript
‎4. Export your transcript separately
  • Click Publish on the top right corner of your screen
  • Click Export
  • Click Subtitles
  • Under Format, select SRT. Choose Show speakers.
  • Export your subtitle file.

Screenshot of exporting a subtitle file in Descript
Exporting a subtitle file

That’s it. Now, in addition to exporting your audio and video files, you’re also equipped with a file of your latest episode’s transcript. Now what should you do with it?

Even before Apple Podcasts made this latest announcement, I’ve been advocating for transcripts. Lots of people have. So you may have been following the best practices laid out by podcast marketing and content experts for a while — adding your transcripts to your websites or using the transcript tag in your RSS feed to have it displayed in certain other podcast players, but incase you’re totally new to this, we got you.

Bringing your transcript to Apple Podcasts

As we shared above, Apple will automatically generate a transcript for your show every time you upload a new episode. This is a great start. But we want you to bring your carefully edited, Descript-transcribed transcript into your Apple Podcasts Connect account so that your listeners (and now readers) can use that, better one. Here’s how:

  1. Go to podcasters.apple.com and sign in. (Side note: if you haven’t explored this page, do! There are events, opportunities to promote yourself, a social media image generator, and more.)
  2. Click on your show.
  3. On the left side of the screen, click on Availability.
  4. In the Transcript section, click the second bullet point: Display transcripts I provide, or auto-generated transcripts by Apple if one isn't provided.
  5. Go back to your podcast hosting provider’s dashboard. When you upload your new episode, use the transcript tool to add the associated transcript your RSS feed. Here's what that looks like in Captivate.

Screenshot of the "add or edit a transcript" link in Captivate
Adding a transcript file in Captivate

That’s it! Now that you’ve uploaded your transcript, you control what your listeners read rather than relying on the auto-generated transcript. This big news from Apple Podcasts means they're making a push for accessibility for listeners and consumers of podcasts. And because these transcripts are searchable, it’s also reasonable to assume that this news will have implications for search and discoverability for creators. It's a win-win.

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