I read a blog entry today on e24 Transcription. Given the high amount of grammatical and style errors in the entry I certainly wouldn't consider them as a contender to transcribe my show, but the entry did serve to make me think about the importance the written word.
The reasons for transcribing a podcast are many, but the primary one that I feel is important is to leverage the power of the major search engines which don't currently index audio in any meaningful way. Providing a text version of a show allows searchers to find your stuff alongside everything else crawled by the beasts.
Yes, there are audio search engines popping up, but that's only half the battle. Audio results need to show up right alongside text results in the major search engines in order to achieve full integration.
Search engines aside, how important is it to provide a text transcript of audio shows for "archival" purposes? I'm still stuck in the "it's a pain in the ass to research audio" mindset for two reasons:
- It's true, and
- Anyone, anywhere, can read a text document. Nothing more technical than a candle is required to read text
Audio, on the other hand, requires a device to play it. Once technology is introduced into the equation, limitations appear. Limitations like the device itself funtioning, the presence of speakers or earphones, having nicely charged batteries, and an audio format that the player can understand.
Depending on the nature of the business or show topic, it may be more important than we think to make a text transcript available.