Fanscribed is a newly revamped service that provides free podcast transcriptions. Fanscribed describes itself as a “crowdsourcing ‘transcription engine’ designed to help your fans work together to create professional-level transcripts for your podcast.” So, if you’re a podcaster looking for transcriptions of your show, you ca use Fanscribed to gather a pool of your fans together, and those fans can collaborate over the Fanscribed website to make those transcriptions.
The service is currently in beta. And it really is free. Fanscribed states in the blog entry linked above, “We understand that many podcasts cannot afford transcriptions, even those that are funded by producers or advertisers. For this reason, we will always offer free use of our transcription engine to create public transcripts of podcasts!” Fanscribed is leveraging the power of crowdsourced labor to make the service free to podcasters. (It’s implied that the people actually doing the transcriptions are doing so as a token of appreciation for the podcasts they love.)
Fanscribed leaves the power of what ultimately gets transcribed in the hands of its transcriptionists. If you use Fanscribed, fans of your podcast could end up transcribing all of your episodes or just the ones they really like. Due to this inconsistency, Fanscribed may not be the best platform for podcasters who feel that having transcripts are mission critical. But this condition could be a reasonable compromise for podcasters who don’t have the resources to do their own transcriptions.
Fanscribed stores all transcriptions in a directory on its website. The service began by transcribing two podcasts and has grown to now transcribing thirteen different shows. True to the nature of a crowdsourced service, most episodes listed on the site are marked as “Start Transcript,” meaning they haven’t been transcribed yet. I found only two shows with completed transcriptions and those transcriptions do look thoroughly detailed and complete.
The necessity of having podcast transcriptions has been debated over the years. Some podcasters feel like having transcriptions is overkill or that transcriptions may turn potential listeners into readers instead. While others contend that transcriptions can be beneficial for search engine visibility. Transcriptions also allow people who can’t or simply don’t want to listen to podcasts an opportunity to consume the content of a podcast.
Posted by Shawn Thorpe