Understanding Audio Transcription Formats: A Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Audio/Video Archive Owners

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As a small or medium-sized audio or video archive owner, you understand the importance of making your content accessible to a wider audience. One way to do this is by transcribing your audio or video files into text. But with so many transcription formats available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your needs. In this article, we’ll break down the most common transcription formats and highlight the benefits of each one.

Available Audio Transcription Formats

TXT / Plain Text (.txt)

TXT or plain text format is a basic and widely supported format that can be opened on any device without requiring specific software. It’s a simple, no-frills option for those who just want the raw transcription of their audio file. However, it doesn’t support timecodes, so you won’t be able to see when each speaker starts and stops talking.

SRT / SubRip (.srt)

SRT is a popular format for subtitles in movies and TV shows. It includes timecodes, making it easy to sync the transcription with the audio. The text is broken down into separate subtitle entries, each with its own start and end time. This format is widely supported by video players and is a great option for those who want to create subtitles or captions for their videos.

Here is an example .srt file:

00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:04,000
Once, there was a young rat named Arthur who could never make up his mind.

00:00:04,000 --> 00:00:07,000
Whenever his friends asked him if he would like to go out with them,

00:00:07,000 --> 00:00:09,000
he would only answer, I don't know.

00:00:09,000 --> 00:00:11,000
He wouldn't say yes or no either.

00:00:11,000 --> 00:00:13,000
He would always shirk making a choice.

Here are some benefits of using the SRT format:

  • Easy to create and edit: You can create an SRT file using a simple text editor, such as Notepad or TextEdit. There are also many free and paid tools available that can help you create and edit SRT files.
  • Compatible with most video players: SRT is supported by most video players, including VLC, Windows Media Player, and QuickTime. This means that your subtitles will be visible on a wide range of devices.
  • Supports multiple languages: You can create separate SRT files for each language you want to support, making it easy to provide translations for your videos.
  • Can be embedded in video files: Some video players, such as VLC and MPC-HC, allow you to embed SRT subtitles directly into the video file. This makes it easier to share your videos with others without worrying about losing the
    subtitle file.

VTT / WebVTT / Video Text Tracks (.vtt)

VTT is similar to SRT but is specifically designed for web content. It supports more styling options than SRT, including font size, color, and background color. This format is ideal for those who want to display transcriptions on their website or create interactive videos with clickable subtitles.

SBV / SubViewer (.sbv or .sub)

SBV is a simple subtitle format that’s easy to edit and convert to other formats. It supports timecodes and basic formatting options, such as font size and color. This format is a good choice for those who want a flexible option that can be easily converted to other transcription formats. You can find an example .sbv file here.

SSA / SubStationAlpha (.ssa)

SSA is a powerful subtitle format that supports advanced styling options, such as shadows, outlines, and text animations. It also allows for more complex timecodes, including conditional statements and overlapping entries. This format is ideal for those who want to create professional-looking subtitles with advanced formatting options. You can find an example .ssa file here.

ASS / Advanced SubStationAlpha (.ass)

ASS is an extension of SSA that supports even more advanced styling options, such as karaoke effects and video filters. It also allows for more complex timecodes and scripting languages. This format is a good choice for those who want to create high-quality subtitles with advanced formatting options.

How To Get an .MP3 for Easy Audio Transcription

Djane in front of sound mixer, evaluating audio transcription formats
Image by Speech to Text Cloud is marked with the Free License CC0 1.0

Before you can transcribe your audio files, you need to extract the audio from any video files you may have. There are many freely available tools that can help you do this. For Windows users, we recommend using VLC Media Player, a popular and free media player that also includes audio extraction capabilities. Simply open your video file in VLC, select “Media” -> “Convert/Save,” choose the Convert option, and then select an output format (such as MP3). For Mac users, we recommend using QuickTime Player, which comes pre-installed on most Mac computers. To extract audio from a video file in QuickTime, open the video file, select “File” -> “Export As,” choose “Audio Only,” and then select an output format (such as MP3). Once you’ve extracted the audio from your video files, you can upload them to our website to get your desired audio transcription file in the right format. If you have your transcription file, you can run it through a Subtitle Validation service to check it for potential problems.


Transcribing your .mp3 files into text can help you reach a wider audience and improve accessibility. By understanding the different transcription formats available, you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Whether you want a simple and basic option (TXT) or a more advanced and stylish option (SSA/ASS), there’s a format out there for you. And with the ability to download your transcriptions in multiple formats from our website (including TXT, SRT, PDF, and Microsoft Word), it’s easier than ever to create accessible content for your audience.

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1 response to “Understanding Audio Transcription Formats: A Guide for Small and Medium-Sized Audio/Video Archive Owners”

  1. […] Ensure that the transcription tool supports a wide range of audio and video file formats, allowing you to transcribe files from various sources without any hassle. Read more about audio transcription formats here. […]