The Internet is a series of tubes - man, that joke just doesn't get old. Or rather, the Internet is a series of text documents. That isn't so funny if you're trying to optimize your search engine rankings for video content on your website. Other than the title and description, videos don't provide the text that robots from Google and others use to create those search rankings. You can, of course, transcribe your videos but that can be time-intensive and cost-prohibitive, particularly if your site is video-heavy.
Enter SpeakerText which relaunches today with a transcription service that combines both the human and the artificial - a combination of natural language processing and crowdsourced human transcription.
But SpeakerText offers more than just transcription. Once a video is transcribed and time-coded, SpeakerText loads an interactive transcript player beneath each video. Dubbed the SpeakerBar, this player allows visitors to use the text as a controller, of sorts, for the video they're watching. Click on a word or sentence and the video will skip to that part. Cut and paste a portion of the text to share, and it will contain a link back to that exact part of the video.
And it's that social element, perhaps, that makes SpeakerText's service innovative. This isn't merely a transcript, but an "alternative viral pathway" for video. As CEO Matt Mireles points out, the sort of "closed caption" transcription that we are accustomed to is really a relic of the broadcast era - "linear old school television." SpeakerText, he argues, is "native to 21st century technology."
Currently SpeakerText works with video players from Brightcove, YouTube, and blip.tv. SpeakerText stores the transcripts in the cloud where they can be accessed server-side via an API or a WordPress plugin.
Transcription services - both human and machine-based - are notoriously mediocre, but Mireles says that the process his company has created is designed to improve both quality and automation over time. SpeakerText starts at $20 a month, with a $2 per minute charge for the transcriptions, a price that seems competitive to other similar services.
Update: We have 100 beta invitations for ReadWriteWeb readers: Visit the site and use the code "readwrite."