Recently the Global Lingo team in Leeds slept rough for one night to raise funds and awareness for Simon on the Streets, a Leeds-based charity for the homeless. They very kindly came to interview me about our experience on the night. So far we’ve raised over £2,500. If you’d like to donate, there’s still time to visit our Just Giving page.

A strange thing happened with the video transcript

After watching the video, I checked out the automatic transcript YouTube generated itself. I know my Yorkshire accent may not be the easiest to listen to and transcribe, but YouTube’s automatic transcription makes me sound like some kind of alien species.

Video transcription and Search Engine Optimisation

I’ve blogged before about how transcriptions of your YouTube videos can really help your SEO efforts. Your videos no doubt contain keywords for your brand, products, team, calls to action and a whole load of other key messages. However, leaving the transcription of your video to the mercy of YouTube’s automatic transcription will probably cost you some of the benefit of having the video indexed in the first place.

The only way to demonstrate just how bad it is, is to compare YouTube’s automatic transcript to the professional transcription produced by a writer on our team.

YouTube’s automatic transcript of the Simon on the Streets video

0:00 money which is Mickey and with family marketing director for the global lingo
0:04 and we got mean police on the streets and
0:07 because I had before I’m inside only to the Christmas
0:12 nothing you could use comes out for me and my colleagues Johnny bass
0:15 I’m who joined complete just up to Christmas in fact and
0:19 help some super she’s not and bands you can imagine what we could do
0:23 and we can go to get off the job done he still owns is on the super
0:28 it meant a lot to johnnie I’m make %ah let’s make some
0:31 from Leeds and I’ve done it before so they have some fun on some streets
0:36 basically we also was that on the streets we took Torrance
0:39 that stocks in Leeds where the homeless sleep and lot of things
0:44 did not go until then but it down for the night and we raised to
0:48 old 2000 400 pounds ish
0:52 still going open mic night tonight house but so far I about to pass people who
0:56 speak
0:57 happy I think I was least go to sleep now it’s
1:01 I I we were really looking at the weather was pretty good
1:04 and thankfully didn’t rain the floor was pretty hard in mind map and some
1:08 Pat company think it was to prove you could go sleeping on the floor in it
1:12 an essential ingredient am but it wasn’t sea bass I think we we we were pretty
1:17 look inside it rained
1:18 that will put a completely different that’s been on I think one of the things
1:21 is that
1:22 only on the night it was it busy does not lead snows lot of people going out
1:27 in time sell surplus people dressed in a nice time and
1:32 I’ve been himself and do not and use come it don’t see the people who club
1:36 quite loosely cannot people walking past them in the fifth Street
1:39 and the people who have not know I would do the same kind of thing
1:42 we can if although we will come if got middle-class ’em must look
1:47 films the notices so as we didn’t exist either because that’s the only the best
1:51 and I know if it was just a hidden problems
1:54 am I think most people have that kind of attitude in
1:57 now up to now you you more receptive to seen these people in thinking about
2:02 do the people on their end of a stop somewhere to go
2:05 a night when you can poems climbing tonight
2:09 moment the new
2:18 the new

The professional transcription by Global Lingo’s writer

Richard Michie (Global Lingo, Marketing Director): My name is Richard Michie. I am the Marketing Director for Global Lingo. We got involved with Simon on the Streets because I had heard about them before; I donated at Christmas rather than giving out cards. Then, one of my colleagues, Jonny Bates – who joined the company just after Christmas – helps in the soup run on a Tuesday night. We mentioned what we could do, and we got together after that. Jonny still volunteers on the soup run, so it meant a lot to him. It meant quite a lot to me because I am from Leeds and I have done it before. That is how we found out about Simon on the Streets.

Basically, we all slept out on the streets. We took a nice, guided tour of the spots in Leeds where the homeless sleep and learnt a lot of things. We then bedded down for the night. We raised a total of around £2,400. That is still growing; I hope we might raise £2,500, but so far it is about £2,400.

I think the thing I was least looking forward to was sleeping out in the night. I think we were really lucky because the weather was pretty good, and thankfully it did not rain. The floor was pretty hard. Even though I had a mat and some cardboard underneath me, it was still pretty uncomfortable sleeping on the floor, in what was essentially a graveyard, but it was not too bad. I think we were pretty lucky because, had it rained, that would have put a completely different spin on the night.

I think one of the things is that it was a busy Thursday night in Leeds, and there were a lot of people going out and enjoying themselves, all dressed up having a nice time. I have been there and done that myself, and you just do not see these people who are quite clearly sleeping out, although you are probably walking past them on different streets. The people who were out that night were doing the same kind of thing: although we were all quite middle class and muffled up, they almost ignored us. It was almost as if we did not exist because they just got on with the rest of their night, as if it was just a hidden problem.

I think most people have that kind of attitude. Having done that, you are more receptive to seeing these people, and thinking about the fact that there are other people out there who do not have somewhere to go at night, when you can pop home and climb into your nice warm bed.


The professional transcript makes a huge difference

You can see that the two versions are miles apart. YouTube’s version is very confusing and doesn’t represent what was being said in the interview. While automatic transcription is very clever and did remarkably well with my Yorkshire accent, it failed dramatically in representing what I said.

Our professional transcription, on the other hand, was tidied up so that my ummms and ahhs, false starts, pauses and vocal intonation were smoothed out and my interview for Simon on the Streets could very easily be understood and, if needed, used in another context without the need for the video to accompany it.