Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

The new iOS 14.7 developer beta adds transcripts to the Apple Podcasts app. Transcripts are automatically generated for all new podcast episodes, and Apple will slowly add transcripts to its backlog of old podcasts. If necessary, podcasters can upload custom transcripts or edit their auto-generated transcripts.

Transcripts can be accessed from the “details” page of any podcast episode. As the episode plays, Apple Podcasts will highlight each word in the transcript so you can follow along in real-time. This feature will greatly improve the Apple Podcasts experience for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, though it may also be useful to non-native language speakers, children who need to practice their reading, and listeners who like to stay really focused.

However, transcripts aren’t just an accessibility feature. You can also use transcripts to navigate through podcasts. Search for a word or phrase, tap it in the transcript, and you’ll automatically skip to that part of the podcast episode. This isn’t an entirely new idea—Google tried a similar idea with its now-defunct Google Podcasts service, and podcasts on YouTube usually have automatically-generated transcriptions.

If you want to read a transcript without playing a podcast, tap and hold the podcast episode’s name. Just know that some content, including music lyrics, will not appear in auto-generated transcripts (presumably for copyright reasons). Also, podcast transcripts do not auto-update. Apple Podcasts will hide any portion of a transcript that has changed since the original publication (this mainly affects dynamic advertisements that change every few months).

We don’t know how accurate these auto-generated transcripts will be. And unfortunately, episode transcripts are generated after a podcast episode is published. Apple hasn’t announced how long it will take to generate each transcript, though it probably depends on factors like episode length.

Naturally, some podcast hosts are concerned about how Apple will use this feature. Apple could scan podcast transcripts to find content that violates its ToS. Podcast episodes may also be used to train Apple’s artificial intelligence.

Apple Podcast transcripts will debut alongside iOS 17.4 later this year. The feature is already available in Apple’s iOS 17.4 developer beta, but I don’t suggest installing developer betas, as they aren’t very stable. At the very least, you should wait a few months for the iOS 17.4 public beta. Note that transcripts will only be available in English, French, German, and Spanish at launch.

Source: Apple

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By John P.

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