Transcript guidelines – audio and video

We publish all audio and video files with an accompanying transcript to make sure our content is accessible.

These guidelines cover transcripts for:

  • podcast episodes
  • 'talking head' videos (where one or more people are talking to the camera)

If you have any questions, email

What to include

The transcript should convey all the information that would be seen or heard by someone watching or listening to the podcast or video. This usually includes more than the words that are spoken.

Add a short introduction

Add a concise and descriptive introduction – usually a sentence or short paragraph.

Include the full names and job titles of the people speaking.

Correct any wording errors

Start with the version generated by the transcription software. Check it against the audio or video and make corrections if needed.

Show who says what

The first time someone speaks, add their full name in bold, followed by a colon. After that, use their first name.

Add what they say on the same line. Do not use quote marks, unless the person speaking is directly quoting someone. If they are directly quoting someone, use double quote marks around the quote.

You can split very long paragraphs as long as it's still clear who's speaking.

For example:

  • Sarah Guthrie: Hello Abigail, how are you?

Include important audio or visual information

Use square brackets to convey important information that's not clear from the spoken or written words.

For example:

  • As you can see [points to a diagram on a flipchart]
  • It's this kind of shape [draws a circle in the air]
  • [Long pause] – you might use something like this if if conveys important meaning, for example the person is finding it difficult to answer a question but they do not say that
  • [Intro music plays] Hello and welcome to this podcast on mental wellbeing at work

For videos, include all text information

Include everything that's written on the screen but not spoken. This could include slides with headings, quotes or questions, and any closing information, including URLs.

Write as normal paragraphs or however it appears on the screen. For example, if a slide on the screen includes a bulleted list, use a bulleted list in the transcript.

Use square brackets for all text information and add some preceding text to clarify what the text is.

For example:

Add links if needed

Add links when someone refers to information being online. 

Write out the full URL if the person says it like that – and link from there.

Use descriptive link text if someone refers to something online without saying the URL.

For example:

Add headings if needed

Add headings if it makes the transcript more usable. This is not essential, unless there are heading slides or voiceovers.

Use the style guide

Use the Acas style guide for anything that does not change the words used, for example things like capitalisation, grammar, spelling.

Make minor edits for readability

Make minor edits if it makes it easier to read, for example removing 'ums' and 'ahs'.

You can correct minor mistakes like getting someone's name slightly wrong.

Do not change anything else that's said or written.

Do not use timestamps

We're not aware of a user need for including timestamps on Acas transcripts.

Example transcript

This is a conversation between Sarah Guthrie, Acas communications manager, and Abigail Hirshman, Acas head of workplace mental health, about mental health in the workplace.

Sarah Guthrie: Hello Abigail, how are you?

Abigail Hirshman: I'm well thanks, Sarah. How are you doing?

Sarah: Yeah I'm well thanks. Thanks for joining me to talk about mental health today. And we're specifically focusing on employers. You know that we've been talking a lot about this at Acas for some years, about how we support positive mental health at work. But I wondered if you could give me an idea of what you think the main challenges for employers are, particularly in this current climate.

Abigail: Yeah, sure Sarah. I think in the first instance we must recognise this is an extremely stressful time for employers. They're essentially having to quickly adapt their business practices so they can meet the needs of their customers and suppliers and adapt to the changing market conditions for their business. In terms of their workforce this may mean transferring people to homeworking or making sure they're well embedded at home now, or it may even be furloughing some staff or thinking about redundancy practices.

It may also mean that they're a business that is continuing to operate at the moment, so how are the staff practising social distancing. So these are all of the challenges that businesses are facing and these challenges arose quite quickly for them. And all of this is within the context of their own fears and concerns about the health and safety of themselves and the people around them, their loved ones and their families. So I think we need to recognise the challenges that employers are facing at the moment.

Sarah: Yeah, that's so true. And we know from the helpline that the number of demands on people's time, rather than anything else, is huge. Given all these choices that they are having to make, what do you think are the reasons that employers should be prioritising wellbeing at the moment, which might be seen as a nice to have. Why is it significant?

Abigail: Absolutely. I think employers need to be clear on what they're going to do in terms of mental health and wellbeing, but more importantly why are they doing it. The business case in terms of wellbeing and productivity is well-evidenced but in this climate it becomes even more relevant I would say. So essentially employers need to find ways to keep their businesses going and this means they may be making some really difficult decisions in the coming months. So having a workforce that is in the best possible mental health, so that means able to feel well, work well and contribute effectively to the business, is going to be essential, particularly as it moves forward and has to flex and adapt to the changing market demands. So it's about supporting people now to ensure that they are in that position to be resilient and work well and adapt to the next steps for the business.

Sarah: Ok, so it's not just about the present, it's also about the future, that if you can come through this kind of more resilient, almost future-proofed, then you and your business and your people together will be better able to weather what comes next.

Abigail: Yeah, absolutely.

Sarah: Well thank you so much for talking to me today Abigail. There's so much in there and I know it'll be really valuable for people who are listening to this.

Abigail: You too. Thanks Sarah. I also wanted to say that the Acas website has advice for employers on looking after mental health in the workplace.

Our tips for employers

  • adapt what has worked before
  • help managers support their staff
  • listen to and address staff concerns
  • encourage people to talk about mental health
  • communicate clearly, often and honestly

For more guidance on mental health during coronavirus: